*A key note address presented by Rev. Fr. Dennis John Chukwubuzor Attah, during the national prayer rally* (organized against the massive bloodshed and the incessant attack on the Church in Nigeria and the worldwide persecution of the Church) *held on the 28th day of October, 2018 at St Paul’s parish Nrobo, Catholic Diocese of Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria.*

The holy trinity, God the father, God the son, and God the Holy Spirit, three persons in one God.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria,
The Arch Bishop of Onitsha ecclesiastical province,
The catholic Bishop of Nsukka Diocese,
The dean Adani Deanary,
The Priests and the Religious,
Servants of God at all capacities,
The Triumphant Jesus Adoration Family,
Brethren and children of God.

*THE LIGHT OF GOD*

I am most grateful to God by whose grace we live and operate in the land of the living today. It is by his grace that we are inspired to choose this noblest and most effective approach in confronting the social, economic, and religious problems of our country. To him be all glory, all honor, and all thanks giving now and forever more Amen!
I am also very grateful to all of you that honored this urgent invitation to pray for the Church, our country and for ourselves. I welcome all of you in the name of the One and the Undivided Trinity to Nrobo. This Nrobo is 7the insignificant remote town of Nsukka zone, simply representing the proverbial Nazareth from where no good thing is expected to come, and a town that is known only for the production of Earthenware. Analogous to St Paul’s description of the Human agent of the Gospel as the earthen jar containing the most precious treasure. Nrobo Town the least expected of all towns is by the grace of God today hosting the first Prayer Rally organized to address God on the massive bloodshed in the country and the incessant attack on the Church worldwide. With this Prayer Rally I know that today the light of God has located the people dwelling in darkness (Isaiah 9:2).

*THE SACRIFICES*

Sorry for the stress, sorry for the pains you underwent, sorry for the risks you took plying the rough, lonely and long road that leads to this place.
Please consider all that as part of the sacrifices you make for the survival of the Church globally, for prevention of bloodshed, the security of life and property, and the general wellbeing of the people of Nigeria. These sacrifices of yours cannot be in vain, they shall all be rewarded.

*UNWORTHY INSTRUMENT*

Brethren, the convocation of this prayer rally is a matter of urgency and necessity, because things are rapidly getting out of hands and the situation is fast deteriorating and the faith of people is speedily diminishing and the condition of our people are consistently degenerating.
Being part and parcel of the degenerating society, I personally blame myself for having been waiting for someone else to take the initiative of exploring the spiritual course as far as our national interest is concerned.
Taking into consideration that necessity obeys no rules, I disallowed every consideration from dissuading me, though I am aware that I am not worthy to make this great demand from you, but forced by the situation on the ground, I risked the convocation of this august assembly, powered by the conclusions of Queen Esther that said: ”Then I will Go to the king , even if it is against the law. If I die for this let it be” (Est 4:16). Along the line it dawned on me that to save a burning house a capable hand does not wait for the command of the family-head. Unworthy though I am from every human consideration, but God does not always wait for the best choice of man. Counting on human consideration, the insignificant David did not even qualify to witness the anointing of the king from the house of Jesse nor was he qualified to be enlisted in the army when Goliath was terrorizing the Israelites yet God used him (1Sam16,17). The fact that Daniel was neither a judge nor one of the elders and hence unqualified to participate in the first judgment of Susana did not prevent God from using him to revert the unjust judgment passed against Susana. I am confident that God’s concern in this our present situation may not be the protocols.
Brothers and sisters, our gathering today is neither political, nor economical. We have simply gathered to address God directly and earnestly about our condition in this nation and the experiences of the Church globally. Therefore, our absolute concern should directly be our God and nothing else, neither our problems nor their causes should distract us here.

*OUR APPROACH*

Our approach should therefore be that of:
1 Acknowledgement of God as the Omnipotent: We should develop real faith in God and believe him as capable of handling this case (Jer 32:27).
2 Repentance: We should all repent of all our sins and return to God because that is the requirement for his attention (2Chro 7:14).
3 Forgiveness: As we ask God for forgiveness of our sins we should make up our minds to forgive others and to give up every grudges we have against one another because it is a condition for an answer to our prayers. (Mk 11:25-26).
4 Reconciliation: We should reconcile with one another and forget our differences so that we can form one team capable of making joint demands that heaven may not resist (Mt 18:19).
5 Practical Christian life: We should all resolve to make our Christian life practical. By this, I mean that we should cease to take the short-cut to life or to do the popular things that may be against the commandments of God and the teachings of the Church. We should always be ready to do what God commanded no matter the cost and should always be ready to avoid the contrary. We should be ready to avoid sins to the point of death, loving one another as Christ taught us (Jn 13 :34-35).
Bringing it home, we should be corruption free and determined never to be violent as such is against the will of our Lord and master Jesus Christ.

