“When the missionaries came to
If there is anything that bothers me about the major world religions, it is the penchant of their adherents to pray with their eyes closed. I don’t get it, it baffles me, and it astounds me! Why pray with your eyes closed? I remember back in the day, father scolded me severely many times for opening my eyes while prayers were ongoing in church. The problem is how did he see me? He said he was watching! Father also had his eyes opened? I figured out quickly he should perhaps scold himself first. Who says adults should have a pass on this nonsense tradition, whose source and logic is dubious?
Think about it, does it make sense? Does it make sense to close your eyes when speaking to someone? If prayer is a way of communicating with God as they want us to believe, and if God is your father, and if He is everywhere, then why close your eyes? Won’t your earthly father regard it as an insult if you close your eyes while having a conversation with him or making a request? No wonder our prayers are not answered in
I happen to be of Christian birth, so I am more informed to speak on the position of Christianity on this matter. Hence, my Islamic brothers will forgive me if this comes across as lopsided. Well let us examine the Holy Bible. Various passages foremost among which is one that said plainly: “Watch and pray…” (Mat 26:41), points to the fact that prayer should come with opened eyes. How can you pray and watch the same time with your eyes closed? The other prayer passage says something along the line of “Pray without Ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Well, I don’t think the Bible is prescribing that we go about blind and eyes closed, without ceasing!
By all measures, I think this eyes closing is a carry over from the Judaism era and European adaptation. Problem with we Africans is that we hardly try to have a mind of our own. Why will my father scold an African son who sees no good in closing his eyes while praying? While pouring libation to the spirits of our forefathers, it is our tradition to speak politely and open eyes. We don’t close eyes and yell. That is abominable, and not worthy of emulation. Even the Europeans that brought Christianity to
Okay, I give it to you that these folks actually close their eyes tighter than Africans do. But don’t mistake this action for mere symbolism. European closed their eyes for practical reasons and I can prove it. The expectation while closing their eyes is to give the Clergy an opportunity to sip wine and be drunk! Don’t ask me how I know this, but just visit any
The laity in the European church of course are not unaware of this fact, but knowing how beneficial to the larger economy a drunk pastor, and an eyes closing congregation is, they are willing (or unwilling) accomplices in this monumental tradition of purely adaptive consequence. If only we can get all those our jerry curling haired pastors drunk, if only church services in our country can be shorter in duration, if only we can start opening eyes when we pray to see the atrocity of the fire spitting preacher- if only. Just imagine how many scientific innovations, entrepreneurial ideas and earth shaking inventions that can be made in the gazillion hours Nigerians spend in their churches and mosques.
Of course, many of my “good” Islamic brothers even pray more than the Christians do. Five times they say! Well, do the calculations. Assuming ninety percent of Nigerians are religious of the Christian or Islamic hue; this comes out to be 126 million people. Assuming we spend ten percent of our day praying, that comes out to be 110 376 000 000 (111 billion) man hours a year of going about with our eyes closed! We are indeed a nation of the blind. No one moves while being blind folded. That is why we are stuck in this perennial rot of underdevelopment.
Opening our eyes while praying will require us to love our neighbors, regardless of religion, tribe, and language; it will elevate justice and fairness as central doctrines of our national dogma. Instead of professing love for an unseen God, we will love our country, fellow mankind, and unborn children. How can you love God when you slaughter your fellow country man on the altar of religious hatred? Opening our eyes while praying will see us put the interest of our country first before material gains, bribes and scam proceeds. Instead of donating dirty monies to the “poor” and “houses of God”, we will put our intelligence to work with our eyes opened. Keeping our eyes opened will see us insisting that our politicians work for us, instead of lining their pockets with filthy, stolen wealth. It will see us standing up for our rights, eyes opened, even if the fraudster is our benefactor or tribesman. Opening our eyes will see us vanquishing the last forces of imperial colonialism, the economic sabotage masquerading as foreign aid and monetary policies that is stripping us of our heritage in broad day light.
Shine your eyes well, well my people!
P.S: Whoever told the Super Eagles that praying with heads bowed and eyes closed will lead to automatic victory? Perhaps, those defenders should have taken that one minute of wasted prayer to study Agogo and Essien. What a bunch of jokes!