Pastor Mensa Otabil has warned his congregation never to disturb his sleep with prayer requests.
According to him, the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC), which he founded, is designed to teach and grow leaders who are able to take charge of their lives and not be dependent on their pastors.
Preaching at the 34th anniversary service of ICGC on Sunday, 4 March, Dr Otabil said: “Here we don’t teach dependence and that’s why I’m not going to say that everybody, after church come and see me for prayer; if you are going to travel come and see me for prayer, until I release you to go, you cannot travel”.
“We believe that God hears your prayer and we believe that you can pray for yourself and you can have answers from God, we believe that God is no respecter of persons because we want to raise a church of leaders, a church of people who are spiritually strong in God, and, who are able to rationally think and make decisions for themselves and so everything we teach here is design towards that.
“Now there are people who may come to this church and not appreciate that because some will come here and say: ‘Well, this church, there is no care for the people, there’s no love’ because they want the pastor to be there all the time, they want to come and knock on my door at 2am and tell [me] they swallowed a chewing gum and they don’t know what to do.
“Now I love you very much but I don’t think you should disturb my sleep because of that. I think you should be able to deal with your chewing gum after you swallow it at 2am. And that’s a true story. I’m not making it up. A friend of mine, a pastor, had a midnight call and the person came to him knocking: ‘Pastor I need help, pray for me’. ‘What happened? I was chewing my gum and I swallowed it’. Please wait, after eight hours, it will solve itself.
“But there are people who are so pastor-dependent that simple things like that they have to go to the pastor and sometimes pastors take pleasure in making people feel until they pray for you, until they prophesy to your life, until they speak into your life, something will never happen. I believe Christ in you is what makes the difference, Christ in you who is the hope of glory and what we need to do is to teach you to know that the force of God lives inside of you, the power of God lives inside of you, and to know how to harness that power to live your own life and I believe that everybody can live a victorious life in Christ Jesus”.