Today was a bit odd at Mass. Usually during the prayer of the faithful, general prayers are offered by the congregation for the sick, soldiers, the bereaved, students especially during exams and for countries in distress. I had gotten used to hearing names of countries like Congo, Sudan, Japan etc. It was therefore disconcerting to hear a prayer offered specifically for Nigeria. I felt like someone had pulled off my clothes and left me lying naked under a cynosure of eyes ‘what’s your pride in feeling black and proud when there is chaos back home?’. Sigh.
Oddly it was comforting too. Maybe the more people pleading to Heaven for Nigeria the better right?
Anyway, at a point I had a flash and whipped out my phone to Google a forgotten prayer ‘Prayer for Nigeria in distress'. If you are a Catholic in Nigeria you will probably remember it. It was written by Catholic Bishops in July of 1993 following the annulment saga, riots etc. They must have thought that year/period will remain the lowest point in our life as a nation.
I am sad to prove them wrong.
There is something comforting about this prayer (to me at least) as it reminds me that a loving God created and watches over us. I used to have the prayer card with me, and pray it at random times during the day/week.
If it touches you pls print out/save it on your mobile and when you think of Nigeria, rather than despair, say a prayer.
All powerful and merciful Father, you are the God of justice, love and peace. You rule over all the nations of the earth.
Power and might are in your hands and no one can withstand you.
We present our country Nigeria before you. We praise and thank for you are the source of all we have and are.
We are sorry for all the sins we have committed and for the good deeds we have failed to do.
In your loving forgiveness, keep us save from the punishment we deserve.
Lord, we are weighed down not only by uncertainties, but also by moral, economic and political problems.
Listen to the cries of your people who confidently turn to you.
God of infinite goodness, our strength in diversity, our health in weakness, our comfort in sorrow, be merciful to us your people.
Spare this nation Nigeria from chaos, anarchy and doom.
Bless us with your kingdom of justice, love and peace.
We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.
Disclaimer: This prayer does not absolve you from being proactive. E.g. don’t stand and be praying when you see a mob preparing to lynch somebody's son or daughter.