“We must kneel to heal”
By Ron Daniel
I have not written one commentary in more than two years but the events in my country have forced me to find my pen again. I feel I would have abandoned my conscience not to use this forum to speak to the nation on the darkness that seems to want to eviscerate the gains we have made as a country and our very reputation as the queen of the Caribees. I speak of course specifically to the crimes and gang problems that want to dictate our very actions in our land. I return to the Bible for our solution which in 2 Chronicles 7:14 says “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” I dare anyone to convince me that our country does not need to heal and that we do not need to kneel to God in prayer for our country. This article will suggest some practical steps to attain the kind of sacrosanct transformation in our land.
Prayer must be couched in humility
The scriptures in its sagacity says that we must first humble ourselves then pray and there is good reason for it. Most times our leaders tend to think that they have the answers to crime whether in government or in opposition but they too need to be humble. Even as a community, we posit certain solutions that we are positive would solve the problems and we believe we have the answer but we don’t. The same goes for the police and the regular man on the street. The Bible however posits that we must humbly acknowledge that we do not know and return to our God who designed creation for the answers. God cannot hear a pompous prayer. He cannot hear a prayer from a person who genuinely believes God does not exist or God is not the answer or someone who is praying to look pious. The prayer must come from a humble heart which acknowledges that they are not God, that they are sorry for thinking they do not need God and that recognizes the indubitable omnipotence of God. Humility must precede our prayers.
Prayer must be corporate
We must decide as a nation to come together and pray. I am not necessarily talking about a joint prayer rally but we must rally together as a people and pray. It should not just be one of us. At my church we have been taking time out of our corporate worship service over the past two weeks to pray. Everyone is encouraged to kneel and pray for our country then one person prays on behalf of the country. The same can be done in other churches. Preliminary research suggests that there are at least 60 churches in Nevis. Now for a cornucopia of reasons it is almost impossible for these 60 churches to come together for prayer. My suggestion then is to have these 60 churches lead their congregations in prayer in the 60 different communities that they worship. So instead of having 60 churches in the square in Charlestown you can have prayer meetings, prayer vigils, prayer walks and all night prayer meetings in 60 different areas of the island thereby maximizing the impact and signifying to the varying communities that they serve that they are serious about prayer. Imagine God hearing 60 points of prayer from 60 different churches that all serve about 50 people. Imagine 3000 humble and repentant people in Nevis praying to God about healing Rawlins, Newcastle, Cotton Ground, Pond Hill, Fountain, Bath Village, Low Street, Clay Ghuat, Fern Hill, Jones Estate, Rawlins Pasture, Pinneys inter alia.
Prayer must be constant
The kind of prayer that we desire now cannot be “one and done”. We must pray without ceasing for our country if we truly believe in putting “country above self”. These corporate prayers must not just be in 60 different churches on one day but must be like the kind of passionate purposeful prayer like back in the days of Nehemiah where he prayed and fasted for many days because the walls were broken down in Jerusalem. We must realize that our moral walls are broken down too when we have had in the last month alone no fewer than 5 shootings aimed at 5 different young men with 4 of them being in broad daylight and a merciless beating with machete in the heart of the Elquemedo Willet Park in broad daylight while the children of Nevis were training for athletics. When we also realize that this is on the heels of a record breaking 10 murders in Nevis in 2013 with 9 shootings and the strangulation of a teenage girl who was a former youth group member of mine, we realize that prayer has to be constant. We simply cannot stop when we realize that a murder happened in every parish in Nevis last year and that of the ten murders last year, only in 2 of them have police been able to make arrests in much less gain convictions. Pastors must not only call for constant prayer from their members, they must insist on it and make it a part of the church life in worship over a long period of time.
The deleterious effects of crime affect every facet of our country. Whether it is the home owner who now has to spend more money on a security, or the business who closes earlier and loses money, the tourist that does not wish to come to a crime ridden land, the mother who loses her son and is crying and shaken up even one year after because someone gunned down her son, the children who have to grow up fatherless and the women who have to go through life without the bread winner and the one they loved while raising these children alone or the employer who loses a great employee and now has to find another skilled replacement. The murderers around us take no thought of these effects. Their minds are not thinking that far ahead and generally revenge, hatred, jealousy and ill will have a way of blinding us to basic common sense. These people are not demons but people who need prayer to save them from being ruled by demons. I rather believe some of these male and females in gangs if they are able to turn their lives around through God would make some of the best counselors, pastors and social workers since they can speak from a certain vantage point. Prayer is also needed for the parents who are the primary nurturers of these children. Our jails are filled with some of the most gifted people that are needed to transform our workforce and economy. Our community continues to be encompassed by fear and look askance at the police force. We need to humbly return to God praying passionately and regularly for our land. Our country is crying out for help. We need to kneel to heal.