When one faces difficult situations, they may think of several possible solutions to address their challenges. For most of us one of the ways that comes to mind is prayer. We think of seeking the Higher Power, God, Infinite Intelligence and in my native language Shona “Musikavanhu” which means “The Creator of mankind”. There are several reasons why we turn this direction, the most dominant of these reasons being; from as early as we can remember we were taught that there is a Higher Power. The Higher Power watches over us, guides us and knows us better than we know ourselves. We were taught that this Force is omnipotent, omnipresent and is resident far up beyond the sky. He is merciful and benevolent but should we step out of line he will punish us and should we die in our sin, we will be damned to the fiery pits of Hell. Most of us have held these beliefs all of our lives unerringly never daring to question them.
The Higher Power or God is a mystery to most, accessible yet inaccessible at the same time. Just when we think we are doing right by him and offer up a prayer asking him to solve a challenge, we find that He doesn’t answer. Confused, angry and desperate we ask ourselves why it is that our prayers are not being answered? We quickly comfort ourselves with a popular saying; “Mhinduro ya Mwari inononoka uye Mwari haabvunzwi” loosley translated this would be: “God’s response to prayer is always delayed and He should never be questioned”. One goes through life with this belief, rejoicing when prayers are answered and then sorely comforting oneself or being comforted by others with this statement. A story is told of a woman somewhere in Africa who went through life in this way for a long time, until she became intimate with the God…
Whilst going through the most difficult phase of her life, she went church hopping. Her then husband was truly seeking God and solutions to the challenges that they were facing. She fasted for 15 days, undertook all night prayers with a two week old baby and fervent prayers were sent up to God, yet no relief nor solution was in sight. It became a desperate cycle of unanswered prayer then ensuing disappointment, a dark tunnel without an end nor light in sight. As the days dragged on, she started to question the religious traditions she’d grown up believing, the words she was often told that were supposed to bring her comfort but seldom did; “God’s response to prayer is always delayed and He should never be questioned”. The very people that were said to be leaders of religion could not offer any answers nor real solace! All this brought her to a place where it was just God and her.
She offered up the most truthful and important prayer she ever made in her life: “God, I know you are there, I believe in your presence and I have oftentimes seen you work in my life and in the lives of my loved ones. At this point I will be truthful with you, I am casting away everything that I have known all my life and replacing it with open and honest conversations with you. From now onward, I will question you directly when I do not understand what is happening and I will express my anger freely no holds barred. I will imagine that you are here on earth around me and not way up in the lofty heights of the heavens where in my mind’s eye I see a huge throne and a huge God who is inaccessible and quietly watches us suffer without offering any relief. I will now relate with you. If my actions are wrong you will speak directly to me and not through anyone else. No longer will I rely on anyone to interpret the relationship between us, Amen”.
Day by day, she communed with God and she imagined him in a way that her mind could process and understand. She was always truthful, honest and straight with him about her viewpoint and feelings even at the worst of times! The strangest and most unexpected thing began to happen, she started to feel peace which quite startled her. All this time, her expectation was that of fire descending violently from the heavens to consume her for being unorthodox. Conversations with him became less obligatory (“you must pray every morning, afternoon and evening”) and more interesting and expressive. As the days rolled by she moved from the feeling of peace to actually beginning to recognise Him when He spoke to her. She mostly recognised him through impressions she felt and when she felt those impressions she would immediately ACT on the instruction she was receiving… the results were astounding. As she acted on the impressions and her relationship with God grew deeper, she learnt to trust him even in bad times, he was after all her friend and she called him “The Love of my life.” She was discovering for herself that He was indeed truly omnipresent.
God does speak… to hear him clearly, one MUST have a relationship with him; one based on honesty and truthfulness. It is exactly the same way that human relations work, were there is honesty, there is a better chance of a deepened and close relationship. With Infinite Intelligence, one must be honest even about their weaknesses and how they can’t help but give in to those weaknesses! It is in being truly and unashamedly honest that one begins to receive help and hear from “Musikavanhu”. This is not for a particular religion or sect but is open to every human being no matter their race, religion or creed! So go ahead, openly tell your God that weakness that you are struggling with or those bad thoughts that you wish you didn’t have! When you begin to be honest with him, ‘naked’ before him he sure will meet with and commune with you.