‘Spirituality For Sale’ in Liberia? Nation Observes Fast & Prayer Day


Monrovia – A prominent Liberian clergyman, theologian and historian, Rev. J. Emmanuel Z. Bowier has expressed fears over Liberians who are becoming notorious for turning to the beaches instead of turning to God during the annual Fast and Prayer Day. On Friday, by Proclamation of the Government, Liberians will once more be observing Fast and Prayer Day as a National Holiday.

The Nation will fast and pray in remembrance of God’s goodness in rescuing Liberia from the wrath of Germany during the World War II, when Liberia was being bombarded by the German War Boat.  But Rev. Bowier says many have forgotten the history behind the holidays observed in Liberia.

“Every Holiday has a history behind it, but we do not teach our children these things in the schools. This is why, they are usually dressed half naked every year to go the beaches and get drunk, then drown themselves, instead of going to the church to pray.”

Speaking to FrontPageAfrica, Rev. Bowier refused to lay the blame solely on the children for behaving the way they do.

Instead, he says, the blame should be directed at the church and many religious leaders who are supposed to lead in conducting Fast and Prayers and teaching the children the right way. But instead, he said, many churches and leaders are asking the government for money to fast and pray for the Nation.

“This is not right. Why should you be paid to pray for your own Country? Is Spirituality on sale, Or Banjo Spirituality?”, he lamented.

The clergyman said many of Liberia’s religious leaders behave like the soothsayers at the court of some Babylonian King, “saying No weapon form against you shall prosper. After they have forgotten all the scriptures they learned in Theology besides, no weapon form against you shall prosper.

I can prove it, that many of these big churches go to the Religious Advisor to tell the President that they need money to do fast and prayer, and when they get the money they share it among themselves and leave out the small churches so the small churches get angry and don’t fast and pray as well.”  

Rev. Bowier narrated that during the time of President Daniel E. Howard, during World War II, when the United States had war with Germany and because of Liberia’s relationship with America at the time, President Howard was told to declare war on Germany as well.

Germany, under the authority of Hitler, sent a gun boat to Liberia, demanding that the Liberian government turn over to the German War Boat citizens of all Allied nations residing in Liberia.

The clergyman explained that at the time, Liberia did not have trade with the US, but only Germany as partner. The University of Liberia was at the time, the German Embassy, while the Law school was the German Ambassador’s office.

“In fact, when we declared war on Germany,” Rev. Bowier said Liberia seized their properties here, and turned it over to the Liberia College, now the University of Liberia. President Howard then sent a radiogram to the Germans, telling them he was not going to turn over any American or other allies over to the Germans.

In his words, President Howard said: “Germany should go ahead bomb Monrovia and be damned.”  Maybe, he thought the Americans would have come to our aid, and thought Germany was not going to bomb Monrovia.

But to his surprise, the gun boat started bombing the city. A bomb fell at Camp EBK and people died, another fell at the old French Cable building on Ashmun Street and destroyed the cable. Another bomb also hit Slip Way, and people died. The entire Monrovia was in disarray.  

Rev. Bowier said President Howard then took his entire Cabinet at the Providence Baptist Church to fast and pray that God would do something to save Liberia.

“Because Howard had remembered that in the past the British Government sent four Gun Boats to bomb Monrovia in the past because we refused to give Cape Mount to Sierra Leone. And God delivered Monrovia after their prayers.”

When Howard and his cabinet were finished praying and came out, and stood on the front stairs of Providence Baptist Church, they saw that the German gun boat was gone.

“Because it was bombarded by a British Gun boat that was passing and picked up a radio gram signal, calling for help sent to the Americans who came to Liberia’s aid. The British Captain told President Howard that they intercepted the radiogram sent to the Americans. So they launched a bomb on the German Gun Boat.

And it was said, that after the German Gun Boat was launched, it left with a dark smoke coming from the back.” The incident prompted the Senate at the time to declare the day Fast and Prayer Day.