The Story Behind Our Kenyan Prayer

I found the story of our Kenyan Prayer on this website. Which has an entire Kenyan Eucharistic Service written out and it is RICH, if you like that sort of thing. Here’s the story: 

“This [blessing] is based on an ancient litany of the nomadic Turkana ethnic group, from the north of Kenya. Its foundation as a curse on their enemies has been transformed into a blessing. Traditionally the Turkana, with a dramatic sweep of their arms to the west, would send all their problems, difficulties, and works of evil to the Karamajong, a nomadic ethnic group in what is now Uganda. When a group of Turkana who had migrated southwards became Christians, their Kenyan evangelist stressed Jesus’ call to love our enemies and suggested that instead of sending those things to the Karamajong they should send them to the setting sun [though still westward] . . . During the Provincial Liturgical Conference theologians from the dioceses in the west of Kenya complained, ‘Well, no wonder we are having problems; you are sending them all to us.’ A revision was called for. Since it began as a curse, curses in the New Testament were considered. In Galatians 3:13 Paul, writing about the cross, stated that ‘Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us.’ Therefore the revised blessing replaced the phrase ‘to the setting sun’ with ‘to the cross of Christ’ and the phrase ‘on the risen sun’ with ‘on the risen Christ.’ This has proved to be a very powerful end to the services as the people three times sweep their arms towards the cross, the only place in heaven and on earth which can cope with all our problems, difficulties, and the devil’s works. The physical sensation of movement, and the whole congregation joining in with it, are finally very moving.”

Graham Kings, Offerings, p. 25.







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