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Sierra Leone News: All night prayer confronts “enemies” at Cotton Tree

The Cotton Tree at 4:00 a.m. doesn’t sound very exciting. But, last Friday the famous destination was filled with peals of lively prayers from the Sierra Leone Youth Prayer Storm Movement. Over 200 young people linked arms in a giant circle around the tree as lead preacher, Pastor Mathew Bangura’s, voice rang loudly through the speaker system. The crowd sang, chanted, screamed, and silently prayed. Many in the crowd, including Bangura, had the coming election on their mind.
“We need prayer more than ever before,” Bangura said. “What the enemy wants to see done in this election is bloodshed; is destruction. The church is there to promote sanity, to promote peace because we are serving Jesus.”
The nine-year-old Sierra Leone Youth Prayer Storm Movement (SLYPSM) holds 21 consecutive all night prayer events every year. Friday’s Cotton Tree prayer march fell on day 15. While Freetown’s nightly prayer meetings are the largest, young members of the SLYPSM observe the 21-day event throughout the country.
Friday’s event was the first time the all night prayer was held out in the streets at night. The SLYPSM religious leaders hold meetings at Milton Margai College, where an average of 200 people show up, according to Planning Committee Chairman, Pastor Cecil Shyllon.
“In this year’s program, the lord lays it in the heart of the leader, Pastor Mathew, that we must do this prayer walk on the 15th day of the program,” Shyllon said. “Normally we do it during the day but this particular edition, the lord said we must do it at night.”
The Cotton Tree was specifically chosen for it’s important historical and what they believe to be spiritual importance to Sierra Leone. After obtaining Police approval and a military escort to direct traffic, Pastor Mathew and hundreds of young people set out to confront what they see as the enemy residing within the Cotton Tree.
“Sometimes you have to take the battle to the gate of the enemy, so we march through confronting the evil powers residing in this tree,” Bangura said. “It’s not an ordinary tree; this tree is a satanic alter working against the nation. All of the major government buildings, they surround the tree. The roots of this tree enter all of these buildings. Through this tree, evil powers are working within the governmental buildings, controlling issues in the government in the realm of the spirits.”
The religious leaders in SLYPSM believe the corruption and problems permeating some government institutions come from satanic powers in the famous tree. They hoped that their prayers might combat these “evil powers” and help guide the country in a new direction.
“Let God choose the person he wants to rule, whether SLPP or APC or whatever party,” Bangura said. “Politics has nothing to do with it. We want a leader that will take Sierra Leone back to God, because many of the leaders have taken the nation to cultism. Sierra Leone is founded on the foundation of Christianity, so we pray for a leader that will return Sierra Leone back to its maker, to Jesus Christ.”
The 21-day event cost Le24 million according to Shyllon, which they raised primarily through member donations. SLYPSM’s final prayer night will be held on Thursday night at the Milton Margai College.
TK/7/8/17
By Timothy Kenney (Intern)
Tuesday August 08, 2017.

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