The Bible is replete with exhortations for Christians to pray always. Simply put, prayer is a potent weapon in the hands of believers. This underscores the effectiveness of prayer as a weapon of both physical and spiritual warfare. In the midst of the current economic, political, social and security challenges confronting Plateau State, Nigeria, Africa and the world in general, Christians on the Plateau, in obedience to the Biblical injunction in Joel 1:14, “Sanctify you a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the House of the Lord your God, and cry unto the Lord,” converged on the Rwang Pam Township Stadium in Jos, to offer prayers for God’s intervention, reports Ralph Madugu
On June 1, Christians on the Plateau, irrespective of denomination, woke up to the reality that the current challenges confronting the state, the church and Nigeria entirely, manifested in the daily killings, kidnapping for ransom, the heinous activities of bandits, terrorists and Fulani herdsmen and various agitations for self-determination across regions of the country have obviously overwhelmed the government and defied all human efforts. Therefore, the only option is to return to God Almighty in prayers and genuine repentance.
Instead of the usual lamentations, grumbling and the blame game over the state of the state and the nation, they took to prayers with the firm conviction and faith that God in His mercy, would turn things around for good. Thus, Christians converged on the Rwang Pam Stadium for a solemn assembly to pray and offer supplications to God for peace, progress and stability of the state and country at large.
Organised by the Forum of Denominational Heads and Church leaders in Plateau, in conjunction with the State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, tagged “Plateau Solemn Assembly, A Call to Repentance and Prayers,” believers were all united in one accord for one purpose as they spent hours offering prayers of repentance as individuals, as a people and the body of Christ in dire need of God’s intervention.
The solemn assembly, according to Rev. Dr. Amos Musa Mohzo, the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) President in his welcome address, explained that the gathering was to pray for unity amongst the denominations and all Christians on the Plateau about the security challenges facing the state and the nation, and peaceful co-existence among the people of Plateau, pray for the land that God will purify and sanctify Plateau and to also pray for the political parties to conduct primary elections that would produce credible candidates for the general elections into various political offices in the state and the nation in general among other reasons.
Going down memory lane, the cleric said that from the time of their foundation in Plateau, the Catholic, Anglican (CMS), COCIN (SUM) and ECWA (SIM), had enjoyed “the sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit in building their relationships, working together, speaking with one voice, and honouring one another in their offices of leadership.”
According to him, it was the progress of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ that gave birth to a functional CAN in Plateau State under the oversight of the denominational leaders.
Said he: “The denominational leaders provided guidance, direction and counsel. Whereas CAN would speak to local affairs, the denominational leaders always had the big picture in oversight, and control that reached beyond the local Plateau and exercised their national and international leadership. Therefore, by divine providence CAN in Plateau State is a product of the denominational leaders.”
In a sermon, ECWA President and Chairman of the Forum of Christian Denominational Heads Plateau State, Rev. Dr. Stephen Panya Baba said that Plateau was a land blessed by God with great people and abundant resources that are second to none in Nigeria.
He added that Plateau had remained the hope of salvation for the North and other parts of Nigeria having pioneered and continuously promoted the work of evangelism and spreading the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to the unsaved.
Rev. Baba, who read from Colossians 1:9-14, lamented that believers had failed to shine the light of God by failing to love and fear Him, hence they had resorted to living in sin, disobeying and dishonouring God.
The cleric noted that though the State and its people have been under attack by forces of evil who had killed and destroyed properties of innocent citizens, the wonderful heritage bestowed on Plateau by God would never be taken away if the people return to God and continue to obey the Lord, love one another, and seek to do His will at all times.
“The Lord has done us good but we have failed Him. We indulge in the stealing of our commonwealth leading to death of many.”
Addressing the gathering, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State said the solemn assembly was coming at the right time when the peace and progress of Plateau and Nigeria was more than ever before being challenged.
Lalong said, “Looking at the level of wickedness and manifestation of evil that is threatening our peaceful coexistence and the safety of lives and properties, the Call to Prayers and Repentance is a collective one that emphasizes soul-searching by everyone. This is because the challenges we face today cannot be said to be the fault of a few persons only. Similarly, the efforts to restore the fortunes of our State and country cannot be carried out by a few persons alone.”
He added that, in order to build a better Plateau and a greater Nigeria, citizens must shun all acts that are capable of threatening God’s creation.
The governor regretted that many times, people allow ethnicity, religion, denominational differences, politics, pride, money, greed and selfishness to take control of their lives to the point that they treat people as if they were not created by the Almighty God.
He called on all Christians and the entire citizens of Plateau State to sustain the achievements that have resulted in creating an atmosphere for peace, dialogue, forgiveness and reconciliation during the last seven years of his administration.
On the 2023 General Elections, Lalong said “As we move deeper into the political spectrum, I wish to advise our citizens to use the moment to work together for a better Plateau. This is the time to pray to God and actively participate for the emergence of the right set of leaders that will take over the affairs of our State and country in 2023. Let us do away with politics of hatred, bitterness, violence, character assassination and fake news. We should not allow desperate politicians to use religion, ethnicity and other antics to divide us. We must never forget to Think and Act Plateau.”
The governor emphasised that at the end of the day, those who win or lose shall continue to remain brothers and sisters irrespective of their political parties or other peculiarities. This he said should encourage those seeking political offices to tell the people what they intend to do and allow the electorate to decide through the ballot box.
Prayers of praise, thanksgiving and repentance were offered as the various church leaders took turns to pray. There were also special prayers for the
unity of the Church on the Plateau and Nigeria, evangelism and missions, 2023 elections and politics, peace and security of Plateau State and Nigeria as well as the economic prosperity of the State. There were song ministrations from the ECWA Women Fellowship, COCIN Choir, Catholic Archdiocese Women, OAIC Choir and the New Life For All singers.