Inter Religious Forum – National Day of Prayer – 8 Feb 08

Inter-Religious Forum Prayer for Kenya
Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Inter-Religious Forum held a national prayer day in Nairobi, Kenya on 8th February. The forum which saw different religious groups converge together also saw President Mwai Kibaki and a section of his cabinet and some members of parliament from both political divide attend. The prayers were meant to seek Gods intervention in the crisis that has rocked the country. The crisis was triggered by the announcement that Kibaki was the winner of the 27th December, 2007 election.

The Inter-Religious Forum is an initiative of many churches, which include Protestant churches, the Catholic, Evangelical churches as well as the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) that brings together different faiths such as Christians, Muslims and Hindus to seek ways of restoring peace and tranquility in Kenya. Its chairman is the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK), the Rt. Rev. Benjamin Nzimbi.

Bishop Dr. Mvume Dandala, the AACC General Secretary, was invited to preach at the event, which was covered live on the national broadcasting television station.

In his sermon, Bishop Dandala said that Kenyans had been robbed of their good relationship with one another and declared that God will heal the land. He said people had to be accountable to God in all that they do. Bishop Dandalas message to the people of Kenya was that God is a God of justice and he alone is able to bring divine justice out of his abundant grace and mercy.

Gods divine justice does not hurt and does not destroy. If we open ourselves to Gods justice, it will heal our land, he said, adding that we have responsibility in the name of God to prepare the people of this land for Gods justice.

Bishop Dandala told the audience that Gods justice calls on all to recognise that we have all sinned and that it is dangerous for anybody to plead his innocence before God who can see all that people cannot see. He said there is no one who is innocent in the Kenyan crisis and cautioned against self justification, reminding people to humble themselves before God like the biblical tax collector did and asked for Gods mercy and forgiveness.

The AACC general secretary warned of the impression created by the people of faith that they were angels and others were devils in the crisis. The worst the people of faith can do is to give the impression that they are angels and others are devils in this crisis, said Bishop Dandala.

He said the people of faith are under obligation to help the nation understand that there is Gods offer of forgiveness and that it is his desire that no one should be victorious over the other but all to have life. To God, he said, there is no tribe, no male and no female.

The event was also marked by four prayer sessions, which included prayers for return to God in repentance, for political leadership, for justice and reconciliation and for reconstruction and restoration.

Different communities were represented by people of faith who interceded and pleaded for Gods forgiveness on their behalf for the wrongs that they committed in the crisis.

President Kibaki acknowledged that prayer is a powerful tool for national reconciliation. He urged all Kenyans to go before God in trust and he will heal the land. He said that all people are one and the same except that they speak different languages, something which is a product of circumstance.

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader, Hon. Raila Odinga was represented at the prayer meeting by Hon Omingo Magara who said in his prayer request that the country was bleeding and required a healing process based on justice and love. He affirmed that ODM was committed to the on-going mediation led by former UN General Secretary, Koffi Annan and members of the eminent persons namely former president of Tanzania, Benjamin Mkapa and former First Lady of South Africa, Graca Machel. Magara petitioned the church to pray for love for one another, saying it was selfishness that had betrayed the country.

A Muslim cleric cautioned that healing would only come about if people prayed from the depth of their hearts and not by mouth. On his part, the general secretary of the National Christian Council of Churches (NCCK), Rev. Canon Peter Karanja boldly told the audience that as leaders of religions, they had taken partisan positions and in the process contributed to the crisis.

The prayer meeting concluded with a joint communiqu, which was signed by the Rt. Rev. Benjamin Nzimbi.





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