Truly, prayer remains the master key to connect with our Creator, but no matter how much prayer we offer, attitude and character play major role in the issues of life. This is a crystal-clear truth a lot of people refuse to understand. Prayer is not the answer to every situation. There are times when simple expression of right character works wonders. At such times, just using the five magic words, sincere apology, truthfulness, integrity, handwork, among others will solve hard puzzles.
When people sometimes pray for miracle to happen, probably what they need might be the right attitude and not prayer. Clearly, worthy character overcomes challenges. We have the tendency to forget that God blesses us through fellow human beings. The question then is: what is the character that attracts and sustains such blessings from God?
God has never at any time thrown money from heaven to a prayer warrior who is a lazy man or woman. The Bible explicitly says, “God blesses the works of the hand” of the man or woman. Popular eatry, ‘Tastee Fried Chicken’ is where it is today because of the character and hard work of Mrs. Olayinka Pamela Adedayo, not just her fervent prayers.
In an interview, she said: “During my son’s 10th birthday party, I prepared all the meals by myself. One man (name withheld) brought his children for the party and I served him like other guests. Now, when this man’s older son wanted to marry, he looked for me to cater for the day. I even told him that I am not a caterer. He insisted I should do the job. Obediently I catered for the day and luckily, the late Mrs. Maryam Babangida was at the wedding. She tasted my food and sought for me. After one or two outings, she made me the official caterer in the State House.” If Mrs. Adedayo did not have the character, would she have succeeded the much she has today? God would rather bless us with contacts of people who would be our ladder to climb and we use character to sustain such relationships.
The Book of Life says: “If you cannot provide for your family, you are worse than an infidel.” God did not say, if you cannot pray. With this assumption, if one thinks prayers is all that he or she needs, the fellow has gradually opened his or her door wide open for hunger and poverty. Those who think that reputable relationship with others in the family, business associates, offices, classmates are not needed, you are not right. Maintain genuine, responsible relationships while keeping your prayer line open.
Interestingly, even the Bible recorded that before we pray, God knows our needs and will answer us because we have exhibited attitudes that will attract miracles. Now, imagine in a family where a co-wife died leaving behind three children. Mrs. Precious Chinda was still believing God for the fruit of the womb, but chose to close her eyes to her co-wife’s children aged 8, 5 and 2. While their widower-father struggled to pick the strings of his own life and the children without a mother, Chinda would rather go to church to pray for her own children. If she had character, she would have simply stepped into the lives of those children and nursed them like her own. Instead, she preferred to kick away the miracle at her feet for a strange land where she would be deceived further. The everyday story of the Shunamite woman comes to play here. Did she not pray and fast? She did. Even as a prominent woman who had money, but she could not buy a child until when she took care of Elisha with character; respected him, was hospitable, kind and polite. God then used Elisha to speak into her womb and she conceived. Through character, she received her miracle.
Character is a virtue, and sometimes what people call favour is triggered by virtue. Now, former Vice Presidential candidate of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and former governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, won the hearts of his state and Nigerians through strong character. Obi was a governor who for eight years fixed Anambra and brought his state to limelight once again. Being a governor for years would have afforded him the opportunity to expand his personal wealth by embezzling state funds, sharing to his friends and family, a practice that is common among Nigerian politicians. Being a person with strong will and character, he chose to be different. It was not prayer that put him in the hearts and warm embrace of Nigerians; it was his character. He once said: “When I was the governor of Anambra State, whenever I get to Abuja for a meeting, people will say Peter, your people are not happy with you; I will reply them and say ‘my duty is not to make people happy, there are entertainers whose duty is to make people laugh and be merry; my duty is to fix Anambra.” The reason most Nigerian politicians steal without conscience is because they lack character.
Be it as it may, sometimes, it looks as if we are our own worst enemies due to our attitude and character. I have not seen where good character failed someone. Chucks Opara happened to be a close relation of mine. He found it a bit difficult to secure university admission. By the time he eventually graduated, his age had pushed up. On a certain job interview in an Israeli company in Victoria Island, most of the applicants falsified their ages on their CVs – as their faces could not match the written ages. Chuks was bold to write his real age of 38 years. At the end of the interview, Chuks was singled out for his truthfulness and boldness and was offered immediate employment.
Again, don’t forget that talent is attractive; anyone could be talented, but character is a proof of discipline. A proof of responsibility. Character sustains the attraction that talent gives one.
Chizurum Anoruo popularly known as ‘De Waya’ was one of the most talented singers back in our young days. He was a sought-after male singer who caressed people with his melodious voice, but poor character did not let him reach the Promised Land. Whenever he was invited to perform at an event, he would find one lazy excuse and procrastinate. With time, the litany of people who loitered around him dwindled as the law of diminishing return hits him below the belt. ‘De Waya’ consequently became a local champion. There was no character in what he was doing.
In a situation where a neighbour chose to be a mini-demon, what then happens? It quickly reminds me of a story told about Daddy Emmanuel who suffered alone on the day his son had crisis as a sickler. He was a very strange and absentee neighbour because of his weird character, a full fledged adult who never said ‘Good morning’ to his neighbours, never participated in the compound, including the birth of new babies or death of a neighbour, those moments that unite disagreeing parties. Daddy Emmanuel had no business with such. But on the contrary, neighbours would always hear dexterous clapping, loud praise and worship during morning devotion with his family. He would go to church to pray, yet his neighbours were all his enemies. Then one day his only son Emmanuel, slipped into crisis. No one assisted him because of his odd character. At that trying moment, he needed his neighbours’ support like driving them to the hospital, cheering them up, calming them down and all that even as the wife was screaming. Prayer could not give them the support needed at that moment
Men and women who abandon their home front and complete all cycles of church programmes to please their pastor are religious fanatics and public relations practitioners. If your home is in shambles, know that you need positive character to stay strong in your relationship, not prayer. Prayer will not come down to repair your mess, it is the change in your attitude that will clean up the clutter. A rude prayerful wife is simply wasting her time. An obedient less prayerful spouse would be loved and adored by her husband.
A student who refuses to study, but finds praying as the first love definitely has no plans to succeed; while others are in class listening to the teacher, submitting notes and assignments, burning the midnight candle to prepare for tests and examinations, one is praying without ceasing, that student is doomed to fail because at this point what a student needs is to study hard. Going through the curriculum vitae of the newly elected governor of Anambra State, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo, one would see that he was a studious student and not a prayer warrior. His results, hard work, determination and character have driven him to great heights today.
Dear Nigerians, know it from today that prayer is not all; let us build relationships because God will use men to bless us. Do not look down on people, instead respect them. A little maid in the household of Naaman provided the information that set him on the road to miraculous healing from leprosy. Sometimes, the solution to our problems is trapped in the mouth of mere individuals, but many of us are not humble enough to see it.