Why I keep on praying

Nyangwe zviome seyi (though things are tough)

Zirwadze seyi (though it is painful)

Ndichanamata (I shall pray)

These are part of lyrics from a song sung at today’s service. It still rings in my mind hours later because the lead singer sung it with such poignant conviction that I allowed my mind to wander past the service into the surreal world of spiritual battles.

In this world that I withdrew into I pondered what would drive a person to declare that however hard and however painful it is, their default would be to pray. I pictured a person who has run out of solutions, endured all pain, lost all social currency and is seen as irredeemable. Until they pray.

I pictured a person so hurt that no human salve or balm could help, so downcast that no cheer would lift their spirits. I pictured a downcast person so lost such that the only outlet is to pray and plant both feet firmly on the faith centred on a God who does not shy away from handling soiled hands and muddy feet.

I identified with these lyrics because in my life I have come to learn that almost all that I am would have come to a terminal end if no one had prayed. I identify with miracles that jolted me forward when I was supposed to sink into mud. All because someone prayed.

I have been in a luxury bus that is more fibre and glass than metal. In the same bus my life froze as the bus hit a broken down truck over hill, swung to the right only to be hit and turned 180degrees by another truck coming from the opposite direction !! In between the impacts I was thrown out of the bus, missed being crushed as it toppled on its side and woke up thirty minutes late to find myself coiled in a foetal position in the middle of the road one metre away from the upturned bus I had been in, mumbling an incoherent prayer.

I have faced the terror that flies by night. That surreal terror that pins you to the bed and moves forward to strangle you and you cannot even scream a word. All that terror cannot do is touch your heart and I have survived many such terrors by starting a prayer in my heart and battling till I wrest my consciousness from the dark grip only to come to full senses, uttering a prayer.

All bridges I have crossed, all battles I have won have a common spiritual currency. Prayer. When I hit rock bottom and scrapped the doldrums of filth, all that I could manage to say was “—– oh my God—,” and apparently that is all God was waiting for to bring in the brigade!!

The sum of it all is that outside prayer all that could be me would a mark at the graveyard. Outside that communion of prayer I have nothing else to explain how I have escaped death, how I have been granted strength to endure, how I have been given so many chances to escape doom and how I continue to be alive.

So, in the face of it all I still identify with the singer,

Nyangwe zviome seyi (though things are tough)

Zirwadze seyi ( though it is painful)

Ndichanamata (I shall pray)


Today I got to home group late. Late enough to almost be assured I was going to be asked to give the closing prayer when I entered. Late enough to walk into a simmering debate with the Pastor trying to quell, calm, rationalize and stabilize faith and emotions. It appears the group had pointed out how difficult it is to forgive when people hurt us. A senior mother remarked to the Pastor how difficult it is to forgive the woman who stole your husband, happiness, love, joy and at times your health.

But the Pastor was adamant that we ought to FORGIVE as the Lord commanded us to. Everyone pitched in with their non forgivable scenarios done to them and the man of God was on the verge of being swamped. When we thought we had won, he raised his head and clearly stated that in as much as we would want to vaunt our bitter nesses and inability to forgive, the onus is on us to proffer the forgiving hand and move on. 30 minutes pat dismissal time it was still difficult.

But something struck me. It is his last sentence before we left for home. He alluded to the fact that to fail to forgive is akin to harboring an acidic bitterness in our hearts and it is difficult for God to pave a way of light through such darkness. It reminded me of the favorite saying that draws parallels to bitterness being similar to drinking poison and expecting someone else to die!

When I got home, his words really struck me and I finally got it. I picked up the phone and dialed a number I had erased in my phones (but from bitterness it still obtained in my mind). I called the number of a person who hurt me so badly that my faith took a detour. I called a person who cost me so much I cannot quantify in all available terms. I called a person whose pain to me made me at one time to believe that God would forgive me if I took a gun and blew their brains out. I called a person who at their best still saw it good to do me irreparable harm.

I called a person who hurt me so badly it still physically hurts today and most likely will do so till I am interred in the ground barring of course, the occurrence of a miracle.

When they answered I only asked for two minutes and explained that I had come to the realization that my being angry with what they did to me was holding me back and festering an inhibiting bitterness. I told them that despite all the pain, the hurt, the harm, the losses, the humiliation etc I WAS FORGIVING THEM AND THEY WERE NOW FREE TO PURSUE THEIR LIVES WITHOUT THE FEAR OF NQOBILE NCUBE LOOMING OVER THEM AND SEEK REVENGE.

I was met with stunned silence. No slur, no insults, no swearing, no hung up phone. Just silence. 30 seconds later all they could say was ‘THANK YOU’.

When I hung up, a burden lifted. Of course I still bear the physical scars but I have dealt with the bitterness shadow and there is space for more light in my heart.

Tomorrow as the sun rises and as you battle shadows and mountains, pause for a moment and check if the mountains hindering you are not out of bitterness and unforgiving pain. If so, one call, one visit, one sms might heave a mountain away for you. It just did for me.