The age of prayer warriors

Prayer soldiers. Paying for prayer, a style? Sylvia Mwesigye finds out the depth of this.
 

What you need to know:

  • Of special interest to me however, are the mercenary prayer warriors. If you are weak in prayer warfare (read normal Christian) these mighty men and women of God will, for a fee spend days or weeks depending on how much you pay interceding for you.

Many eras have come and gone leaving  lasting effects that have shaped Uganda’s history and social culture. In these times, many things come to mind but as a devout Christian, I am gobsmacked by the prayer warfare going on.  You can safely refer to the times we are living in as the era of prayer warfare. Never has this nation committed itself to prayer as in our time.

Prayer shrines from shacks to sprawling edifices can be seen in every neighbourhood countrywide. To obviously man these busy sanctuaries, a manner of all attendants have sprung up chief among them, the so called prayer warriors.

Put money in thy purse

Of special interest to me however, are the mercenary prayer warriors. If you are weak in prayer warfare (read normal Christian) these mighty men and women of God will, for a fee spend days or weeks depending on how much you pay interceding for you.

These are not just ordinary prayer warriors but they also possess divining powers. Their divination is usually about family, fortune and the enemies that want to snatch all these from you. Like any trade, some have mastered the art of getting the right kind of clients (read busy, rich or gullible) from whom they have gained the kind of wealth that boggles the mind.

Now, do not get me wrong, I have no doubt that prayer moves mountains but to what extent should one pursue it?  This has spawned heated debates among believers. Should each pray for oneself or should we seek the services of these tested and proven prayer warriors? Even a more complex question is who the right person is and who is the wolf in sheep’s clothing? It really becomes difficult to separate the chaff from the grain.

 Is adhering to Jesus’ advice to leave the process for the harvest lest in the process we end up uprooting the seed instead of the weed leaving too much to chance? But what is a genuine seeker of God to do? After listening to all these debates and watching our so called pastors humiliate each other in the public domain, I feel those who are truly after a relationship with God should turn to the Bible for guidance. 

First, we need to ask ourselves, why should we pray? Prayer, first and foremost is meant to help us avoid temptation. Jesus urged his disciples in the garden of gethsemane to pray but due to human weakness, they failed with disastrous consequences.

Peter, who had vowed never to leave the master, fails miserably, Judas ends up betraying His Lord and apart from Luke, Phillip, James and John we never hear much about the other disciples again. Secondly, prayer is meant to bring us in closer communion with God, so that we are confident enough to present our supplications, discuss our dilemmas and seek guidance in times of confusion from Him.

Where to pray from

Will God only answer your prayer only when you are in a particular place? When the Israelites were coming from a culture of 400 years of idolatry in Egypt, Moses encouraged them to have a central place of worship. This place was known as the tent of meeting. Later, there was the shrine at Shiloh presided over by prophets Eli and Samuel and eventually Solomon’s magnificent temple.

The reason Israelites were urged to congregate in these places instead of each praying from their own homes was to protect them from the temptation to pray to the gods they had been exposed to in Egypt and from other desert tribes. I have noticed these tendencies cropping up in many Christina homes. Many homes now proudly talk about their family altars and prayer rooms.  But when Jesus talks to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, he says where one prays from no longer matters because God seeks those who worship in prayer and in truth.

How often should one pray? Jesus urges us to pray without ceasing because no one knows when trouble will strike. What we should bear in mind is that prayer is not a substitute for effort to solve our daily challenges. Rather prayer and work should be in tandem.

How should we pray?

 Undoubtedly, there are many ways to pray and different believers pray differently. This too, is a source of controversy because each believes their way is the right way. But again when we turn to the word of God, there we will find guidelines, especially regarding public and private prayer. Public prayer should be short and precise; dedicated to the praising and worshiping of God.

About private prayer, I still feel Jesus hit the nail on the head when He directed us to pray in a closed room and with as less drama as possible. After all God your father knows your needs even before you pray. It should be like a conversation with a being that knows you in and out, knows your deepest secrets and desires, understands your weakness and is able to judge you fairly. When you do this right, you will realise that prayer can actually be both rewarding and refreshing and there is no need to hire mercenaries to do it for you however many miracles they claim to have wrought.

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