The President of Liberia, George Manneh Weah, in a Proclamation issued this week, has called on all the Prelates, Priests, Elders, Evangelists, Imams, indeed all the people of Liberia, the vast majority of whom are, most fortunately, believers in Almighty God, to observe tomorrow, the second Friday of April, as Fast and Prayer Day.
Each of the above mentioned religious leaders and all the people of Liberia, as believers in and servants of God, know that every minute and hour of the day is a time for prayer. It was the Apostle Paul who wrote in First Thessalonians Chapter Five, verses 16-18 that we should “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
And this is what many, admittedly not all believers, do, in obedience to the word. Be that as it may, however, the Liberian Legislature, in 1883, decided by Act to set aside the Second Friday in April of each year as National Fast and Prayer Day. The background to this was the many economic, social and political challenges Liberia faced at the time, challenges that threatened its very existence as a nation.
There were the border encroachments by the imperial powers of Britain and France. Indeed it was not long after these that the Gallinas country, inhabited by the Vai people, and the place where many European factories existed, was seized by the British and became the southern section of Sierra Leone.
Poor Liberia, which amidst the avaricious (greedy, rapacious) aggression of the imperial powers, was abandoned by its so-called “mother country” — the United States of America. Yes, Liberia had to fend for herself in the lonely terrain as Africa’s first independent republic.
It was amidst this lonely, fragile and almost friendless existence in which the nation found itself that the Legislature decided to call the people to “Fast and Prayer” and set aside this special Day, the second Friday in April, for this divine purpose. For to whom else but Almighty God, the hapless (luckless, ill-fated) leaders felt they could now turn for defense and succor?
This is at least part of the background to the 1883 Legislative Act establishing Fast and Prayer Day. And look what it accomplished—our survival as a nation! Since then we have had numerous incidents of calamity (disaster, misfortune), including the 1930 Fernando Po crisis in which we almost lost our sovereignty but did not, thanks to the ingenuity of two of our great statesmen, President Edwin J. Barclay and Secretary of State Louis Arthur Grimes.
We survived many terrible economic choices made by our government, among them LAMCO and others, that left Liberia starved of its priceless resources and poorer. We survived the century of political insensitivity and ineptitude (clumsiness, incompetence) of the True Whig Party that led us to 1980 and beyond, to the 14-year civil war.
Yes, by God’s grace, we survived that, too. We survived even the tragic scourge of Ebola. There are many who strongly believe that it was only divine intervention—the grace of God—that saved us from this unknown enemy that viciously attacked our country and people.
God answered our fervent prayers. Most recently, we survived the 2017 elections, which some of our leaders went out of their way to CONFUSE and dangerously orchestrate. But we came through a peaceful transition.
Let us heed President George Weah’s first Fast and Prayer Day Proclamation and do just that—fast and pray for our country, our president and all his lieutenants, all our people, and for the mission of our government, to lift us, at long last, out of our poverty and lead us into an era of development and modernity.
Lord God, please teach us how to pray; and ANSWER our prayers, we pray in Jesus’ holy Name, Amen.