By Nelson Manneh
Thousands of Gambian and non-Gambian Christians converged at the Independence Stadium in Bakau on Saturday 19 November 2016 to engage in a National Day of Prayer.
This is the second of its kind since its inception in 2015, it was well attended with members of all the different denominations of Christianity in The Gambia in attendance (Catholics, Methodists, Anglicans and Pentecostal).
The Scripture reading for this year’s prayers is from 2 Chronicles chapter 7 verse 14 (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 I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land).
The Catholic Bishop of Banjul Robert Ellison in his words of Exhortation said a year ago the Gambia was declared an Islamic Republic and for some months now it is said that The Gambia will be ruled by the sharia law. This according to the Catholic Bishop should not stop the Christians to worship their God. He said the youths should hold on to their faith and they should not be deceived by anybody for the bible says “he that is in us is more than he that is in the world.”
In her Exhortation and prayers of intercession the Presiding Bishop Hannah C. Faal Heim said election is near and everybody with a voter’s card should go and vote and it should be done in a decent manner. She said President Jammeh is the president of the people of The Gambia as at now and he should be given the respect he deserves as a president and he should also be the president of every Gambian irrespective of religion. He should not be the president of the Muslims alone.
Bishop Faal Heim said the president should look after everybody in The Gambia; Christians, Muslims and the non-believers. “We should not be afraid to live in this country as far as we are all citizens of this our motherland. For peace to reign in this country, the president should love all of us as we are all Gambians. As God is the one who plants us all in this land, therefore we are all equal to live in harmony with one another; therefore I pray to God that he soweth his wisdom and blessings upon all of us,” she noted.
The event then followed a praise and worship moment where the Christians in attendance took the opportunity to pray to their God.
The secretary general of the Gambia Christians Council Bro. Julius T. Freeman in his vote of thanks acknowledged the presence of everybody both Christians and non-Christians and also those that play a vital role towards the programme, both in cash and in kind.
This National Day of Prayer comes in the backdrop of a verbal declaration by the president, contrary to law, that The Gambia is henceforth an Islamic State. It also arises in the midst of failed attempts by Christian leaders to seek clarification from the president himself on his declaration.