SUNDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2010.
ALONE WITH GOD
AT IBRU ECUMENICAL CENTRE
BY ERNEST ONUOHA
We hardly can do it better elsewhere than at Ibru Ecumenical Centre. The Ibru Centre offers us a serene environment for spiritual rejuvenation. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ knew the importance of serene environment for meditation and spiritual growth and he said to his Apostles; Mark 6 v 31- 32:
Come with me by yourselves to a
quiet place and get some rest.
So they went away by themselves
in a boat to a solitary place
This divine directive was not rebuffed, mutilated or put in the cooler but the recipients, the apostles responded immediately. The immediacy of their response was rendered thus by the bible commentators: “so they went by themselves in a boat to a solitary place”.
One of the arch enemies attacking the Christendom today is that of “over rationalization” of kingdom issue and reducing spiritual matters to mere mental exercise. We can pray anywhere; must we go to Ibru Centre to be heard?
Another distraction is that of “over emphasis to cost” and not the attendant benefits derivable from such spiritual programmes. St. Paul had this to say; I Tim 6 V 7; “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it”.
The Ibru Ecumenical Centre in Agbarha-Otor, Ughelli North L.G.A of Delta State occupies a very high place for retreat, prayer, fasting, meditation, reflection, conference and a close walk with God. Call the Centre a place of spiritual activities.
Recently, the Bishop of Ikwerre Diocese, Rt. Rev. Blessing Eyindah in company of his wife came with his Clergy and their Wives for a week long retreat and prayer. This they did and more importantly spent more time in fervent prayers. The diocese confessed, they were not distracted but in deep reflection given their peculiar circumstances, a diocese in a rural setting. They threw a challenge to God on the eve of their departure. A lay member earlier kidnapped, they prayed to God to prove Himself at the Ibru Chapel that their member be released unconditionally the following day. And true to His name, He responded. At the early morning chapel worship, the story of the unconditional release of the kidnapped lay member brought joy and thanksgiving to the owner and creator of the universe. This was a confirmation that God is not “a Dues Absconditus”. The Psalmist puts it better thus:
In my distress I called to the Lord;
I cried to my God for help, from
His temple He heard my voice,
my cry came before him, into his ears.
He reached down from on high and
took hold of me; he drew me out of
He rescued me from my powerful
enemy, form my foes, who were too
strong for me.
Therefore, I will praise you among
The nations, O Lord; I will sing
praise to your name.
Psalm 18 V 6, 16, 17, 49.
At Ibru Centre, we have such and more testimonies. For our God, is permanently involved in the affairs of men.
From the Old Testament times, it was a secret discovered by some prophets to be alone with God in a serene environment, read: I Kings 17 V 19; 2 Kings 4 V 33.
Also, in the New Testament times, it was a key to performing miracles: C.F: MK. 5 V 40; 8 V 23, Acts. 9 V 40 etc.
Alone with God calls for retirement from worldly associations. Read these bible passages: Mtt 14 V 23; 15 V 29, 17 V 1, 7 V 24, LK. 9 V 10; LK. 22 V 41.
We do not need to delay; you need a trip, a visit to Ibru Ecumenical Centre. Remember, it is only “the knee that bends that receives from the throne of grace”.
Nigeria of today requires fervent prayers, devoid of distractions. If not for God’s intervention, Omar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian who allegedly tried to blow up a Detroit bound plane last
Christmas Day, with a bomb hidden in his underpants, many lives could have been lost.
This time around, the October 1st celebration saw a senseless bombing that claimed “pockets” of lives. As the elections are around the corner, we need more men and women on their knees. For if we cease to pray, we make our God powerless and increase the doomsday. We really need to pour our hearts unto God. The Psalmist says: “… a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despite” Psalms 51:17. Our people are suffering whether the political class believe it or not. Just think about them: unemployment, environmental pollution and degradation, economic meltdown and the increased poverty level in our nation state, armed robbery, kidnapping that seem to defy solution, prostitution by the aged and the under aged as a result of hardship, incessant closure of schools of higher learning, restiveness of the youths and more so the high rate of deaths by the Nigerian people. Sadly, the end of suffering seems not to be in sight.
In a time like this, people hardly can find time to pray. They spend more time in pursuit of material things. When they do find time to pray, they hurry over their prayers in order to catch up with business engagements. And so we need a serene environment for concentrated prayer. Certainly, Ibru Centre offers us such a place where we can be alone with God not distracted. There in God’s presence, we can pour out our hearts unto Him. For the prayers of the righteous in a cool, serene environment can turn things around for good for families and our nation Nigeria.
Do join me to sing in the Church Hymnal 731 stanzas 1, 2 & 4:
1. Come ye yourselves apart and
Weary, I know it, of the press
Wipe from your brow the sweat
and dust of toil,
And in My quiet Strength again
2. Come ye aside from all the world
For converse which the world
Has never known,
Alone with Me and with My
With Me and with My FATHER
4. Come ye and rest: the journey is
And ye will faint beside the
way and sink:
The Bread of Life is here for you
And here for you the Wine of
Love to drink.
We cannot thank them enough, but God and posterity will and certainly must be kind to them. The Patron of Ibru Ecumenical Centre, Alex Ibru, is remembered for his forthright vision and commitment to the spiritual growth of the centre. Also, the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) ably led by the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria, His Grace, Most. Rev. Nicholas Okoh is highly commended too for sustaining the vision and the mission of the centre.
You are most welcome!
Ven. Barr. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,