Prayer Warrior, Three
I was going to attend the new believer’s class. I wanted to sing in the choir. There were two leaders tastefully dressed in the class. The lady was fat, married, carried layers of heavy make-up and fake hair. Her eyes were rapid and her aura, obnoxious. I only remember she was a great public speaker, not her name. Her ‘partner in spirit’ was called Nnanna. He too was tastefully furnished with clothes and bright yellow skin. He looked cute but he gathered spittle at the corner of his lips while he spoke.
There were 12 of us in the New Believers’ class. There were more women than men. The men seemed to be disconnected: didn’t say much, hardly asked any questions but kept roving their eyes over our heads, almost like they were eyeing something in the church. About an hour after I’d been there …. Sitting and listening, Nnanna said we were going to pray for the spirit of speaking in tongues, then we’d receive the Spirit.
“How did he know that for sure?”
“….. what gave him the confidence that the holy spirit would descend on me today …..?
I assumed it was a gradual process … the speaking in tongues thing. So I decided to watch the group to see who would be blessed first. David told me to believe that I would speak in tongues; Nnanna told us to believe that we would speak in tongues. The lady told us to open our mouth and Pray! Pray!! Pray!!! For the tongue-speaking gift of the Holy Spirit. She told us to speak at the top of our voices … to cry out to God and lock the devil out by speaking in a foreign tongue. She told us to confuse the devil from stealing our good wishes, dreams and requests from God. In essence English wasn’t such a good language to speak in front of the devil.
David had shifted from the group and taken a seat behind us. I was going to tell him that I was hot, was sweating and needed to use the toilet real bad. I was hungry, thirsty and also tired from the early morning bus ride from Bariga to Amuwo Odofin. I wanted to tell David, Nnanna and his lady partner that I wasn’t sure the Holy Spirit would find me a good host today.
We were told to sit in a circle, hold hands and:
“Robosente shabalabalaba …rah rahma robo remenesente sebababa rakasala!”
I almost laughed when I heard Nnanna voice those words. I sensed if I wanted to leave the gathering without being branded a possessed girl, I had to play safe.
I held hands too. I prayed under my breath and I sang when I was tired of praying. I wouldn’t shout. Moreover, I wasn’t sure that I should be speaking something I couldn’t interpret – even though Nnanna’s partner said some are given the gift of speaking, and others the gift of interpreting. Those who spoke screamed and prayed aloud in the speaking-in-tongues language. They were released. The rest of us who couldn’t speak, were held back in the group. In fifteen minutes, we had reduced to five… only females ….. Then just me. The men had spoken and left. One of the Lady converts who worked with a media house even cried as she spoke, and she was released. I knew I had to speak fast else I’d be there all afternoon but I didn’t know what to speak. I wanted to be sure about what I was going to say, first.
Nnanna and the lady faced me. They held both my hands. She put one hand on my head and shook it as she prayed in foreign tongues … making me dizzy and even more tired. I sang. I sang a song. The same worship song, over and over again.
“I want you to believe – ah! Believe you can speak – ah! And you will speak – ah!”
“Let the Spirit enter … enter and you will speak – ah …. Ramma ma roborosentera!”
I remained still, sitting and singing. When I got bored from hearing their voices, I started rocking myself on the plastic chair. Then I started to feel sleepy. I was going to yawn.
“Sister, are you here?!” her voice sounded puzzled.
“Ah …. She’s not here; the Spirit has taken over her ….. rama shobele sente rabaaabbbaabababa ra!”
I am enjoying this by now. I remain still and don’t say a word, but when they start calling my name and jerking my shoulders real bad, I knew that I had to ditch the role-play.
Then they sat next to me, hold my hands and ask:
“How do you feel?”
“What do you feel right now?”
I told them I felt calm, too calm that I couldn’t stop singing. Their faces hung lower. At that pint they must have realized I won’t speak in tongues today. They said I should keep singing as that was how my soul was responding to the Spirit. They told me that I had to keep believing until I started speaking. They finally released me. Phew! As I made my way to the car with David, I knew that I’d have to break up with him soon.