DAY 4 – Can you pray?

Dear Diary, “12 Days of Christmas”: Day 4/12 – Can you pray?

December 16, 2023.

There’s one habit we all generally lack or never give credit for – the ability to thank ourselves for being everything cool, great, and all the colours in between.

Tomorrow is Sunday, so we can talk about God, just for a lirru bit!

Now, can you pray?

This post has absolutely nothing to do with religion. It’s me recalling a quote from one of my Professors at the University of Lagos. Despite being a Pastor’s wife, she had this quote on her door: “I am not religious, but I love the Lord.” At the time, I couldn’t comprehend because this woman was a radical. Oh, dear – she was almost everything unchristian-like from my point of view, but who cares about my point of view? I digress.

What’s making me very uneasy today?

I was talking to a friend a few hours ago as I was clueless about what to write for my post today, and her call came in just on time. During our conversation, we fought over ‘Can you pray.’ I said, aha! Let me ask good people like yourself to come and judge between my friend and me because this headache is becoming too much.

Now, my friend’s friends created a WhatsApp group of interdenominational praying women, and she believed I was a fit because I am single. In fact, according to their diagnosis, my problem is a double-edged sword because I am not only single – I am unbothered in my singlehood and as such deserve prayers of deliverance. Before they added me to this group, my friend had begged me not to show my colour but to be cool, calm, and collected. I was wondering what she meant. I was so tired that day; I decided to be ice water.

Not fully understanding the aims or objectives of this group beyond what I was briefed on, and only joining because my friend insisted, I dove in with the highest hopes that we’d all be giving ourselves for the greater good. Every shade of my colours in between escalated quickly.

What did I do? They used to organise plenty of activities that I clearly couldn’t keep up with, so I never attended. But one day, in the group, after many months of my perceived cold silence (I didn’t know my friend was counting), someone posted about evil spirits roaming the world and brutally possessing the souls of men.

My first thought when I read the story was, crap!

Then I read the succession of comments that followed, and all I could sense was fear. So, in my little way, I demystified the post and said, ‘This is just to create fear. We should focus more on the evil we propagate than the evil we fear will descend upon us because it just might never happen, but the one we are propagating is happening’.

I wrapped up by affirming, in my case, it can never happen, justifying my position with ‘if we all truly have God in us as we claim, what business do we have with evil spirits? I don’t see a dwelling for evil spirits, so we shouldn’t entertain the thought. For such fights, if they exist, we must leave them for God, who boldly declares that He would be our sun during the day and our moon at night’ (Isaiah 60:19).

Why get petrified over a war you can’t fight? This stirred up outrage, and for some reason, the admin deleted me, accusing me of propagating false beliefs because she believed we must play Sherlock Holmes with evil spirits and pray against each one of them. To be very honest with y’all, it was preposterous.

Two days later, my friend, attempting to bring a truce, asked me if I could pray because I never joined any of their prayer meetings. However, I was quick to shut them up on the evil spirit plan. I first did the sign of the cross, thanking my stars that these people deleted me based on all my colours-in-between because emi ntemi o (that is, me and myself) I know I will never go searching for a Beelzebub when I haven’t finished praying for my daily bread.

Then she asked again, ‘Can you pray?’

I didn’t know where she was heading, but I was taken aback. I thought we were just talking about me avoiding Beelzebub because I didn’t want to pray. Then it dawned on me, and I asked, ‘Do you think I have Beelzebub because I didn’t want to pray?’ She laughed and insisted, ‘Toyo, can you pray?’

When I was done with her—let’s just say, without explicitly saying it, she would never go around asking if anyone knew how to pray again.

So, this is me saying that I am not religious, but I love the Lord. I have my unique way of rapport with my maker where I dialogue with him in the language I understand, so I know what I am saying with specifics, and I am convinced he’s heard me. I am not gifted with the art of assumptions; I like my details clearly spoken in points because that is how I get rewarded handsomely.

This is my sincere note to all the mouth-firing, unappointed angels of God.

First, prayer is between you and your God. If you want to shout from now till next year and tear your clothes like the prophets of Baal, please feel free to do so. And if you want to sit at the edge of your chair with your nails polished like a baby girl who’s softly spoken, please do so. I firmly believe the gravity of what we need or the urgency of what we desire sets the tempo. At least for me, it does.

Second, if you claim to love and know God, I don’t know why you are afraid of evil spirits but still want to go searching for them because you want to pray over them, as per what? I mind my business, just as I have been enjoined to do in 1 Thessalonians 4:11.

Finally, emi ntemi o, I know my heavenly father, and He knows me. When I pray, I pray like my mother and big sisters have taught me. I praise my unrivalled God, and then I thank him for everything I am and will ever be. Afterwards, I seek his mercy and beg him for all I hope for. This too depends on my present condition in life.

There are days when I take the position of the wasteful servant who cannot account for all her talents (Matt 25:24). Or the position of Hagar and exclaim to the One who sees me (Gen 16:13) – ‘Please look at what you have created and don’t let me disgrace you.’ There are days I take the position of the prodigal child who cries out, ‘Father, I have sinned’ (Luke 15:21). There are days I ask to see, like in 2 Kings 6:17 or Mark 10:51. There are days I act like David and dance till my body aches (2 Sam 6:14). Sometimes, I even become Joseph the dreamer.

But the best part I love the most is when I either wave the white flag and hide behind His mother; He will sha not beat her because He wants to beat me, and here in here, I scream Salve Regina, for I find mercy. Or when I take the position of a lover to show him how much this earthly-vainly-dust is madly in love with him. And I know with each position I take, He understands the nuisance He has created, and He hears me.

He will just be laughing and saying, ‘Na me kukuma create am!! Na my handiwork!’

So, don’t let anyone intimidate you or come to you with words that even they don’t understand. Stand in the rank – take your position and dialogue with Him who says, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations’ (Jeremiah 1:5). You are mine (Isaiah 43:1).

So, can you try to pray today, because you’ve been doing this art – you might just need to add some top-notch to it.

PS: To my friend, I am not attacking you. And if you think I am – Yes, I am attacking you. Shakalakabula Eskelebebe ko gbenu oshi lo!

Before I end, I hope you find the time to read the other days. I’d just drop the link below as I thank myself for being everything cool, great, and all the colours in between.

 Day 1/12 on Spit-proof Grace at:

2/12 on My Mum – the unbeatable champion of all time at:

And 3/12 on Were you a truth-teller as a child at:

Can you pray?

Comments (11)

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