On 18th October 2017, President Uhuru Kenyatta asked Kenyans to join in prayers for the country in preparation for the repeat presidential election. In this call, the President talked about seeking God, repentance and forgiveness and went further to recite the biblical verse, 2 Chronicles 7:14 – If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
In as much as I am a strong believer in prayers, I refuse to merely prayer for peace in Kenya. 2 Chronicles, the bible verse recited by the President sets out the conditions to be met in order for the Lord to forgive this country’s sins and heal its land, conditions that those who led the prayers seem unwilling to meet.
The verse begins by calling on the people to humble themselves. While those who led the prayers appeared humble during the national prayers ceremony, their actions pre and post the prayers events are far from humility. We have been fed with scenes of members of the different political divide chest thumping. Calls by for dialogue between Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga have been ignored with the President ruling out dialogue with Raila. One cannot claim to be humble yet refuse to sit at the peace table to dialogue for peace. There is need to demonstrate sincere humility and be willing to return to reason if the Lord is to listen to our prayers.
The verse further calls on the Country to turn from its wicked ways and repent. According to the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), 35 people were killed after the August 8th elections. According to the commission, the deaths were caused by excessive use of force by police officers while quelling protests against the declaration of Uhuru Kenyatta as re-elected president. Among the dead include a six-month-old baby who was clobbered by armed security agents while under the care of its mother. Despite documentation of such cases of extrajudicial killings, the Government continues to deny the existence of this problem and no one has been brought to book for these killings. How can we as a nation purport to be repentant if we refuse to acknowledge our sins and turn from them? Proverbs 28:13 says – Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds peace.
I refuse to merely pray for peace in Kenya. Praying for peace should be accompanied by working towards peace. This calls for a willingness to sit down and dialogue for peace, address injustices and genuinely reconcile the people. Failing to do this yet publicly conduct prayers for peace translates to making a show of praying to enhance one’s reputation as a “religious” or “righteous” person. Such prayers are hypocritical and expressly made to be seen by others. Let us pray and work towards peace.