*THE AUDIENCE*

Brethren I am addressing you as Christians and not as any other people else. I am addressing you as Gods own people, the Chosen race. I am addressing you as the suffering people, the people being persecuted for the sake of the kingdom. The Christians are the people whose rights are being denied, whose churches are being destroyed, the people whose farm products are being damaged, the people whose home lands are being taken over forcefully by strangers, the people whose blood are being shed directly and indirectly. I will in a special way want to let you know that none of the above experiences of ours is strange, considering what the Lord had already predicted about his followers on earth. I insist that we should accept all these experiences as a purification process and part of our preparation for eternal life. I pray that instead of being weakened by these experiences they may rather encourage and strengthen you to continue in all your Christian virtues, taking into consideration that the Lord may come anytime. Get yourself ready now to proclaim the gospel, because the Lord maintained that the time of persecution should be utilized as a veritable time to witness to him (Lk 21:13).
I insist that none of these experiences should force us to adopt anything that is not in consonance with the gospel of Christ. I am addressing you Christians and I am by no means using this forum to address Buhari or the Fulani Nationality Movement, because I had already addressed them in my previous open letters addressed to them, the titles of which are Gospel to the Government and Repent before it is Too Late respectively. Moreover, they are not really the enemy fighting us; our enemy is rather that primordial enemy of God – the devil.

*OUR WEAPON IS PRAYER*

Given the present situation of things we should invest all our trusts in God and do all our fighting through prayers, leaving everything for God who can perform his surgery without a drop of blood, and who can remove the stockings without touching the legs nor the shoes of the wearer. The Lord has always maintained that the battle is his. Our power is not greater than his and neither is our knowhow better than his. He is not ignorant of the situation of the country, he is completely aware of the condition of the Church and the experiences of the Christians. Our duty should simply be to present our problems and keep looking up to him for solution.

*JESUS’ OWN ATTITUDE*

Our approach to this must be absolutely and purely Christian. It must be completely stripped of the vindictive attitude of the Old Testament Jews and the African Traditional religionists; it should rather be that of the New Testament Christians, colored by Jesus’ own attitude towards all men. His attitude is the attitude that places all interests on how to please the Father, and not on how to respond to the offender. Jesus was fully conscious that God always knows what to do.
Our duty is to present our conditions and to represent the Church before God and not to direct God on what to do. Our problems or the causes of our problems should for no reason be our preoccupation, after all, in all sincerity none of us can really pin down our real enemy because in this our generation the persecution of the Church has become a global issues and not just our national problem.

*GLOBAL CRISIS*

If you think our problems are the Muslims, is the Church of Russia persecuted by the Muslims? If you say it is the Fulanis, do you have them in France? If you say it is Buhari, is he leading the Germans? These three sets and others are not our real enemy; they can at most be used by our enemy. In reality, even if you should destroy them you have not handled your enemy.
If you kill your fellow human being used by your real enemy the devil, you have just promoted his course because he is the author of violence and he glories in bloodshed. When you imitate him or his followers in hating people and destroying lives, by implications he has made you his disciple. At the end of the day you find yourself having deviated from the directions given by the Lord who insists: “Vengeance is mine”.

*ATTITUDE OF PRAYER*

Our attitude like that of St Joseph should be that of prayer.
Herod out of sheer jealousy rose to destroy the only child Joseph had but despite his position and influence could not, simply because Joseph was a man of prayer.
In dream an Angel of God directed Joseph to escape to Egypt with his only son and the mother for safety. Joseph had this rear privilege because he was under prayerful mode, if not how could he be guided by a Holy Angel of the Holy God. How many people that sleep under the influence of drugs or alcohol ever had such opportunity. Could the Angel of God visit a man in the house of iniquity?
If we really develop an attitude of prayer, it will graciously enhance our relationship with God and he will always be present in our situations. With God present in our lives we can never be at loss of what to do, no matter the circumstances.

*BE FOCUSED*

The Priests, the Teachers of the Law, and the Pharisees persistently wanted to destroy Jesus but they could not, simply because Jesus maintained his focus on his mission. He never allowed them to divert his attention from the will of the Father who sent him. Jesus did not allow their jealousy to get to his nerves because he constantly soaked himself in the affairs of God’s kingdom.
Even when Judas was caught in the webs of the enemies of Jesus, it never affected his attitude to anybody. Even his attitude to Judas himself was not affected because his feet were also washed along with that of the other apostles. They were hostile to Jesus but he was never hostile in return, not even to those that came to arrest him or to those that crucified him. Jesus’ language ever remained that of peace and love. We should for no reason deviate from the instructions of the master who insists: “Turn the other chick”. Remember he promised to be with us always (Mt 28:20) and again whatever touches us touches the apple of his eye (Zech 2:8).

