One of the greatest blessings that came out of the curse of the Covid 19 pandemic is a fresh move of prayer in Nigeria and around the world. It happened in tandem with a greater awareness of the opportunities abounding in the digital space for ministry. Although not totally new to the church, the total lockdown experienced in the early stages of the pandemic forced the indifferent to get into the social media space and caused many others to increase their participation. Prayer meetings have always been either well or poorly attended in Nigeria in particular, depending on the focus of the prayer. If focused on personal needs, miracles and spiritual warfare, they attracted multitudes and repelled them if focused on the nation, evangelism and spiritual things.
The same reality has entered into the digital space. However, regardless of the prayer focus, God would rather his people are praying than not praying at all. The Energetic Jerry Eze has to lead as many as a hundred thousand people at once through various media platforms in prayer on a daily basis. ‘What God cannot do does not exist’ is a popular refrain as faith has soared in response to the myriad of testimonies on his prayer platform. Next Level Prayers by Bolaji Idowu has gained its own acclaim. I was amazed to see pictures of overflowing crowd at an on-site version of the prayers hosted in Ibadan, Nigeria last Sunday.
Passionate about evangelism and church growth, Pastor B as he is fondly called will stop at nothing to impact multitudes. Apart from the above popular ones are others holding prayer meetings online and many other churches holding theirs within the four walls of their churches alone. Simply put, God’s people are praying more these days than they did before the pandemic.
Concerning the Healing Revival that happened in the USA from 1947-1958, the late Kenneth E Hagin said ‘It was like healing was in the air’. I have watched as at a time, ‘Teaching was in the air’, another season, ‘Crusades were in the air’ and yet another one, ‘Church planting was in the air’. These and other moves of God have been my observations over the decades of my Christian experience and yet many waves of the Spirit will come and go and believers, churches and organizations may miss out on them completely. Some others may start out well in it and not maximise its potential. I am writing this article to encourage every disciple of Christ and every church ‘Get into the water and ride this wave’. Pray more than ever, pray with more regularity, organise more prayer meetings because God is up to something new with His people. Every time God wants to do special things for His children, he first gets them praying.
However, I have a few pieces of advice. We should get on this wave scripturally. Ephesians 6:18 admonishes us to ‘pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit’. Prayer for the nations of the world should be included on the platforms. Yes, the people are not attracted by such but they can be engaged in it still. This is more so if we make them realise we are all affected by the conditions of the nations and cities that we live in. To neglect prayer for them is to neglect to pray for ourselves indirectly. Our security is connected to that of our cities. Even in exile, God’s people were admonished to pray for the prosperity of their host cities and theirs were interwoven with them.
‘Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure.”
Psalms 122:6 NIV
‘Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.””
Jeremiah 29:7 NIV
The injection of this element of prayer will not deplete the prayer meetings which already have built huge followings but help the followers grow beyond self focus. Jesus taught His disciples to pray ‘Our father who art in heaven…’ to pointedly show us that prayer must never be made for ourselves and with ourselves alone.
Another admonition which also goes to the general body of Christ is the need to resist the temptation to make merchandise of what God is doing. It is good to see the willingness with which people are giving on those platforms. I rejoice that finally the digital platform has broken the jinx of lack of financial support for para church ministries in Nigeria in particular. Local churches being the only form of financial support for ministry caused many ministers who have no business pastoring to start churches in time past. Unfortunately, when we appear before the Lord Jesus, we would all be rewarded for our obedience to His specific mandate for our lives. We must however not turn the opportunity into merchandise and resort to selling oil, mantle, miracle water and other shenanigans going on in the name of Christian television but always do what we do for the glory of the Lord Jesus and in obedience to the instructions of His Spirit.
Finally, I pray that we will constantly seek to please God and keep our gaze on the Lord Jesus in how we pray by ensuring we are scriptural in our prayers. The quest to pray according to the Will of God must override the desire to connect with the people’s wants. Our ultimate quest is to please Him who has called us to be soldiers(2 Timothy 2:4) and not to please people. Some of my advice will help to steady the wave and see it mature and endure. May we all ride this wave into greater manifestations of the glory of our Lord Jesus the Author and Finisher of our Faith.