Determining who leads a nation will also determine who advises the leader and how the people are guided (Pro 11:14). I welcome you to the 2023 ELECTION PRAYER-RAIN FOR NIGERIA. As we hurtle towards one of the most closely-contested and divisive Presidential elections in memory, our greatest need is unquestionably spiritual; hence, the Word of God commands us to pray for those in leadership, including those vying to become leaders. According to the House of Bishops of the Church of England, ‘the privileges of living in a democracy means that we should use our votes thoughtfully, prayerfully and with the good of others in mind, not just for our interests.’ The bishops’ question on how we can ‘build the kind of society which is not yet being expressed in the vision of any of the parties, calls for an ‘a fresh moral vision of the kind of country we want to be,’, especially among the voters. As we seek and pray for the national common good during and beyond the general election, we need godly leaders to overcome and stop the erosion of our Christian heritage and rebuild our ancient ruins. According to Scripture, “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Prov. 14:34). When we vote for righteousness and reason, more significant than our own self-interest, the selection of God-fearing leaders could get politics and business working and places the common good at the heart of decision making.
Beloved, as you pray through this guide for the election tomorrow, please maximize its usage by sending it widely to your friends and to your Church; pray with others about its content and allow the Holy Spirit to lead you beyond the content of the prayer guide. With one heart, let us come together in prayer for Nigeria. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14. Prayer-rain for Nigeria is a call to the Church to come together with humility in ceaseless prayer for our nation. From the heart of Abuja and Lagos to the farthest reaches of the land, God calls His Church to arise and pray. Therefore, let us humbly and in unity consider the following ways to pray for Nigeria.
1. The Church: God’s purpose for the Church is to make His wisdom known to the world (Eph 3:10). The Church in Nigeria is becoming out of touch and relegated to the sidelines. The Church often feels powerless, wondering what difference we can make. Nationwide transformation depends more on conditions in the Church. The essence of the Church in any nation like ours, shaped by righteousness, prayer, and the power of the Holy Spirit, is to equip and release God’s wisdom into every culture. Let us, therefore, arise and pray that a spirit of repentance and humility will be poured out upon the people of God in Nigeria; that the eyes of the Church in Nigeria will be open to seeing the hope to which we are called (Eph 1:18). Let us ask God to send forth a mighty wave of truth and revival (Is.59:19; Matt 12:29). The strength of a nation lies in the homes of its people. Let us pray for healing of homes, youth revival, and renewal (Ps 144:12, Job 1:10, 1Pet 3:1-11; 5:8-10).
2. The Voters: Democracy in Nigeria has depended upon voter involvement through the ballot box, hence the need for an educated electorate who will examine the issues and the candidates and vote in a godly and best way for Nigeria. Let us pray that voters will seek wisdom from God (James 1:5), Self-interest and ethnicity will be laid aside for the common good, and discernment between truth and falsehood will be clear. Pray for fresh moral and spiritual vision among the voters. Let us pray about the problem of high voter apathy because many are angry with politics and politicians … rather than mere boredom with the seat of power.
3. The Candidates: As an integral part of the democratic campaigning process, party candidates put themselves and their families through a rigorous process that brings every aspect of their lives into public scrutiny. Praying for candidates does not mean praying just for those you agree with or support. All are leaders and potential leaders in our nation—and as such, all need our prayers. Pray for candidates that they will take brave stands for righteousness, even when it may not be well received; that they will surround themselves with godly advisors; that they will not place politics above God and biblical truth (Exd 20:3-5; Acts 5:29).
4. The Media: In Nigeria, the media have taken on a considerable role in the election process with 24-hour news coverage. Handling media correctly takes precedence in a campaign over actually dealing with issues. Unfortunately, the media often forget their role of informing and reporting and have become endorsers and supporters, even while trying to deny that role. Pray for the media in Nigeria that truth in reporting and election coverage will become a high value, media bias will disappear, and Christianity will receive fair coverage in all reports.
5. The impact on the Nation: The individuals who hold the leadership and parliament will make decisions that impact the rest of the world. Whether those decisions help or harm the world’s people is primarily determined by our choices at the poll. So, first, we need to pray that our choices will bless Nigeria and the world. Second, pray that voters will consider the foreign policies of candidates and how they fit with biblical principles. Third, let us pray that the result of tomorrow’s election will promote unity in Nigeria and churches and serve to spread the gospel around the globe; that the result will bring a mighty resurgence of people who will honour God and stand boldly for absolute morals truths and historical Christian British principles and heritage. Finally, let us pray that Nigeria will come out stronger and together beyond tomorrow’s election.
6. Spiritual Warfare Surrounding the Election: Christian intercessors agreed that nothing is achieved in the Kingdom of God without warfare. That includes the election of righteous individuals to the leadership of Nigeria, one of the key nations on the planet. As we pray, we must expect the enemy to attack in many ways. There will be attacks on candidates and their families, the media, the Church, and perhaps the nation. Some will be spiritual, while other attacks may have physical manifestations. Our call is to have great discernment as we pray and stand in the strength of Christ’s victory. Pray for significant awareness and discernment for the Lord’s praying people as we pray over the election; Pray for physical protection for all candidates and their families throughout this campaign season; Pray for a strong hedge of protection around the nation during this time of decision; Pray for the unleashing of the sword of the Spirit throughout the nation, judging the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb. 4:12).
7. The Purposes of God: The vision and prayer for Nigeria’s election are for this nation to return to God’s purposes. Jesus taught us to pray, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven” (Mt. 6:10). Let us couch our prayers in words and thoughts that focus our hearts on the Kingdom of God. Let us pray that the purposes of God will be accomplished in and after the election; that Nigerians will turn and seek first the Kingdom of God; that there will be the opportunity for Christians to share their faith and their values amid this election process and after; that the results of the election will please the Lord and release His blessing over the Church and the nation.
8. Thanksgiving: Let us take some time to worship and thank God for a fresh moral and spiritual vision for a new and ideal Nigerians that many want to see ‘but is not yet expressed in the vision of any of the parties.’
9. Consecration of Nigeria: Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we, the people of Nigeria, at this historical time, stand before you in humbled condition. To your Lordship, we recommit and dedicate Nigeria. Give to this land, built on the blood and tears of so many faithful forebears, ‘a fresh moral and spiritual vision. Lord Jesus accepts our consecration to you and, through you, bind us as one in unity forever to the Holy Trinity (Rom 13:12-14, Ps 119:37). Amen.
Compiled by The Rt Rev Dr. Deji Okegbile, the Methodist Bishop, Nigerian Methodist Mission, UK/Ireland