*STAND FIRM*

Proliferation of churches is one of the deadliest weapons the devil has used against the Church but she has prayerfully and consistently maintained a sincere fidelity to her vocation, by which her authenticity and supremacy as the only Church founded by the Lord himself with all the Powers and potentialities vested on her, is proved.
Through the operations of some of the so called churches one has proofs that they are inspired by devil simply to distract the Saints. Some are out for money making, some seek only but Powers, some are just out to attack and criticize the work of others. Some are so canal that they hardly spay a thought for the fate of man beyond the earthly existence.
Despite all these, the Church is still waxing strong because she never allowed anything to force her out of her holy position. Amidst all these the Church is committed to her mission for the well-being of man; body and soul. Even at this bad time, if we should maintain a firm grip onto God’s demands of us, certainly our help must come from the Lord who made the heaven and the earth (Ps 121:1).

*NEO PAGANISM*

In our own part of the world, the progress made by the Church is greeted by the upsurge of movements that are contrasted with the life of the Church. These movements are made to counter the achievements of the Church. One can simply call these movements NEO PAGANISM. This Neo Paganism takes several forms, one of which is syncretism, and it has gained a comfortable ground, into the Church, moving closely with the popular INCULTURATION.
It may take the form of syncretism (mixture of Christian and pagan practices), or outright revival of pagan religion and pagan religious cults. Others are the uprising of Money Ritual Cults, the uprising of mafia groups in the forms of School Cults. This neo paganism by extension gave rise to the anti clericalism.
The outburst of anti clericalism has many facets: Robbery of priests, seduction of priests, cheating and betrayal of priests, false accusations of priests and the assassination of priests. However, in spite of all these things the Church is marching on.

*THE ANCIENT DRAGON*

The ancient dragon stood against Mary and against the child she was about to deliver, ready to kill and destroy but in vain. The ancient dragon failed because Mary turned to God. She neither relied on herself nor did she resort to human assistance. She beckoned on God who took the child to a safe place and at the end of the day gave her the wings like that of an eagle, with which she escaped from the dragon (Rev 12:3-6,13-17).
What could be more dangerous than the dragon? And worst still confronting a lady under labor pain, but he never prevailed because Mary called on God. The Church stands helpless and voiceless, no money, no weapon, no connections, yet our enemy cannot prevail. In so far as we maintain God as our refuge and our fortress, our enemy must always lose at the end. Though sometimes the end may not come as quickly as we may want, but at its time, it will always announce the vindication of the just and the triumph of truth (Hab 2:2-4).

*BELIEVE IN GOD*

At the worst situation King Jehoshaphat exclaimed: “believe God and you will be established, believe the prophet of God and you will prosper” (2Chr 20:20). Then the number of the enemies of the people of God may not be less than ours today and the determination of their enemies to uproot them may not be better than ours today, but with confidence in God the king and the people of Judah and Jerusalem called on God who never fails. They embarked on prayers that turned the story around, caused their enemies to fight one another and turned the provisions of the people of Edom, Moab and the people of Mount Sire into booty for the people of Israel. Jehoshaphat, the leader of the people disposed and encouraged them to pray. He was a man of faith. He went beyond complaint; he engaged himself and the entire people in prayers that reshaped their destiny.

*DEMONSTRATION AND PRAYER*

Thanks to the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria that authorized and demanded of the Christians a peaceful demonstration against the bloodshed in this country. However, looking at the consistent deterioration of the people’s condition in this nation, there is need for something much more than demonstration. Demonstration for me serves as the announcement, while prayer should be the action. The bad condition of the country is being mentioned in the churches every time, but the situation calls for something more than just that. I expect other Church leaders and leadership bodies to join hands in doing something positive and proactive (prayers being the most important of all), for the life of the Church in this country.
The usual things we do always continue until something unusual happens. When an unusual thing happens, immediately we react in an unusual manner. For instance, when we experience an ordinary hunger, yam, cassava, maize, wheat, Plantain can serve us, but whenever we fall sick, we immediately go for herbs or to the hospital. The condition of the church in Nigeria is not better than that of a critically sick person and it calls for something more than our routine prayers.

*THE LEADER*

Unfortunately many of those who should lead this operation are too comfortable or too gullible to notice something wrong. 98% of the so-called Christian politicians are busy buying and selling themselves for money and things are consistently getting out of hands. Many of them have no opinion of theirs, they are always looking up to one or the other money bag roasting the Christians on fire to tell them what to say, how to say it and when to say it. Even those that find themselves in the government yet look up to the enemies of the Church to direct them on how they should use the rare opportunities they have.
Unfortunately, those who should have been God’s instrument to salvage the situation of the Church in this country (Christian politicians) are too busy with their own selfish interest and are too comfortable to feel the pinch. The spiritual leaders are also not very ready for the needed sacrifices. Unfortunately, these people who could not or would not lead this operation may not be comfortable to see others lead the people out of this mess.

