Tuesday 1st October 2013, was the day that had been set aside by religious leaders to conduct interdenominational prayers for the Westgate terror attack victims. The day saw religious leaders from all parts of the country gather at the Kenyatta international Conference Centre for prayers. Also present were the president Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga among other leaders.
What came out clearly during these prayers is that every leaders and religious leaders who stood up really condemned the attack. The president said they were not going to relent in the fight against terrorism.
The interdenominational prayers also came just days after the We Are One campaign which saw Kenyans come together during this sad days of the mall attack. Kenyans from different backgrounds came together to support fellow Kenyans who were affected by the attack. The support came from donations, blood donations and psychological help too.
The attacks brought the country to a stand still, more than sixty people lost their lives with others still missing. The attack was unexpected and survivors who recounted the happenings at the mall explained how horrific the experience was with the terrorists.
But even as these prayers were conducted or even if Kenyans came together during this attack, one question still remains still lingering in our minds. Must we wait for a disaster to happen for us to turn into a praying nation or come together? Are we only united in times of grief?
Lorna Byrne in his piece about the power of prayer says prayer is such a powerful force. We underestimate it so much. Prayer can move mountains if only we would let it. If only we would realize just how powerful prayer can be, we would never feel hopeless.
She further says no one prays alone, when we pray to God there is a multitude of angels of prayers there, praying with you regardless of our religious faith or how we are behaving. This is what a country we should work towards making sure we always do.
Lorna in this article says nothing is too trivial or too big to pray for either. Sometimes we get overwhelmed by a situation such as war or famine and for our case the Westgate mall attack and feel we can do nothing to help. We can, we can pray, she says.
We should maintain the spirit of prayer always, in times of disaster or not. Coming together like what we did yesterday in prayer as a country was a very noble gesture for both the Westgate victims and for our county a well.
Nixon Kanali, Kenya Institute of Mass Communication, Nairobi