Sunday Thoughts – Prayers, and how I wish God existed
On March 21st when Kenya held its National Day of Prayer meant to beseech the Gods to be with Kenyans during the coronavirus pandemic, a good friend of mine and gospel musician Faith Nduhiu and I had a debate on the importance of prayers. Faith insisted that with prayers God could be made to intervene and bring to a stop not only the spread of coronavirus, but also to eradicate the virus altogether. Additionally, God could heal everyone infected with the virus thereby rendering the world a coronavirus free zone. I asked Faith if 30 days were enough for God to do such an intervention. “30 days are a lot”, she said. “Let’s just set it to 30 days”, I insisted. She agreed.
The agreement here was that on the 30th day of the prayers, which is today Sunday the 19th of April 2020, there would be zero cases of coronavirus worldwide if God listens to genuine prayers uttered by a person of good faith, the type of faith Faith believes to have. I on the other hand insisted that prayers are not answered, and that it is more likely for a scientific prediction done on the basis of “prayers do not work” and past observations to come to pass. I made such a prediction and concluded that by April 19th 2020, we would be having over 1 million active coronavirus cases worldwide.
I made the prediction by calculating that there was a daily 48,000 net increase of coronavirus cases (active cases) worldwide, which if added to the 196,000 active cases we had on March 21, would bring the total of all active coronavirus cases to 1.64 million by today. As I write this, the number of active cases stands at 1.57 million (before numbers for April 19th are added) – and that’s within 5% margin of error.
Straight conclusion therefore is that God did not honor faith the same way He honored Elijah when Elijah faced off with the Prophets of Baal at Mt. Carmel (See 1 Kings 18:16-45). The faceoff between Elijah and the Prophets of Baal should argue against “thou shalt not test the Lord thy God” scapegoat.
To me however, the fact that God has not cared to honor Faith’s prayer proves that the God Faith worships doesn’t give a shit about her prayers, but most importantly it doesn’t give a shit about human endeavours, greatest longings and hope, and predicaments. Why doesn’t it give a shit? Faith might provide a convoluted answer but the simplest answer is “he does not exist – most probably”.
Honestly speaking, I really wanted Faith’s prayers to be answered – and that’s because at times I really wish we had a God, the type of God espoused by Christianity – the type of God who would be someone’s last source of hope – a God who did not just listen to our deepest cries, but talked back in a clear and definite voice. A God who did not hide himself. But every time I try to use non-emotional approaches to figuring this God out, I hit brick walls. Faith’s unanswered prayers over coronavirus has probably sealed off any hope I had of getting back to believing the fairy tales about God.
For those of you who want to cling to believing that God answers prayers, consider this:
There are scientists who have cooked a number of vaccines for coronavirus that are already being rolled out for testing. Now, there are those who are praying for the individuals who are receiving the vaccines.
For the vaccines that work – how will we know that it is the prayer that worked but not the vaccine by itself?
For the vaccines that will not work, will we say it is the prayers that did not work or it is the vaccines themselves that cannot work no matter how hard prayers are made? That is, can prayers make vaccines that cannot work to work? If so, how can we know?
During the National Day of Prayer, the President had this to say, “I know there are those who are saying that we should depend on science, not prayers. But I want to reassure you, that even science needs God”. Now that it is clear God is not interested in intervening in human affairs, I hope we do not waste any more state resources and precious time trying to beseech things that don’t exist into helping us; rather, we should focus all our energy into finding the working solutions to our practical problems.