*GOD’S PLAN*

Jealousy within the church is one of the weapons the enemy is using against the Church. Out of shear jealousy, many of the people that would have been useful to the Church under her present condition are already dumped, jettisoned, stigmatized or abused out of service or are just exposed to the devil that eventually took them over. In the Church today, the gifted people are in trouble. Many fellow Christians are more interested in their downfall than in their success, as a result, any mistake they make are considered malicious and evil. Their mistakes are over emphasized and are over stretched, and for the slightest reason the gifted people are condemned and punished.
It is true that there are several abuses from the so called gifted members of the Church, but we should not lose sight of the fact that the several gifts God had given to the members of the Church are not by accident but are his own plan for the good of his people. We should note that abuse does not prevent use, and on the other way round we should also acknowledge that use cannot by any means justify abuse.
Many gifted people in the church are already bruised, wounded, injured, maimed or intimidated to submission. Unfortunately, those who forced these people to surrender neither received the same gift nor use the same to edify the Church. Brethren, it is interesting to note that each and every one of us believes that his own gifts really distinguishes him from the rest of men, hence we treasure and nature them, but it is unfortunate that some of us would not admit that other people’s gifts could distinguish them as well.
It is true that everybody is gifted in one way or the other, but it should also be noted that we are not equally gifted and when we acknowledge this fact and put it into practice, it will move the Church faster and serve her better. We should then see it as a duty to assist our gifted brethren to use their gifted to edify the Church.

*RELY ON GOD*

In so far as we retains our problem as our focal point it persists, but when we remember that our help comes from the Lord who has what it takes to handle every case our problem disappears (Ps 121:1).
As far as the Jews cried at the bank of the red sea, God never manifested his omnipotence, but when Moses advised them not to focus on the situation but on the Lord, who can do all things, God spoke and a solution emerged (Ex 14: 10-25).
The multitude that rose against the people of Judah and Jerusalem occupied the minds of the king Jehoshaphat and the people and fear took over the atmosphere, but when the prophet of God called their attention to the omnipotent God who does not decide battles according to weapons nor according to the number of fighting men, they developed faith in him and started praising him. He confused the three nations that rose against the children of Jacob and they started fighting one another and when they had completely destroyed themselves, the Israelites went only to take the booty.
In the time of Ester and Modecai, it was the three day prayer of the children of Israel that averted the evil plans of Haman the enemy of the Jews because instead of talking about the wickedness of Haman they chose to talk to God. (Est 3,4,6,7).
During the reign of Hezekiah, Sennacherib of Assyria was bent on destroying Jerusalem, but the prayer King Hezekiah said in the temple turned everything to the advantage of the people of God (Isaiah 37).
The earnest prayer of the Church for the imprisoned Peter forced loose his chains and forced open the prison doors because the Church was wise to focus on God and not on the evils of her enemies (Act 12: 1-11).
Even now that ancient God will respond to his people as we cry to him for our situation, He will certainly prove that the ANCIENT GOD IS THE PRESENT GOD.

*STOP DEPENDING ON FLESH*

Forget about the Igbo man’s prowess, don’t count on USA, UN, or OAU, and don’t think of Nnamdi Kanu or Uwazuruike. Forget about Peter Obi. Stop the useless analysis between Buhari and Atiku. Don’t think about the false promises of Nigerian politicians. Our help could only come from the Lord, because any other is insufficient, unreliable and incapable of sustaining us.
Remember, those who depend on flesh are doomed because of the inevitable disappointment (Isaiah 31:1-3, Jer17:5-6). Every other ground is slippery apart from the eternal rock Jesus Christ.

*CONCLUSION*

Brethren, we should see today’s gathering as the starting point and in the spirit of the persistent Jacob we will never allow the Lord to rest until our deliverance shines forth like lamp in the night (Gen 32:26, Isaiah 62:1-3). Taking into consideration the fact that, THE GATE OF HELL SHALL NEVER PREVAIL OVER THE CHUCH OF CHRIST, we should be confident that the Church will survive.
Let us all have our eyes and ears open to any other place for this same noble cause. Please whenever we are invited by anybody for this same reason let us respond with utmost urgency. Dear friends, as we look forward to an invitation from any other place or places, our next Prayer Rally here will be Saturday the 24th of November 2018.
May the Good Lord who brought you safely to this place return you in peace and may the reward of your sacrifices for the cause of the Church of Christ expand your glorious territory and get you prepared to meet the Lord.

