Praying for rain: How the church is dancing its sure way to irrelevance

Members of the Public are seen during the National Solemn Assembly at the Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi on February 14, 2023. [Kelly Ayodi, Standard]

Literal recreation of biblical scenarios is often problematic. A contemporary reenactment of bible times rain-making moments requires accurate discernment. Without such spiritual intelligence, the gathering may become an embarrassment - an miss or make optimism gathering. When the Israelites were in the desert, God did not respond to the desert situation by supplying rain. Manna - not ran - was the intervention.

God therefore has an array of choices and we should not always run to the rain solution. In the Egypt Joseph-Pharaoh moment, the solution to the drought was stocking for it. The years of drought were not adjusted. Joseph got a presidential appointment to chair the drought impact minimisation taskforce. Full drought-full stock. For Elijah at Mt Carmel, it was a sin-related curse that needed reversal. The reversal was conditional and was preceded by the destruction of the prophets of false gods. Then came the rain. On which - or other - premise was the Uhuru Park prayer meeting premised?

It seemed more of the priests of the presidential cult pleading to God for an endorsement of their leader by way of falling of rain. If the prayer for rain was political in that drought threatens the success of the king's manifesto's economic plan, the motive is porous.

For kings, convenience rather than conviction is the prominent basis of decision making. Presidents are therefore largely schemers - sacrificing whatever needs to be set alight for the sake of a sustaining and enlarging their political clout. Not even the church within the nation's boundaries is exempt! Scheming therefore includes entering the holy ground, luring the church and putting a leash around its neck. The church thinks it free, until the day it wants to flee.

Prophets do not exist to make Kings comfortable. Prophets make truth comfortable. True prophets know the way of the leash and labor to avoid it. Only the leash-less prophet is a threat to the king. Leashed priests however smart can no longer serve God and His people. They serve the king and his schemes.

Gagged by State

As we speak, the present political administration has already gagged a sizeable chunk of Kenya's church. Politically, this is no mean achievement and the administration must be congratulated. It is ridiculous that the netted priests talk as if they were independent and "led of God" while the leash around their neck is too thick for anyone not to see it! All can see their blindness but they insist they can see! Yes they have sight, but not a sight of their own. They are "seen" for. Any attempt to flee will not be without dramatic consequences. They have been bought with a price and they must return value for it.

The church capture has birthed a state-church. The agenda of the state church is to serve the present administration in the name of serving God. So when rain stands in the way of the manifesto, the church must whip its kin and do something about it - it was hired for such a time as this!

The politician does not pray for rain simply for people to find food. The prayer for rain serves a larger purpose - securing a re-election. Drought and its hunger consequences have a way of eating away a leader's popularity. Rain hedges against the risk of dethronement. The rain-making prayer is also carries a complicated but critical dimension for the church. The ability to end a drought by spiritual invocation paints the potency of the church in bold letters. It affirms the church as a custodian of raw divine power. This potency earns the church not only respect but reverence. These who can make rain fall can make curses fall too!

The opposite cuts equally sharply in that if the church does not produce rain, its value is silently relegated. Coming from a place of dramatic bible accounts, what would impress the politician is a demonstration of power. Raw power not rhetoric. No drama no honor. No miracle no mike. No manifestation no diarisation. Inability to conjure the benevolent forces for the political administration at its time of great need brands you as a stranger in the divine realms. Unless you do something impressive soon, your relegation journey has began. Your stick has been swallowed easily by the snakes of pharaoh! With your stick gone, what will you strike the waters of the Red Sea with? You have failed the potency test.

Such a public and televised prayer meeting is not the place you ask people to tell their neighbours "God has done it!" while they are still holding on to their heat-shielding umbrellas at the end of rain-seeking meeting. There is some form of unexpressed disappointment when God chooses to answer the prayer on another day.

If rain had fallen on the same day in the stadium, city and throughout the country, the state church would have earned a permanent chair closer to the top power.

Negative power test

They would be rewarded and given another rain-needing assignment. But with no rain falling on the material day of prayer, a crisis of authenticity besets. The power test turned negative. The rain did not come down the church on a leash let the president down. Self doubt eats into the fabric of the state church. They set a high expectation but there was no manifestation. Shaken confidence makes the church vulnerable. It looks for explanations to tell to the king and his men as possible reasons why the rain did not fall.

The priest-politician relationship has its Delilah-like moments where the church dangerously exposes itself. The politician gets to know the centre of the church and can use that knowledge to their advantage. The closer the priest and politician are as a dancing pair, the more vulnerable the church becomes. With a tightening embrace, the church runs out of breath and begins to make strange utterances in the form of incoherent theology. Having squeezed out its juice, the politician ditches the church. That is how the church dances its way to irrelevance and ineffectiveness. From the look of things, by the time this government is done, the reputation of the church will be undone.