When members of the national legislature in 1883 resolved to enact a national fast and prayer day, they might have had foresight of the suffering that the Liberian people and their small but historic country would endure in times to come, and that it would take the divine grace of God to save them, time and again.
Though facing a crisis at the time when the sovereignty of the state was under threat as a result of Britain’s persistent quest to colonize the land, the Lawmakers wisely turned to God, being the only solution to the pervasive threat.
The Fast and Prayer Day appears even more poignant for the current dispensation, as one disaster after another continue to plague the country: over fifteen years of civil unrest that claimed the lives of over two hundred thousand Liberians; the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease that recently claimed a substantial number of lives, the threat of which still hangs over the country; not forgetting acts of terrorism in occurring in neighboring Cote d’Ivoire. Corruption and bad governance, from time immemorial has also driven the country backward, keeping the masses in perpetual poverty and illiteracy.
It was against this troubled background that Liberians, from the Christian community, gathered in their hundreds at the Gethsemane Christian Center (GCC) in Louisiana, outside Monrovia on April 8, Fast and Prayer Day, to petition the Almighty God for His divine intervention and to bless the state and the people.
At the National Fast and Prayer Retreat held at GCC to commemorate this year’s celebration, Christians from all denominations gathered and fervently prayed for God’s healing hands on the nation.
The bishop of the Dominion Fellowship Church, Isaac Winker described the grounds (Gethsemane) as a place of intercession, the place of prayer and a place to seek God for protection, national renewal and forgiveness.
Bishop Winker, proffering prayers of deliverance for the nation, said if Liberians cannot rescue the country from its current desolate condition as believers, then the Christian community has miserably failed.
“Things just don’t happen because they want to happen; people must be willing to pay the price, especially for national causes like these,” he said.
He noted that it is now time for Christians to rise up and save the state.
He said well-to-do nations around the world didn’t just come to be what they are now, but it took men and women of like minds to make the sacrifices and pay the ultimate price.
“And this is what you and I are here to do Liberia. We must stand in the gap to ensure that Liberia is delivered from the hands of its enemies,” the charismatic preacher said, adding, “We have come to pull our hearts to God so he can have mercy on us and save our nation.”
He was of the strong conviction that with the willing faithful few who gathered at the prayer center in one accord, Liberia will be rescued from her enemies.
“We are here to dress and keep Liberia because others are on the other side fighting tirelessly to undress our beloved country and they have been succeeding. We now need to stand up and say no to this,” he said.
He said such a gathering of Christians is very important, especially at a time when the country searches for genuine peace.
“This is more imperative, especially as the 2017 general and presidential elections which are very critical to the survival of the state and the attainment of perpetual peace,” he said.
He said, “2017 is coming and there are politicians who do not have the chance of winning, but will resort to violence as a means to seek victory and the Church doesn’t need to wait for 2017 before it starts praying against these vices. Now is the time because we can now start destroying the plans of the enemies now.”
The Second Lady of the Republic of Liberia, Mrs. Kartumu Boakai, was in attendance and said she was highly impressed with the occasion, noting that indeed there are still a faithful few in the country.
“I’m very grateful that we can have such in gathering in this country. I’m indeed impressed with this gathering,” Madam Boakai said.
“The devil cannot take over this country,” she confidently said and added that her husband, the Vice President, would have loved to be at in attendance but was out of the country (in South Africa) on national duty.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was expected to attend, but did not show up.
The GCC is a Christian prayer center being constructed by former Montserrado County Superintendent, Grace Kpaan, who is also the Senior Pastor of the Life Tabernacle Church.
At the time of the declaration of Fast and Prayer Day, Liberia was under the leadership of two elderly men, 86 years old Hilary R. W. Gardner and 84 years old Alfred F. Russell.
According to history, as the result of the threat of Britain, whose forces were stationed in nearby Sierra Leone, President Gardner resigned and Russell took over since he was his Vice President.
And President Russell’s only way out was to turn to God, and asked the legislature to call for the nation to fast and pray.