*FR DENIS JOHN CHUKWUBUZOR ATTAH.*
*Catholic Diocese of Nsukka (Living for Truth).**THE GATE OF HELL SHALL NEVER PREVAIL*

*A key note address presented by Rev. Fr. Dennis John Chukwubuzor Attah, during the national prayer rally* (organized against the massive bloodshed and the incessant attack on the Church in Nigeria and the worldwide persecution of the Church) *held on the 28th day of October, 2018 at St Paul’s parish Nrobo, Catholic Diocese of Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria.*

The holy trinity, God the father, God the son, and God the Holy Spirit, three persons in one God.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria,
The Arch Bishop of Onitsha ecclesiastical province,
The catholic Bishop of Nsukka Diocese,
The dean Adani Deanary,
The Priests and the Religious,
Servants of God at all capacities,
The Triumphant Jesus Adoration Family,
Brethren and children of God.

*THE LIGHT OF GOD*

I am most grateful to God by whose grace we live and operate in the land of the living today. It is by his grace that we are inspired to choose this noblest and most effective approach in confronting the social, economic, and religious problems of our country. To him be all glory, all honor, and all thanks giving now and forever more Amen!
I am also very grateful to all of you that honored this urgent invitation to pray for the Church, our country and for ourselves. I welcome all of you in the name of the One and the Undivided Trinity to Nrobo. This Nrobo is 7the insignificant remote town of Nsukka zone, simply representing the proverbial Nazareth from where no good thing is expected to come, and a town that is known only for the production of Earthenware. Analogous to St Paul’s description of the Human agent of the Gospel as the earthen jar containing the most precious treasure. Nrobo Town the least expected of all towns is by the grace of God today hosting the first Prayer Rally organized to address God on the massive bloodshed in the country and the incessant attack on the Church worldwide. With this Prayer Rally I know that today the light of God has located the people dwelling in darkness (Isaiah 9:2).

*THE SACRIFICES*

Sorry for the stress, sorry for the pains you underwent, sorry for the risks you took plying the rough, lonely and long road that leads to this place.
Please consider all that as part of the sacrifices you make for the survival of the Church globally, for prevention of bloodshed, the security of life and property, and the general wellbeing of the people of Nigeria. These sacrifices of yours cannot be in vain, they shall all be rewarded.

*UNWORTHY INSTRUMENT*

Brethren, the convocation of this prayer rally is a matter of urgency and necessity, because things are rapidly getting out of hands and the situation is fast deteriorating and the faith of people is speedily diminishing and the condition of our people are consistently degenerating.
Being part and parcel of the degenerating society, I personally blame myself for having been waiting for someone else to take the initiative of exploring the spiritual course as far as our national interest is concerned.
Taking into consideration that necessity obeys no rules, I disallowed every consideration from dissuading me, though I am aware that I am not worthy to make this great demand from you, but forced by the situation on the ground, I risked the convocation of this august assembly, powered by the conclusions of Queen Esther that said: ”Then I will Go to the king , even if it is against the law. If I die for this let it be” (Est 4:16). Along the line it dawned on me that to save a burning house a capable hand does not wait for the command of the family-head. Unworthy though I am from every human consideration, but God does not always wait for the best choice of man. Counting on human consideration, the insignificant David did not even qualify to witness the anointing of the king from the house of Jesse nor was he qualified to be enlisted in the army when Goliath was terrorizing the Israelites yet God used him (1Sam16,17). The fact that Daniel was neither a judge nor one of the elders and hence unqualified to participate in the first judgment of Susana did not prevent God from using him to revert the unjust judgment passed against Susana. I am confident that God’s concern in this our present situation may not be the protocols.
Brothers and sisters, our gathering today is neither political, nor economical. We have simply gathered to address God directly and earnestly about our condition in this nation and the experiences of the Church globally. Therefore, our absolute concern should directly be our God and nothing else, neither our problems nor their causes should distract us here.

*OUR APPROACH*

Our approach should therefore be that of:
1 Acknowledgement of God as the Omnipotent: We should develop real faith in God and believe him as capable of handling this case (Jer 32:27).
2 Repentance: We should all repent of all our sins and return to God because that is the requirement for his attention (2Chro 7:14).
3 Forgiveness: As we ask God for forgiveness of our sins we should make up our minds to forgive others and to give up every grudges we have against one another because it is a condition for an answer to our prayers. (Mk 11:25-26).
4 Reconciliation: We should reconcile with one another and forget our differences so that we can form one team capable of making joint demands that heaven may not resist (Mt 18:19).
5 Practical Christian life: We should all resolve to make our Christian life practical. By this, I mean that we should cease to take the short-cut to life or to do the popular things that may be against the commandments of God and the teachings of the Church. We should always be ready to do what God commanded no matter the cost and should always be ready to avoid the contrary. We should be ready to avoid sins to the point of death, loving one another as Christ taught us (Jn 13 :34-35).
Bringing it home, we should be corruption free and determined never to be violent as such is against the will of our Lord and master Jesus Christ.

