By George Kimando
Of late, a lot has been happening and been said about prayers and the place of the church in the country’s political dispensation.
Unfortunately, reason has been thrown out of the proverbial window and much of what we hear is just a cacophony of noises, largely along the political leaning of the day.
While one side of the political divide presses on with thanks giving Sundays, the other has painted the government as inept and has thus turned the country into a ‘prayer dependent economy’, hiding behind religion to cover up its inability to deliver on its promises to Kenyans.
To be fair to the President (who is the main target of the political opposition against the ‘religionising’ of the economy) there’s no point at which he has said that Prayer is a substitute for hard work, good planning and diligence.
Indeed, he is one leader who is leading by example: prayerful, yet putting in the hours and the hard work to achieve a mission and vision for the country. Even the meanest of his critics will give him that.
He is clear that Prayer is not in the Success Equation, that Prayer is in the Revelation Equation; that we have to be disciplined as a country, live within our means, save meaningfully for old age, invest wisely and make it easier for our children and posterity to make it better going forward.
I think the concern has more to do with the divisions emerging within the Church (a very large section of the Church seems cut off), the apparent alienation of other religions from the political executive, and the potential danger of turning the country into a de-facto Christian state.
Further to this is even the worse danger of idolizing the Presidency to a point where those who hold different opinions in principle are seen as anti-God and as belonging to some dark forces (read satanic orientation).
As a symbol of national unity, the President must resist the push to this trajectory. He was voted in by people from every corner of the country, and in any case became the President of everybody when he was sworn in. He has repeatedly assured the country of this fact.
There is also the genuine concern of the impartiality of the Church when need to speak truth to power arises. When the Church becomes an appendage of the state, can it be expected to be the unadulterated voice of God? A look at history would rightly denominate the fears many harbours.
Then, there are those things within our power that we need to do as a country to make things work.
Surely, we cannot be praying against corruption. We have institutions that have a record of who has been involved in what economic impropriety, and which are charged with recovery of such assets, or prosecuting the perpetrators of such economic crimes.
Even as we pray for rain, the onus is on the government to lead the establishment of alternatives to rain dependent agriculture, like irrigation.
We cannot be calling national prayer days against alcoholism and addiction. The government has the capacity to know the source of these destructive brews and traffickers of illicit drugs, and how to curb the menace.
Need i go on?
Prayer is an essential component of every believer, but it must be within the spiritual context, not driven by expectation of inappropriate personal gain.
I think there are genuine concerns from very sober minds about the apparent dalliance between one section of the Church in Kenya and the state.
If i was the President, i would listen. Very, very keenly.
Have a reflective Sunday, and a great week ahead.