Saturday, September 15, 2012
Prayer sessions during office hours…is this acceptable?
I know that Africans in general are known as one of the world’s most religious people. Nigerians specifically claim to be very religious. This is a good thing and would even be more marvellous if we can act as religious as we claim by first obeying simple instructions such us forming/joining queues when we need to.
I don’t have anything against religious people or people who practise their religion strictly, in fact I am a proud lover of God. The only problem I have is when people take religion too far and use it as an excuse to negatively affect the outcome of their work.
For instance, a lot of organisations in Nigeria organise morning devotions (praying and sometimes singing praises to God) before work commences for the day, which I honestly think is a fantastic idea if it can be conducted appropriately.
I walked into a pharmacy at 11am and was welcomed by the sound of people clapping and singing praises followed by prayers. At first I thought I was in the wrong place; maybe I was lost in thoughts and didn’t know when I walked into a church,i thought, but the sight of several drugs and people in white overalls reminded me that I was in the right place, a pharmacy.
As I stood there not knowing who to talk to, the security guard walked up to me and told me that the staff were having their morning devotion, I looked at my wrist watch as I tried to control the tempo of my voice and asked “devotion at 11am?” He answered “Yes” and explained that no one could attend to me until they were done with their devotion and that could take another ten to fifteen minutes. I didn’t want to commit a sin by taking out my anger on the security guard so I tried my best, politely said thank you and good bye! I ditched my favourite pharmacy and bought my cold medication from a pharmacy that probably conducts their morning devotion at a reasonable time.
Another time I asked my assistant to buy a bottle of water from a supermarket very close to our office, it was one of those days that we ran out of drinking water, he came back with no water and explained that the staff at the supermarket were having their morning devotion and was told to either wait or come back. Their Morning devotion was holding at 10am.
I honestly do not have a problem with having morning devotions at work; it’s the timing that bothers me. If you want to have morning devotion, wouldn’t it be wise to come to work a bit earlier so that the business can still open at the opening time advertised on the door? If the opening time of the store or office would change for that day due to special morning devotions, its best to put a note on the door to advise customers that the store would be opening late due to “so so and so” reason or not even open at all until the devotion is over.
The essence of the morning or prayer devotion is to thank God and ask him for more customers and good profit.
Why do they now chase away the answer to their prayers? The customers they pray to have, have now come in to patronise but these same prayer warriors don’t have time to attend to them because they are still praying and cannot recognise that the answer to their prayer is the customer who just walked in but they couldn't attend to because they were praying when they should be rendering a service(s).
It is good for business owners to get their priorities straight and stop hiding under the umbrella of religion. Heaven helps those who help themselves. Let us do the right thing at the right time.
As I mentioned earlier, I am a proud lover of God and religion but is it appropriate and professional to conduct prayer devotions during business or office hours and to also ignore customers when they walk in during that time?