The prison prayer of an unrighteous banker ~ by Anayo Nwosu
From my experience, the most excruciating part of being sentenced to jail is watching the confusion in the faces of your beloved ones as the sentence is being read out by a determined judge.
While I comported myself very well enough as a man but my heart was grinding to a halt as I watched Uche my darling wife, MaryRose my loving immediate elder sister, Okey my cousin and Malizu my ever faithful friend try to swallow the reality of the pronouncements of the happy judge, I fell into a momentary trance and could see Mama Obiora, my late mum robed in a white garment whispering into my ears saying: “o nweghị ife anya fụrụ gbaa nmee” meaning “don’t take this as an unusual happening”. She told me that it would end in glory and disappeared before I could shout “Mama!”
I cleared my face to see in agony, my office colleagues who were earlier getting ready for a victory lunch I had promised them, until the judge started going from Onitsha to Obosi instead of heading towards Asaba.
My family, friends and colleagues had followed me to court in anticipation of an acquittal but were in for a shocker of their lives.
“Five years imprisonment!”, announced the judge and the party scattered.
Despondency crept in.
I could at that moment hear Mama Obiora’s, my mum’s voice saying “Chineke over to you!” meaning “God take it from here ” which she would say whenever that which she considered mountainous or beyond her power occurred. I murmured “Chineke over to you” as my mum would and started feeling unburdened or less concerned.
I also remembered my mum’s belief that “whoever works in the farm of God would have God work in his own farm” hence, I started reminding God of my good works in His farm, asking Him to draw from my mercy bank account to sort me out.
Mama Obiora, my mum, would always tell me that Osebụlụwa or God never forgets any kindness to widows, orphans and the minutest acts of charity. She would refer me to Proverbs 19:17 that says “if you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord and he will repay you”.
Therefore, I felt a sense of entitlement during my first night in the prison by asking God if it was His wish that those poor children under my scholarship drop out of school.
And I waited for an answer. And I got none.
I remembered the story of Dorcas in Acts 9:36-42 and reminded God of my other committed charities here and there. I told Him that my continued imprisonment would scuttle the flow and funding patterns of my charities to the orphans, widows and the poor. I even pledged to do more if He miraculously releases me.
I knew that if I had relied on my righteousness in the negotiation and the request for God’s merciful intervention that He would become livid with anger and might convert the prison sentence to Hell Fire. I felt comforted by the ameliorating effects of the prayers of many holy people of God who were interceding for me.
After a momentary hesitation, I became emboldened to ask God, as bank customers do to their bankers, to part-liquidate the principal and some of the benefits accruable to me from my heavenly bank account and use same to save me from prison.
I deemed it a transaction. Why not? I am a banker and I understand even spiritual transactions when I see one.
Even as a child mass server to Monsignor Joe Nwaibegbunam’s St. Peter Claver’s Church, Akwụnweke, Otolo Nnewi, I had learnt and mastered Matthew 6:19-21 which dwells on storing one’s wealth in heaven even though as an investment banker, I have always kept some of my wealth here on earth to diversify my portfolio.
I was so sure that God would keep his own side of the bargain if I humbly asked. And He did.
Being that king’s heart, as stated in Proverb 21:1, is like a stream of water directed by the LORD and that the Lord guides it wherever he pleases, the Lord masterfully perfected my release from the prison. A full and unconditional pardon!
Having drawn so much from my heavenly bank account to finance my miraculous release from prison, I will have to work harder from now on to replenish my account position. I might have even overdrawn my account as what I think I had in stock was more than what I just received.
I hereby testify to the reality that God also “farms” in the “farms” of those who “farm” in God’s farm as Mama Obiora, my mother taught me.
And it ended in glory.
And tomorrow someone would tell me that ndị mmụọ anaghị afụ ụzọ or that our ancestors lie in their graves idly or unconcerned.
Nobody can dispute the fact that Jehovah is not a deal master. He even rewards faithful customers more than their principal investment.
I am still in awe of the Lord of Host. To Him be all the praise and adoration.