Tomorrow is Fast and Prayer Day

Women praying near Sprigg Payne Airfield Courtesy: The Carter Center

The Government of Liberia (GoL), through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has declared Friday, April 13, as National Fast and Prayer Day.

A proclamation quoting President George Weah notes that all Prelates, Priests, Elders, Deacons, Evangelists, Imams and residents gather in one accord in their places of worship in every city, town, village or home to fast and pray from 8a.m. to 12 midday.

In the process, all public offices, business houses and marketplaces are to remain closed from morning to evening, while all citizens and foreign residents will cease from their usual daily occupations and avocations in further recognition of God’s love and guidance.

The President went on to acknowledge that there are still large a number of kith and kin living in uncertain conditions in the Diaspora, but the need for remembrance in prayer of those who have made the supreme sacrifice remains unfulfilled.

Additionally, President Weah said there have been unusual and extraordinary outbreaks of natural phenomena and national crises provoked by man and that have caused much harm, devastation and destruction in many parts of the world, including Liberia from which, by the grace of God, survivors have been spared.

The Legislature passed an Act in 1883, declaring the second Friday in April of each year as National Fast and Prayer Day.

The day allows Liberians to dedicate some time in their respective areas of worship to pray to their God for His blessings upon the nation.

Liberia, with its founding history traced to Christianity, has public Christian holidays, including Fast and Prayer, Christmas and Easter.  Easter is exclusively celebrated by the greater Christian population and allows some functionaries of the government, including the lawmakers, to close for a break.

Worshiping God is regarded highly in Liberia in all social spheres; Christians, Muslims and even the traditional people attach great importance to the God of creation.

One incident that sparked the proclamation of Fast and Prayer Day was the political crisis that occurred between Liberia and the British colonial territory of Sierra Leone in 1883.

It may be recalled that when Arthur Havelock took an assignment as a colonial governor in Sierra Leone in 1881, and at the same time as a Consul General for Great Britain in Liberia, he became involved in a major border dispute between Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The area in question lies between the Sewa and Mano rivers and is referred to as the Gallinas Territory.

On March 20, 1882, Havelock was reported to have led a flotilla (fleet) of four British gunboats to Monrovia, demanding that Liberia give up all territories to the Mafa River to Great Britain, and pay an indemnity (compensation) of £8,500 to British traders for injuries inflicted in 1871 by tribal men inhabiting the area the British claim.

A treaty was signed in this regard, but its ratification was refused by the Liberian Senate, thus provoking Havelock gunboats to return to Monrovia in September the same year, demanding immediate acknowledgement of British claim, and ratification of the treaty.

The Senate refused again, thus increasing the dispute and leading into a seizure of Liberia’s gunboat.


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