By Bisi Daniels
For all five days of the 2021 Holy Ghost Congress of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, the thousands of participants engaged in learning and fighting to break sieges on their lives and countries of residence. The church is present in over 190 countries from where members participated virtually.
The General Overseer, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, led the war of prayers on each of the five days in his sermons, which also taught the strategy of breaking sieges.
At one point when he asked members of the congregation to shake hands and greet one another “Happy New Year,” to break a siege, they did so with a mixture of trepidation and excitement.
Some church members recalled that the last time they did that during a service before New Year’s day, a major change occurred in the country a few days after. They, however, said they didn’t know what was coming this time around; but Pastor Adeboye gave no details.
Conducted largely virtually and in-person on the last day, the Congress had many anointed men of God join Pastor Adeboye to preach the word. They included Bishop David Oyedepo, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, Prophet S.K. Abiara, Pastor Steve Rathod from the United States, as well as pastors from the RCCG.
From morning to night each day, there were programmes for people of various age groups – children, youths and young adults and adults- which beamed on the church’s television station, as well as broadcast on radio and the social media
As usual, there were amazing testimonies from past services, even as the origin of the Holy Ghost Services continued to fuel the belief of many in miracles.
Revealing the origin of the Holy Ghost Services at one of the services, Pastor Adeboye recalled: “In 1986, I was in London preparing the Sunday school booklet for the mission when I heard from God. He said, ‘Son, what do you want for your birthday?’
I was shocked. The reason I was shocked was that: I didn’t know God would be interested in my birthday. And secondly, I didn’t know He could be asking me what I wanted as a present.
“So, I said, ‘Lord if that is you, please repeat the question.’ He assured me it was Him and asked again what I wanted as a birthday present.
“I replied, ‘What I want is that all my members will get miracles.’
He asked, ‘Is that’s all?’
I replied, “That’s all I want.”
“Then He said, ‘In that case when you get home, call them together and I will give them whatever they ask for.’
“I needed to call the service a name, so I asked Him.
“And He said: ‘Holy Ghost Service.’
“What happened at the first Holy Ghost Service was wonderful. And when we finished, my people came to me to request that I consulted God for the service to hold every year.
“God granted the request, but after some time, members of the church suggested that I should request for a monthly Holy Ghost Service. Since then, as testimonies have shown, thousands of people have benefitted from the Holy Ghost Services.”
But characteristically, the General Overseer never failed during the week to stress that the manifestation of miracles is largely dependent on a healthy relationship with God; and faith – like that of a baby.
As he often says, he expects his spiritual sons and daughters to be bigger than him by using the Word of God he enthusiastically preaches.
A healthy relationship with God was particularly relevant because it takes an external force to break a siege one is suffering from.
Using the same strategy of warfare in the Old Testament, where enemies surrounded cities to ensure nobody went out for productive activities until they starved and surrendered, the devil, according to the various preachers at the Congress, attacks us in areas we are most vulnerable and also makes it difficult for us to serve God.
According to Pastor Adeboye, knowing well that we have to worship God with the parts of the body, the devil makes them his target.
The Bible enjoins us to, “clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.”
But he said to stop that, the devil targets the hands, and the mouth, which we also need to clap, sing and testify.
The devil attacks the legs we need to dance to God and to run errands for Him
He said we need our eyes to see and to function, but God also purposed them for us to see the beauty of His creation.
By attacking the body with sickness, the devil also tries to stop us from working
But he advised that when the devil lays siege to our bodies to stop us from pleasing God, the best solution is to report him to our owner, who is the Lord of all Hosts.
Another favourite target for the devil’s attack is the siege on our finances which forces many people to resort to unacceptable ways of living like stealing, corruption, and rituals.
But Pastor Adeboye assured his audience that siege too could be broken by turning to God for mercy.
The devil also loves attacking the prayer life of people because as the Psalmist noted, help comes from above where there is a God who answers prayers. So, even as the challenges of life seem to be multiplying and God is always a prayer away, the prayer life of some people has gone cold.
The attack on prayer life involves encouraging people to sin to cut them away from God and pumping them with pride and laziness and throwing distractions at them to make it difficult for them to pray.
Sin, Pastor Adeboye added, is an insulator to the power of prayer, cutting us from God who doesn’t behold sin.
Some people also feel they are big enough to sort their problems themselves but the Bible clearly says without God we can do anything.
How sieges are lifted by God
To lift the sieges to our lives, Pastor Adeboye said: “The Lord Almighty has unlimited ability to lift all kinds of siege – small and big- when the victim(s) cries out to Him for help.
“To end the siege, the victim has to cry out to God for help – and this is not just some ordinary, casual prayer. It is intense prayers, communicating pains from the siege and the need for help.
“In response to the cry for help, God makes a prophetic declaration, usually through a prophet because not everybody can hear directly from God.
“In Samaria, a besieged city, He spoke through Elisha; and in freeing Israel from bondage, He spoke through Moses. However, true prophecies sound unusual and even unbelievable.”
He warned that it is easy for the devil to discredit prophecies by sowing doubts in the minds of the potential beneficiaries.
But he said as in the case of Sarah when the prophecy to break a siege was doubted, it was repeated to demonstrate the irrefutability of God’s word.
To him, that is why one needs to exercise a high level of faith in God to deliver what He has promised. The Scripture says the righteous shall live by faith.
Continuing, he said the help to lift a siege, usually comes from unexpected sources.
“In Samaria, it was through lepers, outcasts, who were inspired to visit the camp of the enemy. And as they moved, their footsteps were amplified into mighty sounds from God.
“The lifting of a siege results in benefits and enrichment that translates into promotion; improved wellbeing of the victims of the siege.
“With that, they are happy to share their experience in what becomes compulsory evangelism – telling others about the goodness of God.
“The process ends with joy and singing in praise of the goodness of God and sharing.”
The last day of the Congress, usually the most anticipated, was packed with participants and activities. There were all the regulars: prayers, testimonies and praise and worship by the Mass Choir which is becoming increasingly popular with the worshippers and the regular sermons.
There was also a Holy Communion Service, an anointing service; and an extra, which has assumed great importance. As the congregation waved handkerchiefs excitedly, Pastor Adeboye anointed them remotely from the pulpit by praying and waving of hands.
The Congress was formally closed on Sunday with a thanksgiving service.