Having faced several challenges in his ministry in the course of last year, it was looking like the vicissitudes of life were going to take a huge toll on him. The often quoted example was at the beginning of his ministry when things were so tough, he woke up one morning and decided to take his life and that was when God gave him the vision of writing a daily devotional.
A graduate of the school of hard knocks, Dr. Chris Kwakpovwe, a pharmacist turned-clergyman, frequently tells his congregation that an established pattern in his life follows a route where a traumatic storm that threatens to blow him to pieces comes ahead of a big break.
Having gained international fame for his best seller, Our Daily Manna, a faith devotional accessed daily by millions of people across the world, Kwakpovwe has started the New Year with a determination to accomplish two principal things.
Announcing his resolutions at different times at a recent service at the Manna Prayer Mountain both at Ogudu Ori-Oke and Lekki in Lagos, he promised to be a better father to his children and husband to his wife. Others who are to benefit from his improved outlook include staff of ODM. Another area of the cleric’s life which he seeks to mend is his physique.
Weighing about 95kg and a little under six-feet, Kwakpovwe told the congregation that he is going to take more time to keep fit. “My target is to run 50000 kilometres this year. Last year, I ran 40000 kilometres. I have set that target for myself, in order to improve on my physical attributes. Many men of God did not make it to 60 years because they give all their time to the spiritual. The truth is that you need to keep your body fit, in order to carry out the various spiritual assignments, otherwise, it will take a toll on your health.”
He said this routine physical exercise will be reinforced with rounds of swimming. “I sit for long hours to write ODM every day. Sometimes, I have pains in my lower back. I swim to get rid of the pain. My target is to swim 10 kilometres this year.”
The intensity with which he delivers the teachings in Our Daily Manna has forced Kwakpovwe into a tasking schedule. Unlike many preachers whose books are extracted from a compilation of their sermons, he continues to write distinct articles on a daily basis. This informs the fresh perspective of the issues discussed in ODM. Although, many ghost-writers have approached him, ostensibly to relieve him of the daunting obligation of writing the daily devotional, Bishop Chris says God has not given him the green light to abdicate that duty. So; he continues to write every day! Apart from ODM, he has written over 70 other titles!
Arguably one of the most prolific writers in the clergy, the sacrosanctity of his themes and the manner he draws from daily occurrences and history that his readers around the world can easily relate to buttress his arguments makes Our Daily Manna everyone’s personal experience. There is a hardly a reader who cannot find a narrative that reflects an aspect of his life. This ability to keep it real without pretense and always presenting himself as a forgiven man who is enjoying the mercy of God, have drawn many to him. He told his congregation who were listening intently, “I am not better than you. That is why I exhort you to depend on God and His awesomeness. I am not the one doing any of these things. All the glory for the diverse testimonies and miracle of healings that you hear and see around me should go to God. God is the miracle worker. God is the healer. I am as surprised as you are at all these things that are happening. I am nobody. There is no sophistication about me. My name is even difficult to pronounce. I come from a very remote village in Urhoboland in the Niger Delta of Nigeria. My village is not even on the map.”
Kwakpovwe is a veteran of facing wicked and wild winds of contrived rumours and riding through the turbulence to unbelievable triumphs. He acknowledges that only God could have helped him overcome. He is a firm believer in the Biblical axiom that a righteous man can rise again from his fall as many times. His expectation, which is, mainly informed by experience of the past gives him the assurance that as long as he places his trust in God, he will emerge from the tribulations stronger and wiser.
Meanwhile, the Manna Prayer Mountain, an interdenominational ministry, alongside users of ODM worldwide, which he heads are on a 21-day fast which will culminate with an all-night session of worship, praise and prayers at the Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos on Friday, January 26. This year, the theme is ‘Change of Garment Night’.
Looking ahead into the New Year, he issued a message of hope. “With faith in God, every opposition bows to your destiny. However, you must realise that: It takes joy (gladness of heart) to connect with heaven’s divine plan for your life and ministry. Determine that nothing will steal your joy again! Pray very hard. Forgive everyone who hurts you. Read your bible and tell other people about the wonderful love of God. Then surely, every garment that is not meant for you will be torn and you will be decorated with a new garment of promotion and favour.”