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  • Walt Shakes

    Walt Shakes

    Walter Ude (@Walt_Shakes) is an award-winning Nigerian writer, poet and veteran blogger. He is a lover of the written word. the faint whiff of nature, the flashing vista of movies, the warmth of companionship and the happy sound of laughter. He blogs at mymindsnaps.wordpress.com.

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MORNING DEVOTION

“Dear Father in Heaven – the Lord of Hosts – the Beginning and the End – the Great I am that I am…”

Daddy was just warming up to his supplication with a litany of God’s names that he usually started with every time we had our morning prayers.

“Jehovah Jireh – the King of kings and the Lord of lords – the Great Provider, Father we bless you. We thank you, Lord, for this brand new day…”

I yawned and tried to will my sleepy brain cells to focus on the words of the prayer, which was not an easy feat, considering I was kneeling and half-lying on the settee. The soft cushions begged me to give in to the unfinished call of Mother Nature.

“Jehovah God, You who have sent your angels to guard us in our sleep and wake us up this morning – for that, I ascribe glory and honour to Your name in Jesus’ name.”

There was a drowsy murmur of ‘Amen’. My ‘Amen’ came riding on another yawn. Chibueze, my 13-year-old younger brother, snored gently beside me. He was kneeling against the settee, like everyone else, and his face, turned toward me and placed on top of his clasped arms, had the relaxed suppleness of sleep.

As Daddy droned on, a third yawn trembled on my lips. I thought longingly of my bed with the soft coverlets and downy pillow. I wished I could go back to it. I wished I didn’t have to listen to Daddy’s voice as he beseeched the Lord to cleanse us of our sins. Another voice I wished I hadn’t heard was Nkiru’s, that high-pitched timbre that cut into my sleep when she said the words I dreaded hearing every morning: “It’s time for morning devotion.”

Every other morning, I would lie still, pretend not to hear her, all the time wondering why she had taken it upon herself to torture me at the crack of dawn. And every other morning, she would stand beside my bed, calling my name insistently and eventually adding a vigorous shake of my body. A very vigorous shake. I often wondered where she got her energy from so early in the morning.

“Wake up nau! Daddy is calling us for prayers.”

I groaned, and very reluctantly pulled myself up from the bed. My bleary gaze fell on the clock hanging on the wall. 6 am! Who wakes up by this time? I thought grumpily. My dislike for Nkiru and Daddy and the person who invented morning devotions went up a notch. In the parlour, Mummy and Daddy were already seated, with Daddy flipping through his bible and answering our greetings with a distracted murmur. Ikenna and Chibueze were flopped bonelessly on their seats, while Nkiru was perched primly on the stool beside mummy, her countenance bright and ready to serve the Lord.

Mummy started the devotion with a song, one that my brothers and I mumbled while Nkiru carried on with a clear and exuberant voice. Daddy swept a scowl over us, and I quickly added some life to the tempo of my singing. The praise and worship soon segued into the bible reading, with every one of us taking turns to read verse after verse from our bibles.

“Heavenly Father, as we go out, bless the works of our hands.” Daddy’s voice suddenly cut into my consciousness. I must have dozed off. “Protect us. Guide us. Direct us and take control of this day. All this and many more we ask, in Jesus’ name.”

And we chorused, “Amen.”

I am @Walt_Shakes on twitterfamily-prayer-featured1

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28 Comments

  1. nik

     /  February 22, 2014

    And here I was thinking it was only in our house that d devotion was filled with ” wake up we have finished prayers, prayers will be going on and u will be sleeping eh” mum, always the one leading

    Reply
  2. Yemie

     /  February 22, 2014

    I totally loved reading this piece, Walter and its very relateable. Morning devotions are always, more often than not; carried out in in a state of sleepiness. One will be floating from consciousness to unconsciousness till the prayers runs it course and by that time, the sleep’s cleared up from one’s eyes.

    A beautifully written piece, thanks for sharing. You rock pieces! Lol!

    Reply
  3. I was smiling as I read this… beautiful story.

    Reply
  4. Yvonne

     /  February 22, 2014

    I can so relate to this piece, just this morning, my body was in the living room, but I’m not sure my spirit was. I don’t dislike prayers but must it be that early, the hours between 4-6am when I get to really sleep after late hours on the internet or spent drawing. kai! I have been dreading the day morning devotions were concocted.
    Beautiful beautiful piece Walter 🙂

    Reply
  5. Nwukabu Danjuma

     /  February 22, 2014

    Nkiru must have really offended you sha. But this waking up in the morning thing is not even easy.

    Reply
  6. Emeka

     /  February 22, 2014

    Heehheeh….Nkiru must be heading for an ordination as Reverned Sister and you, Walt, your better kick up before the doors of heaven is shut.

    Reply
  7. louisa

     /  February 22, 2014

    Hahahahahahaha. “…her countenance bright and ready to serve the Lord.” I see you’ve met my younger sister.

    Reply
  8. uzo

     /  February 22, 2014

    oh tell me about it, I dread when my grand mum is leading the prayers

    Reply
  9. Syrene

     /  February 22, 2014

    Haha very familiar. Just remembered when my cousin got a hot awekening slap after he was asked to pray and he sleepily asked God to “please cancel all ther prayers we have prayed in Jesus’ name”. Good times…

    Reply
  10. A perfect post to feel inspired today. Thanks.

    Reply
  11. Nice write-up!

    Reply
  12. Every family must have an Nkiru: making everyone else look bad, calling attention when you try to snatch a few seconds of alone time with the Lord in meditation.

    This brought back ‘good’ memories. Thanks Walt.

    Reply
  13. I can also remember those days. Eh! What woke me up then would be the last of three shouts of ‘halelluja’. I might have slept off from the inception of the whole prayer.

    Reply
  14. Uzoma

     /  February 22, 2014

    Morning devotion is a necessary ritual every Christian family performs but sometimes it could get a tad tiring when sleep is calling to you and the leader is no where ending the devotion…:)brings back memories…

    Reply
  15. You have this way of making beautiful pieces out of the most relatable things. This is good writing.

    Reply
  16. Vester

     /  February 22, 2014

    Morning devotion at the crack of dawn when i enjoy sleeping to the fullest back then.There was a day i dozed off as usual,my brother tapped me to say that we’ve finished prayers,i shouted Amen!

    Reply
  17. Wow beautiful, reminds me of two decades ago when mum will wake us up 5am for devotion. My unrighteous indignation is always bottled up.

    Now as a man on my own, am thinking of shifting my wake-up time from 4am to earlier time to be able to meet up. Ironical you will say.

    You will appreciate the “Nkiruic” spirit later on… Straight face!

    Reply
  18. you have taken me home!!! lol!!! nice one

    Reply

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