Lent: Akinadewo, Badejo, others say God ready to heal Nigeria

That the yearly Lenten period “started on Wednesday” (February 22), a few days to Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections (February 25), is an indication that God Has begun the process of healing Nigeria.

Nigerians have also been told to emulate the life of Jesus Christ – purity, patriotism, sacrifice and selfless service to humanity – while voting on Saturday.

The Chairman, Board of Trustees of Motailatu Church of God (MCG), Senior Superintendent Gabriel F. Akinadewo (Omo Jesu II), said these on Wednesday at a special Lenten/Ash Wednesday/Anointing service at Restoration Parish of the church in Akute, Ogun State.

Ash Wednesday – the beginning of Lent and a season of fasting and prayer – is one of the most popular and important holy days in the liturgical calendar.

Ash Wednesday takes place 46 days before Easter Sunday.

Quoting from II Chronicles 7: 14, Akinadewo admonished Nigerians to seek God’s face “as we start the Lenten period and prepare for the general elections”.

“It is obvious that a few things are wrong in Nigeria and God will only heal this country if we humble ourselves, pray and turn from wicked ways”.

Akinadewo declared that Nigerians can use the Lenten period and elections on February 25 and March 11 to restore Nigeria to its rightful place in the comity of nations.

“It is not a coincidence that these two important dates – February 25 and March 11 – fall within the Lenten period. God is telling us that better days are ahead if we do the right thing. We must not only vote but vote right.

“Remember that God used Jehu to destroy prophets of baal. Also to fix Nigeria, God is ready to use you and I. To destroy prophets of baal tormenting Nigeria, go out and vote on February 25 and March 11”.

Akinadewo also urged Christians to use the Lenten season to intensify prayers, abstain from sin, fast, give alms, reflect on their lives and make necessary amends with God.

“We must pray to God for Nigeria to overcome the security challenges being experienced in some parts of the federation.

” We should also be Masterbuilders and not destroyers of the work of God”.

Speaking on Paul Apostle’s letter to Corinthians, he urged Christians to emulate the admonition of Paul who decried the attempt to cause division in the Church.

Declaring that all Christians “have one role or the other to play during this Lenten season to promote the work of God”, he urged them not to do anything that will incur the wrath of God.

“Paul declared that ‘I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase’. I urge Christians not to play God but to humble themselves during this season and pray for peace.

“The foundation for Christianity has been laid. Jesus Christ came into the world specifically for this and he sacrificed everything for our future. All Christians must be Masterbuilders by spreading the Gospel. It is unfortunate that some Christians tend to divide the body of Christ because of selfish interest and this does not only affect the country but Christendom. For Nigeria to receive spiritual, physical and financial healing, Christians must humble themselves, pray, seek the face of God and repent”.

The Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Oyo, Most Rev. Emmanuel Badejo, also urged Christians to desist from all forms of criminality, including selling and buying of votes during the elections.


Badejo gave the advice in his Lent message titled ‘Nigerians knocking on Heaven’s Door’, made available on Wednesday in Ibadan.


He stressed that the three pillars of Lent which were prayer, fasting and alms-giving must go together, adding that praying and fasting without good works amounted to hollow religion.


“In the election period, Christians must resist selling and buying of votes, lying, thuggery and all criminality,” he said.


According to him, lent is a 40-day season of great hope for Christians, leading up to Easter; it calls for repentance, mobilisation of all human, material, and spiritual resources to attract God’s mercy and favour on our personal lives and that of our country.


“This is important for long-suffering, especially as Nigerians elect new leaders to lead us into the future.


“By the ashes received on Ash Wednesday, we are called to repentance, humility and love. Jesus said: “Repent and believe the good news.”


“The focus of Christians, observing prayer and fasting, is to get close to God in love, holiness, and good works for we cannot claim to be Christians without bearing fruits of good works, for faith without works is dead (Jam. 2:20),” he said.


The Catholic Bishop emphasised that doing good works meant  living a truthful life by shunning falsehood and deceit.


He added that in Lent, Christians fast not only from food and drink but also from doing evil such as murder, cheating, lying, infidelity, stealing, hoarding, calumny, backbiting and all sorts of wickedness.


“Lent requires humility in recognition that God is supreme and that He will judge everybody.


“Christians’ conduct, during Lent should demonstrate trust in God and his word which says: “If my people who bear my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my presence and turn from their wicked ways, then I will listen from heaven and forgive their sins and restore their country,” (2Chron. 7:14).


“Beyond all human efforts, we must trust God to write even on crooked lines and use anyone,” Badejo said.


Rev. Fr. Godfrey Gopep, the Parish Priest of St Finbarrs’ Catholic Church, Rayfield, Jos, advised Christians and Nigerians in general to shun evil during the lenten season.


Gopep gave the advice in his sermon in commemoration of the 2023 Ash Wednesday in Jos.

The cleric, who decried the spate of evil acts among Christians, urged them to have the fear of God at all times.


”All of us are deliberately doing evil to hurt others; we stay awake at night to plan evil instead of praying and thinking of positive things.


”So, I urge us all to use this lenten season to shun evil and be good to those who come our way; you should fear God in your thoughts and all your dealings.


”We should also use this holy season to serve God in sincerity and show love by serving the poor.


”By so doing, we will eradicate class of the poor in our society,” he said.


Gopep also advised Christians to be change agents in their families, work places and communities in general.


Rev. Fr. Christian Oji,  Parish Priest of the Holy Family Parish, Ologo, Enugu, urged Nigerians to use the 2023 Ash Wednesday to pray for  peaceful election in the country.


Oji gave the advice on Wednesday in Enugu.


He urged Nigerians to use the period of Lent which began with Ash Wednesday, to pray for peaceful elections in Nigeria and for God to have a place in their hearts.


According to him, it is a period Nigeria should be concerned about the happening in the nation, reconcile with one another, seek for peace, honesty and help the less privilege among them.


“This is a period Nigerians should help the nation to achieve its greatness and purposes,” Oji said.


The cleric described Ash Wednesday as a time Christians all over the world identify themselves with the sufferings of Jesus Christ.


He said the period is solemn whereby all Christians fast and do other things that elevate their faith in Christ by abstinence and almsgiving.


“It is a period of reconciliation with one another and God as well as engage in fast.


“Ash defines that we are nothing but came from dust and dust we shall return, it makes us to understand the nothingness of man and that he cannot exist without the presence of Christ in him,” he said.


He explained that it was a time for Christians to reflect on their lives, what Christ did for mankind which helped them in their spiritual journey.


“It is a period we seek for peace and identify with the cross and a special season for Christians,” he said.


Oji said that the Lenten period for 40 days of Easter preparation, describing the 40 days as a period of retreat.

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