Prayer… the communication link between humans and God. We pray for different reasons but mostly because we want something good to happen OR in order to avert something bad from happening.
You may have been one of those who were made to sing, “Prayer is the key, prayer is the key, prayer is the master key,” over and over again as a child until you believed the words of the song with all your heart.
Then life happens; people you love die, war and other natural disasters occur, your most heartfelt prayers don’t get answered and your hopes & dreams get shattered in spite of all the prayers and you wonder – “perhaps, prayer lost its key.” Or you tell yourself, “What’s the point?” And gradually, you start by not going to church anymore, then you stop praying and eventually, you stop believing.
I honestly do not have answers to why some of our ‘most important’ prayers do not get answered or why it sometimes take too long time for miracles to happen, but this one thing I know, PRAYER WORKS.
Just as it starts with a lot of people, I had strong faith and hope that some of my most heartfelt prayers would be answered. I mean, why would God not answer me, right? But then, it happened that the miracle never came. My hopes were dashed. God didn’t answer my prayers.
I was angry and heartbroken. I reduced the number of times I went to church. I’d say to me, “It is better to sit at home than go to church when you are not happy with God. That’s hypocritical.” Luckily, I found the perfect excuse around that time. Whenever anyone asked why I didn’t go to church, I’d say, with a hint of sadness in my voice, “I couldn’t afford to.”
It was a half-truth but it was easy to sell. You see, if I really wanted to go to church, shortage of cash wasn’t a good enough reason to stop me. I would have trekked, hiked, hitched a ride, skip meals or whatever just to get me to church. But nah, the zeal was no longer there so why bother, huh?
Weeks ran into months and soon, I stopped feeling bad about it. Before I even realized it, I had stopped studying my bible or observing my quiet time and finally, I stopped praying.
This was the girl who once religiously fasted twice a week and woke up at midnight every Friday to pray for an hour.
This was the girl who always had a list of names (family, friends, colleagues & neighbors) she interceded for.
This was the girl who taught at the children church for seven years.
This was the girl who went to church at least, three times a week.
This was the girl who once had an altar in her room.
I went from that girl to the girl who no longer even prayed for herself. Whenever I needed something badly from God, I’d just mutter a few words under my breath. I was too ashamed to pray a full length prayer to Him. It just didn’t feel right to do so.
Until that morning…
It was in the wee hours of the morning, I had just stirred awake. I laid on the bed, contemplating if I should turn on the radio or force myself to go back to sleep. I opted for the radio, so I reached for my phone, only to realize the device was dead. I had left the radio on all night. Frustrated and feeling too lazy to go get my power bank, I laid on the bed willing sleep to come.
That was when I heard her voice.
She was praying in Yoruba language. At first I was surprised. I must have chuckled. I didn’t know Muslims prayed in other languages other than Arabic. The very few times I’ve had a Muslim say their prayers in a known language had to be when I heard it in passing words like;
“It would happen by God’s grace,” OR, “God forbid!”
You know, those kinds you hear them say more of in reaction to something than an actual prayer. So yes, I was surprised that my neighbor was praying out loud, that early, in Yoruba.
When the surprise worn off, my next thought was a sober reflection, “She’s praying. Someone’s praying, Bolaji. Why ain’t you?”
Right there and then, for the first time in months, I said a full-length prayer. Not a quick mutter of words but a prayer with an intro, body and outro. It felt blissful.
And no, I didn’t ask for riches or for my wishes to come true. My prayer was wholly about prayers. You see, something unexpected had happened the day before. It was a surprise from some of my loved ones. However, the surprise didn’t come with the expected excitement. Instead, it got me thinking all day long, trying to find an explanation for it. On my way home that evening, I couldn’t push this thought out of my mind, “Someone has been praying for you.”
By the time I got into my room, I already had a mental list of names of people I felt were praying for me.
Thus that morning while I was praying, I took time in thanking God for all those who have been praying for me. I asked God to strengthen them so they won’t ever stop praying and I wrapped it up with a prayer for strength to keep praying.
I don’t have words to explain this but that morning, I knew beyond any iota of doubt that someone was praying for me. I could feel it.
Although I haven’t started going back to church but now I’m praying, and that is a huge step worth celebrating. I’m sharing this with the hope to charge someone.
Are you praying?
Plus, are you praying for others?