Perplexities and responses
Undoubtedly, there are mindboggling occurrences in practically all countries of the world today. It no longer requires the revelations by star gazers to admonish and to warn that the world is in the firm grip of perplexities. To the discerning, we human beings would need to invite ourselves into quiet contemplation on events around us and to understand them. The discerning are seeing collapse or signs of collapse. The unceasing political acrimony in the United States alone which is exceeding the accustomed squabbles and flaring of tempers is enough barometer. Yesterday, for example, it was suspected Russian interference in the 2016 election was what brought Mr. Trump to the White House. Today it is Ukraine that is thought to be already lurking in the shadows, again to interfere in the election next year, 2020. As a result, the sword of Damocles is swinging over Trump’s head: To go or not to go. The Reps dominated by Opposition Democrats are pressing to see his back, while the Senate is divided. Brexit has exited two Prime Ministers—David Cameron and Theresa May. And it remains yet a sticky issue for Mr. Boris Johnson.
Only on Tuesday, 11,000 scientists were reported to have spoken out on the alarming situation of climate change, stating: “We declare clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency. To secure a sustainable future, we must change how we live. This entails major transformations in the ways our global society functions and interacts with natural ecosystems.” The report stating that there is no time to lose, quoted the scientists from 153 nations as saying: “The climate crisis has arrived faster than most scientists expected. It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity.” They believe that urgent changes needed include ending population expansion, currently growing at a rate of 200,000 persons a day, ending destruction of nature and restoring forests and mangroves to absorb CO2. The report made reference to the one published in 2017 warning on the danger of pollution and what was called a looming mass extinction of wildlife on Earth. It similarly made reference to the one of 1992 captioned “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity” which touchingly said: “A great change in our stewardship of the Earth and the life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided.”
Fearing that large areas of the Earth may become uninhabitable as “especially disturbing” impacts of the climate emergency’ rage, the scientists say they are urging “widespread use of the vital signs to allow policy makers and the public to understand the magnitude of the crisis, realign priorities and track progress. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to look at the graphs and know things are going wrong.” One of the scientists said: “It is more important than ever that we speak out, based on evidence. It is time to go beyond just research and publishing and to go directly to the citizens and policymakers.”
The publication of the report coincides with Trump’s formal request to withdraw America from the Paris Climate Change Agreement designed to reduce industrial emissions of which his predecessor Barrack Obama was a major driver. The earth is evidently out of joint. Added to the throes of climate change emergency are existential problems of insecurity and socio-economic concerns in our own land, Nigeria. Predictably, the solutions to the problems afflicting the land are being seen from different perspectives. The greater the sufferings the more the recourse to the transcendental, it has been observed. Churches and mosques sprout in towns and villages. The powerful school of thought, made up of largely the elite and those who are materially comfortable, believes that the solution lies not in prayers but in thinking and hard work. Their thesis is if it were not so, why is Nigeria the world’s poverty capital. They say Nigeria is a prayer- loving, God-fearing nation. “Religion has taken the place of technology, infrastructure, education etc.” They are irritated that the world is leaving Nigeria behind while Nigerians pre-occupy themselves with the Almighty Creator. This class argues that despite the fact that they did not bother themselves with the presence of the Creator in their lives they had had it so good. So what do they need an “unseen God” for in their lives? They make such shocking irreverent reference to the Most High, sometimes bordering on blasphemy.
To remind us, the subject of today’s conversation arose from a speech made in which it was said that while Nigerians were praying Singapore went into investment in technology. “After independence, in order to build a great nation, each country went to work. But in Nigeria, after independence (in 1960) our people went to pray and fast. While we were praying, Malaysia came here and took our palm seedlings and built a great factory of it. While we were praying, China went into massive industrialization; while we were speaking in tongues, Denmark went into education of her citizens. While we were mounting big speakers in our places of worship, USA mounted man on the moon. After our prayers, God being a wise God, decided to reward us according to our labour.”
The questions that would naturally arise in the minds of most people are: What is the place of prayers in the lives of a human being? Does a man need to pray? Are prayers of any effect? What are prayers? Who is he who prays? How do we pray? Are prayers incompatible with technological development aspirations of a people or nation? And more!