*THE AUDIENCE*

Brethren I am addressing you as Christians and not as any other people else. I am addressing you as Gods own people, the Chosen race. I am addressing you as the suffering people, the people being persecuted for the sake of the kingdom. The Christians are the people whose rights are being denied, whose churches are being destroyed, the people whose farm products are being damaged, the people whose home lands are being taken over forcefully by strangers, the people whose blood are being shed directly and indirectly. I will in a special way want to let you know that none of the above experiences of ours is strange, considering what the Lord had already predicted about his followers on earth. I insist that we should accept all these experiences as a purification process and part of our preparation for eternal life. I pray that instead of being weakened by these experiences they may rather encourage and strengthen you to continue in all your Christian virtues, taking into consideration that the Lord may come anytime. Get yourself ready now to proclaim the gospel, because the Lord maintained that the time of persecution should be utilized as a veritable time to witness to him (Lk 21:13).
I insist that none of these experiences should force us to adopt anything that is not in consonance with the gospel of Christ. I am addressing you Christians and I am by no means using this forum to address Buhari or the Fulani Nationality Movement, because I had already addressed them in my previous open letters addressed to them, the titles of which are Gospel to the Government and Repent before it is Too Late respectively. Moreover, they are not really the enemy fighting us; our enemy is rather that primordial enemy of God – the devil.

*OUR WEAPON IS PRAYER*

Given the present situation of things we should invest all our trusts in God and do all our fighting through prayers, leaving everything for God who can perform his surgery without a drop of blood, and who can remove the stockings without touching the legs nor the shoes of the wearer. The Lord has always maintained that the battle is his. Our power is not greater than his and neither is our knowhow better than his. He is not ignorant of the situation of the country, he is completely aware of the condition of the Church and the experiences of the Christians. Our duty should simply be to present our problems and keep looking up to him for solution.

*JESUS’ OWN ATTITUDE*

Our approach to this must be absolutely and purely Christian. It must be completely stripped of the vindictive attitude of the Old Testament Jews and the African Traditional religionists; it should rather be that of the New Testament Christians, colored by Jesus’ own attitude towards all men. His attitude is the attitude that places all interests on how to please the Father, and not on how to respond to the offender. Jesus was fully conscious that God always knows what to do.
Our duty is to present our conditions and to represent the Church before God and not to direct God on what to do. Our problems or the causes of our problems should for no reason be our preoccupation, after all, in all sincerity none of us can really pin down our real enemy because in this our generation the persecution of the Church has become a global issues and not just our national problem.

*GLOBAL CRISIS*

If you think our problems are the Muslims, is the Church of Russia persecuted by the Muslims? If you say it is the Fulanis, do you have them in France? If you say it is Buhari, is he leading the Germans? These three sets and others are not our real enemy; they can at most be used by our enemy. In reality, even if you should destroy them you have not handled your enemy.
If you kill your fellow human being used by your real enemy the devil, you have just promoted his course because he is the author of violence and he glories in bloodshed. When you imitate him or his followers in hating people and destroying lives, by implications he has made you his disciple. At the end of the day you find yourself having deviated from the directions given by the Lord who insists: “Vengeance is mine”.

*ATTITUDE OF PRAYER*

Our attitude like that of St Joseph should be that of prayer.
Herod out of sheer jealousy rose to destroy the only child Joseph had but despite his position and influence could not, simply because Joseph was a man of prayer.
In dream an Angel of God directed Joseph to escape to Egypt with his only son and the mother for safety. Joseph had this rear privilege because he was under prayerful mode, if not how could he be guided by a Holy Angel of the Holy God. How many people that sleep under the influence of drugs or alcohol ever had such opportunity. Could the Angel of God visit a man in the house of iniquity?
If we really develop an attitude of prayer, it will graciously enhance our relationship with God and he will always be present in our situations. With God present in our lives we can never be at loss of what to do, no matter the circumstances.

*BE FOCUSED*

The Priests, the Teachers of the Law, and the Pharisees persistently wanted to destroy Jesus but they could not, simply because Jesus maintained his focus on his mission. He never allowed them to divert his attention from the will of the Father who sent him. Jesus did not allow their jealousy to get to his nerves because he constantly soaked himself in the affairs of God’s kingdom.
Even when Judas was caught in the webs of the enemies of Jesus, it never affected his attitude to anybody. Even his attitude to Judas himself was not affected because his feet were also washed along with that of the other apostles. They were hostile to Jesus but he was never hostile in return, not even to those that came to arrest him or to those that crucified him. Jesus’ language ever remained that of peace and love. We should for no reason deviate from the instructions of the master who insists: “Turn the other chick”. Remember he promised to be with us always (Mt 28:20) and again whatever touches us touches the apple of his eye (Zech 2:8).

