Tuesday, June 6, 2023

On Gender: Everyone should Pray!

Photo Credit: Pixabay


Asides, male chauvinism, another thing that irks me is the fallacy that women are the prayer warriors of the house. Forgive me if I beg to differ. 

Growing up in Southeastern Nigeria, I was aware of my gender like I was aware of my skin. I was expected to act accordingly to stand in good stead with the  elders. Once I learnt this, growing up was easier. 

But I didn't know how deep the societal expectations went till I accompanied my aunt to the market. We lingered, in search of our favorite Garri vendor. Her neighbor gave us an eyeful before obliging us with an answer, a reason for her absence. 

'It is Wednesday,' he painstakingly explained. 

We looked on. Hard. Trying to decipher this unknown code. He sighed. Again. 

'It's Wednesday,' he repeated. 

'Women go to church.' He pointed at the several empty stalls (in case our eyes failed us earlier) to prove his point.

Whilst my aunt decided whether to wait for her or not, I decided whether to ask or not. Since life isn't supposed to be about a litany of missed opportunities, I asked. "What about you? Why didn't you go?"

Photo Credit: Prexel

I regretted it almost immediately. He gave me an impatient look. The kind we give straying tourists who don't follow instructions. When he deemed it his God-given duty to bring me back on course, he opened his mouth and spewed one of the greatest heresies I've ever heard. 

'I am a man,' he said. 

I stilled. And waited for an explanation. Anything. It was my turn to look at him. But since I have an overflowing bowl of goodness, I opted to wait for his justification. 

It came. “It's women's job to go to church. And men to provide”. My ears stung. 

Wait, I started. Since that part of the gospel had been torn out in my Bible, I asked, "How does prayer hinder your provider role?"

He replied, "no man would close his shop for church unless business is not going well. It's the woman's job."

Then, he leaned and whispered conspiratorially, 'That is how we know men whose businesses are not doing well. He paused for effect. My eardrums burst. I donned my argument helmet, ready to combat. When I opened my mouth to fire a missile, my aunt made her choice. We can't wait for that long. 

I remember the bone chilling weakness that sipped into my spine as I left. I realized this is a conversation he has had before. Often. With a similar conclusion. He was sharing the thoughts of most men he works with in the market. But it was his conviction that shook me most.   

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Do you understand the meaning of the phrase, it takes two to tango?

It means two involved parties need to act together to achieve their desired results.

Save me a second, I will quickly paint a picture of a selfless woman like the biblical Dorcas, always doing good and somehow married to a man selflessly working for the household, cooking books - providing.

Which of their graces do you think would avail the children. After all, you can't serve two masters at the same time. (Matt 6:24) And light and darkness cannot live together (2 Cor 6:14).

While it is easy for you to tell me that not praying is not the same with being bad. For many, that was the start of their missteps. Lines begin to blur. An empty house is easily possessed. (Matt 12: 45)

A consciousness of God is sustained by prayer, the daily raising of our heart to God. It guides us to act accordingly. You need not necessarily be on your knees or chant in tongues. You need only raise your heart, a trait capable of both genders. Why then is it heaved on one person's shoulders? Or does the society expect only women to make heaven?

It makes me wonder if Heaven had different conditions for each gender. If God's words were gender specific. If we are not all supposed to work out our salvation with fear and trembling? (Philippians 2:12-13)

Photo Credit: Pixabay 

Dear husband, you and I, on our knees, would pray for the wellbeing of our family - together. I will not hear, 'be praying, I am coming. Or pray for me. For us.'

I bet Abraham didn't become the father of many nations by telling Sarah to pray for him. In fact, when Abraham went out of his way to invite strangers who prophesied on his paternity. Sarah laughed. 

Let's talk about Joshua. Or Joseph. Moses. These men attracted God's blessings on their families. Like Abraham, they built the altar, the family…nations prayed. 

You must understand my disbelief. The tightening in my heart when I left. If he told me this tale easily, this man would have sons who hear it daily. Who in turn intend to tell their sons. And their son's sons. And on it goes. A whole generation of it. Till it becomes society. With a gender in pursuit of provisions and another for prayers.

Photo Credit: Prexel 

In the least, it should not be a discouraging environment for men who want to pray. They don't have to be accused of failing businesses. Neither do they have to feel the need to bow to societal pressure simply because they are playing a woman's role. 

Friends, I do not underestimate the role of women in the church or spirituality as a whole. If we disregard our feminism talk for a while, you will agree with me that women have a genetic makeup that allows them to diffuse warmth and love more than their male counterpart, a crucial factor for Christianity to thrive on. There is their intuition and detailed analysis. A keen sense of observation that makes me hold them in high regard. 

It is no surprise that women discovered the risen Christ first on their way to anoint his body. There was Mary, asking Jesus for a miracle that was never supposed to have existed. 'Do you not know my time hasn't come,' Jesus tells her. Yet, he obliges his Mother. I will spare you details of Jael of the old testament. Or Rachel. 

Friends, it's a controversial argument. We can go on and on on both sides with enough points to last as long as Hilda Bacci's cook-a-thon. 

My point still remains the same. Both genders are important to God. He wants everyone in his apostolate. Each has their roles to play. To be better adapted to be God's instrument, everyone should pray!  

To every Rose that grew from Concrete; Blossom 

17 ComentΓ‘rios:

  1. My husband and I on our knees !

  2. I love this piece Ogonna. My first time here. The End is beautiful. Well done!

  3. Very interesting. I agree with you.

  4. ezelilianiruoma@gmail.comJune 8, 2023 at 12:46 AM

    I got thrills while reading your scribble. I'm happy you have an optimistic and and creative mind. Keep it up πŸ‘πŸ‘

  5. I agree totally
    Best piece yet
    keep it up

  6. Nice one babe girl, keep it up.

  7. This sadly is the way most men think

  8. My first time here and I love your flow. Absolutely!

  9. Well done Nwannem.❤️

  10. πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€And this is pinpointing my argument with a so called "Provider gender" πŸ˜€some days ago
    Honestly, You have a way of writing that gladdens me. Kudos πŸŽ‰
    But why should anyone close their office (shop) every Wednesday for prayers I keep wondering πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”

  11. Nice write-up ✌️Dear
    Though I saw nothing wrong with what my brother said ooh☺️☺️, men doesn't dislike church or prayers just that women carry church for head and they are easily enticed by 'your blessings are on the way'.

  12. Nice one, Ogonna. It's beautifully written as always.

  13. Very Nice one Dear i agree with you ❤πŸ’―

  14. As a guy, I'm glad someone is talking about this; you are absolutely right.

  15. This was really enlightening. Your approach to the topic is creative. I’m actually shocked because I’ve never heard of people closing their shops because it’s Wednesday. I hope more people get enlightened to know that prayer is not peculiar to one gender!

  16. The Ego of men has been rooted in some from childhood. When their upbringing didn't include that it takes two to TANGO.
    This is what some women face w everyday of their lives.

    I have said it before now. We shall work for the family together.