Prayers are seeking to enter into quiet communion with the Almighty Creator. This is for a number of reasons. I will come back to this presently. Where to begin, in my view, is to ask who is man. Man is a spirit. He is from Spiritual Realm more widely referred to as Paradise. With substances of intervening planes between his Spiritual Home and the earth he wraps around himself to become a soul and the material substances of the earth to become an earthman. The wrappings which are the cloaks are to enable him to manifest on the different planes he traversed as well as on earth. Without the earthly cloak, he would not have been able to anchor; he would be floating. In consequence he would not be able to work and develop to achieve the purpose of his sojourn on earth. That purpose is to develop into a self-conscious spiritual and noble personality. He is therefore in a school and after a successful graduation he returns to his Native Land, the Spiritual Realm, Paradise. To pass he must familiarize himself with the Will of the Creator and interweave it in all his activities. Teachers and prophets were sent according to needs, in accordance with the level of development and the capacity to absorb the teachings.
They incarnated among peoples who had developed such that they could easily grasp and absorb the teachings and then spread the same to other parts of the world where there was soil for receptivity. What all of them taught was recognition of the Will of God and the imperative of living according to it because it is the precondition to enter Paradise. Have we forgotten our vow when we say the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”? It is also by doing this Will that His Kingdom can come, that is it is by doing His Will that His Kingdom can be established on earth. Indeed, it revealed in higher knowledge spreading on earth today that not until the coming of the Lord Christ was it possible to open the Gates of Paradise to pure and noble human spirits who had developed to the highest degree they would not constitute themselves into nuisance there. No one can thus enter paradise that has not washed his linen clean!
It can be seen from the foregoing that being Spirits we naturally long to establish links with Paradise, our native spiritual land. As such prayer becomes the way to weave the threads and forge the links. Over millennia, human beings flow in the inclination and proclivity to look upwards and pray. Prayer is also borne out of the recognition of a Higher Power in the affairs of men. It is a natural urge in man to shake off his karma, to improve his condition. Men over the ages have certainly experienced the efficacy of prayers in their lives, or in the lives of relations, neighbours or acquaintances. Any wonder the lamentation of Americans that God is being taken away from their lives, from their homes, from their schools and Godlessness is the order of the day in the proverbial God’s Own Country. Political analysts attribute Mr. Trump’s victory in 2016 to his strong belief in the American pristine values as espoused by the Christian faith.
This can be gleaned from an interesting prayer said by a Church Minister Joe Wright, at the opening session of the Senate in Kansas, USA which goes as follows, contrary to the usual generalities everyone was expecting: “Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek Your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says: ‘Woe to those who call evil good’ but that is exactly what we have done.
“We lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it multiculturalism. We have endorsed perversion and called it alternative lifestyle. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have hailed abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have embezzled public funds and called it essential expenses. We have institutionalized bribery and called it sweets of office. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honoured values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, Oh GOD, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Amen.” The pastor, Rev. Wright thanked Mr. Trump for his abhorrence and condemnation of same sex marriage. His church is said to have received 5,000 phone calls with only 47 disapproving.
Once a prayer is genuine, when it comes from deep a supplicant, the benefits could come in form of him crossing the path of a helper; the prayer could give him strength, the right composure and calmness such that the answer cascades through him, plans suddenly arising in his mind. Guidance could come in his dream, he could hear a voice or he can be given direction and strength so that he himself can solve his problem himself. Through prayers helpers can be summoned to his side in the beyond to give him protection in the time of dangers.
Prayers and technological attainment are not incompatible. It has been said that the Lord gives to his own in their sleep. It is thus shown that indeed, there are no inventions but revelations. All the so-called inventions are carried down to this earth from a plane in the Beyond and revealed to one who may be open in purity to receive the same, even the most sophisticated of technological wonders. The mistake we often make is to think that it is only those who are overtly religious that can receive blessings from the Creator whereas his mechanisms and messengers deal only with those who are pure and genuine. Purity and nobility of heart engendered by living in accordance with the Divine Laws as the expression of the Will of the Creator are the ways to peace and joy as well as to “technological inventions.” We are, therefore, admonished that Spiritualising the work of our hands is the unavoidable imperative. If we do not have infrastructure, it is owing to our shortcomings, not prayers. It is in the character of an average Nigerian. We may not have been worthy to have our prayers answered!
No comments yet