*STAND FIRM*

Proliferation of churches is one of the deadliest weapons the devil has used against the Church but she has prayerfully and consistently maintained a sincere fidelity to her vocation, by which her authenticity and supremacy as the only Church founded by the Lord himself with all the Powers and potentialities vested on her, is proved.
Through the operations of some of the so called churches one has proofs that they are inspired by devil simply to distract the Saints. Some are out for money making, some seek only but Powers, some are just out to attack and criticize the work of others. Some are so canal that they hardly spay a thought for the fate of man beyond the earthly existence.
Despite all these, the Church is still waxing strong because she never allowed anything to force her out of her holy position. Amidst all these the Church is committed to her mission for the well-being of man; body and soul. Even at this bad time, if we should maintain a firm grip onto God’s demands of us, certainly our help must come from the Lord who made the heaven and the earth (Ps 121:1).

*NEO PAGANISM*

In our own part of the world, the progress made by the Church is greeted by the upsurge of movements that are contrasted with the life of the Church. These movements are made to counter the achievements of the Church. One can simply call these movements NEO PAGANISM. This Neo Paganism takes several forms, one of which is syncretism, and it has gained a comfortable ground, into the Church, moving closely with the popular INCULTURATION.
It may take the form of syncretism (mixture of Christian and pagan practices), or outright revival of pagan religion and pagan religious cults. Others are the uprising of Money Ritual Cults, the uprising of mafia groups in the forms of School Cults. This neo paganism by extension gave rise to the anti clericalism.
The outburst of anti clericalism has many facets: Robbery of priests, seduction of priests, cheating and betrayal of priests, false accusations of priests and the assassination of priests. However, in spite of all these things the Church is marching on.

*THE ANCIENT DRAGON*

The ancient dragon stood against Mary and against the child she was about to deliver, ready to kill and destroy but in vain. The ancient dragon failed because Mary turned to God. She neither relied on herself nor did she resort to human assistance. She beckoned on God who took the child to a safe place and at the end of the day gave her the wings like that of an eagle, with which she escaped from the dragon (Rev 12:3-6,13-17).
What could be more dangerous than the dragon? And worst still confronting a lady under labor pain, but he never prevailed because Mary called on God. The Church stands helpless and voiceless, no money, no weapon, no connections, yet our enemy cannot prevail. In so far as we maintain God as our refuge and our fortress, our enemy must always lose at the end. Though sometimes the end may not come as quickly as we may want, but at its time, it will always announce the vindication of the just and the triumph of truth (Hab 2:2-4).

*BELIEVE IN GOD*

At the worst situation King Jehoshaphat exclaimed: “believe God and you will be established, believe the prophet of God and you will prosper” (2Chr 20:20). Then the number of the enemies of the people of God may not be less than ours today and the determination of their enemies to uproot them may not be better than ours today, but with confidence in God the king and the people of Judah and Jerusalem called on God who never fails. They embarked on prayers that turned the story around, caused their enemies to fight one another and turned the provisions of the people of Edom, Moab and the people of Mount Sire into booty for the people of Israel. Jehoshaphat, the leader of the people disposed and encouraged them to pray. He was a man of faith. He went beyond complaint; he engaged himself and the entire people in prayers that reshaped their destiny.

*DEMONSTRATION AND PRAYER*

Thanks to the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria that authorized and demanded of the Christians a peaceful demonstration against the bloodshed in this country. However, looking at the consistent deterioration of the people’s condition in this nation, there is need for something much more than demonstration. Demonstration for me serves as the announcement, while prayer should be the action. The bad condition of the country is being mentioned in the churches every time, but the situation calls for something more than just that. I expect other Church leaders and leadership bodies to join hands in doing something positive and proactive (prayers being the most important of all), for the life of the Church in this country.
The usual things we do always continue until something unusual happens. When an unusual thing happens, immediately we react in an unusual manner. For instance, when we experience an ordinary hunger, yam, cassava, maize, wheat, Plantain can serve us, but whenever we fall sick, we immediately go for herbs or to the hospital. The condition of the church in Nigeria is not better than that of a critically sick person and it calls for something more than our routine prayers.

*THE LEADER*

Unfortunately many of those who should lead this operation are too comfortable or too gullible to notice something wrong. 98% of the so-called Christian politicians are busy buying and selling themselves for money and things are consistently getting out of hands. Many of them have no opinion of theirs, they are always looking up to one or the other money bag roasting the Christians on fire to tell them what to say, how to say it and when to say it. Even those that find themselves in the government yet look up to the enemies of the Church to direct them on how they should use the rare opportunities they have.
Unfortunately, those who should have been God’s instrument to salvage the situation of the Church in this country (Christian politicians) are too busy with their own selfish interest and are too comfortable to feel the pinch. The spiritual leaders are also not very ready for the needed sacrifices. Unfortunately, these people who could not or would not lead this operation may not be comfortable to see others lead the people out of this mess.

*GOD’S PLAN*

Jealousy within the church is one of the weapons the enemy is using against the Church. Out of shear jealousy, many of the people that would have been useful to the Church under her present condition are already dumped, jettisoned, stigmatized or abused out of service or are just exposed to the devil that eventually took them over. In the Church today, the gifted people are in trouble. Many fellow Christians are more interested in their downfall than in their success, as a result, any mistake they make are considered malicious and evil. Their mistakes are over emphasized and are over stretched, and for the slightest reason the gifted people are condemned and punished.
It is true that there are several abuses from the so called gifted members of the Church, but we should not lose sight of the fact that the several gifts God had given to the members of the Church are not by accident but are his own plan for the good of his people. We should note that abuse does not prevent use, and on the other way round we should also acknowledge that use cannot by any means justify abuse.
Many gifted people in the church are already bruised, wounded, injured, maimed or intimidated to submission. Unfortunately, those who forced these people to surrender neither received the same gift nor use the same to edify the Church. Brethren, it is interesting to note that each and every one of us believes that his own gifts really distinguishes him from the rest of men, hence we treasure and nature them, but it is unfortunate that some of us would not admit that other people’s gifts could distinguish them as well.
It is true that everybody is gifted in one way or the other, but it should also be noted that we are not equally gifted and when we acknowledge this fact and put it into practice, it will move the Church faster and serve her better. We should then see it as a duty to assist our gifted brethren to use their gifted to edify the Church.

*RELY ON GOD*

In so far as we retains our problem as our focal point it persists, but when we remember that our help comes from the Lord who has what it takes to handle every case our problem disappears (Ps 121:1).
As far as the Jews cried at the bank of the red sea, God never manifested his omnipotence, but when Moses advised them not to focus on the situation but on the Lord, who can do all things, God spoke and a solution emerged (Ex 14: 10-25).
The multitude that rose against the people of Judah and Jerusalem occupied the minds of the king Jehoshaphat and the people and fear took over the atmosphere, but when the prophet of God called their attention to the omnipotent God who does not decide battles according to weapons nor according to the number of fighting men, they developed faith in him and started praising him. He confused the three nations that rose against the children of Jacob and they started fighting one another and when they had completely destroyed themselves, the Israelites went only to take the booty.
In the time of Ester and Modecai, it was the three day prayer of the children of Israel that averted the evil plans of Haman the enemy of the Jews because instead of talking about the wickedness of Haman they chose to talk to God. (Est 3,4,6,7).
During the reign of Hezekiah, Sennacherib of Assyria was bent on destroying Jerusalem, but the prayer King Hezekiah said in the temple turned everything to the advantage of the people of God (Isaiah 37).
The earnest prayer of the Church for the imprisoned Peter forced loose his chains and forced open the prison doors because the Church was wise to focus on God and not on the evils of her enemies (Act 12: 1-11).
Even now that ancient God will respond to his people as we cry to him for our situation, He will certainly prove that the ANCIENT GOD IS THE PRESENT GOD.

*STOP DEPENDING ON FLESH*

Forget about the Igbo man’s prowess, don’t count on USA, UN, or OAU, and don’t think of Nnamdi Kanu or Uwazuruike. Forget about Peter Obi. Stop the useless analysis between Buhari and Atiku. Don’t think about the false promises of Nigerian politicians. Our help could only come from the Lord, because any other is insufficient, unreliable and incapable of sustaining us.
Remember, those who depend on flesh are doomed because of the inevitable disappointment (Isaiah 31:1-3, Jer17:5-6). Every other ground is slippery apart from the eternal rock Jesus Christ.

*CONCLUSION*

Brethren, we should see today’s gathering as the starting point and in the spirit of the persistent Jacob we will never allow the Lord to rest until our deliverance shines forth like lamp in the night (Gen 32:26, Isaiah 62:1-3). Taking into consideration the fact that, THE GATE OF HELL SHALL NEVER PREVAIL OVER THE CHUCH OF CHRIST, we should be confident that the Church will survive.
Let us all have our eyes and ears open to any other place for this same noble cause. Please whenever we are invited by anybody for this same reason let us respond with utmost urgency. Dear friends, as we look forward to an invitation from any other place or places, our next Prayer Rally here will be Saturday the 24th of November 2018.
May the Good Lord who brought you safely to this place return you in peace and may the reward of your sacrifices for the cause of the Church of Christ expand your glorious territory and get you prepared to meet the Lord.

*FR DENIS JOHN CHUKWUBUZOR ATTAH.*
*Catholic Diocese of Nsukka (Living for Truth).*

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