By Gabriel Omonhinmin
The Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) was established in 1941, and can conveniently be regarded as the first Aladura Pentecostal church in Nigeria and Africa.
The church emerged in the first half of the 20th century, after a split from the Faith Tabernacle founded in 1931, as an affiliate of the Apostolic Church with general headquarters in the United Kingdom.
The church was founded by Apostle Joseph Ayodele Babalola, a road construction driver, who also spearheaded its growth.
The revival led by Apostle Babalola during his time, resulted in thousands of pagans and traditional fetish believers renouncing their former beliefs and burning their idols.
The fame that followed this spiritual feat, not only surprised the then colonial masters but frightened them into looking closely into the affairs of Babalola and his church.
At some point, the colonial authorities became disturbed, as there were numerous allegations though unfounded against the Apostle as he was alleged to be involved in witch-hunting of people, opposing modern methods of treatment in the hospitals and the general efficacy of medicine against the spiritual methods of praying and receiving healings, which the then fiery preacher believed.
Babalola was subsequently arrested by the Colonial Masters and jailed for a while. One hundred and eighteen years after his birth, and eight-one years after this incident, CAC which now operates in major cities of the world, such as the United States of America, United Kingdom, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Republic of Ireland, Austria, Australia, South Africa, the Ivory Coast, Togo and Chad, just to mention a few.
The church became famous for audacious prayer methods. Sixty-three years after Apostle Babalola’s death, Nigeria, his birthplace, is again preparing for a major election, and as the 2023 presidential election approaches, political office seekers that cut across all tiers of governments are daily trooping to various mountains where Apostle Babalola once prayed while alive to seek for miracles.
Barren women, those with failed marriages, single ladies and men searching for love, businessmen, students and people with sundry problems daily besiege these Prayer Mountains associated with Apostle Babalola across the length and breadth of the South West Region of Nigeria seeking for one favour or another.
While some are praying out their problems, others are seeking solutions to their problems. Curiously, Trumpet Newspaper decided to accompany some church faithful to visit some of these prayer mountains, in a deliberate effort to find out first-hand what happens in these mountains.
At the Ori Oke Aanu (Mountain of Mercy) the first mountain where Apostle Babalola first Prayed while alive, The Trumpet Newspaper Culture and Religion Editor met a large number of worshipers at the place.
In the basement of the mountain, there was a full-fledged church in session where prayer services are conducted thrice daily.
The mountain is properly maintained to accommodate thousands of visitors that visit daily, weekly and monthly.
It is a kind of religious museum to millions of CAC and non-CAC pilgrims, who throng the place throughout the year.
At the top of the rock which has a flat surface, there is a large altar. This was the first mountain used by Apostle Babalola. Babalola was alleged to have knelt do on top of this flat surface of the rock praying and seeking God’s face for hours non-stop.
There are slightly pierced spots on top of the rock, which people believed are the marks of Babalola’s knees after several hours of kneeling praying.
This is, however, very difficult to authenticate as there is no scientific proof to buttress this claim. Pastor Ayoade is quick to say that Apostle Babalola’s knees pierced through the rock, leaving those marks on top of the rock after long hours of prayers.
Trumpet’s efforts to speak with Baba Ori Oke, a senior pastor who supervises activities and prayers at the mountain, were not possible. Our editor was told that Baba was not available to speak.
In the basement of the mountain are various church activities from January to December every year lined up for visitors and non-visitors. Some CAC ministers are seen supervising what people do at the foot of the mountain.
These ministers tell people what to do or not to do in that environment. Some of these Ministers are ever ready and willing to give bizarre accounts about the late Apostle’s spiritual exploits.
Pastor Oredeyin Oyemande told Trumpet Newspaper, “During the late Apostle Babalola’s lifetime, he was gifted with enormous powers that he could travel overseas for missionary works or crusade without the use of aeroplanes or ships.”
Asked how this is possible, he said, “The late Apostle usually travelled abroad for such missionary works, as all he needed to do to get to where is going was to gather his ministers for prayers and instantly they would be spiritually transported as they disappeared into thin-air and arrived at their destination.
He added, “Sometimes, while preaching in his missionary days, the angel will lift his two legs and he will begin to move and float in the air without his feet touching the ground.”
He concluded, “We were told, by the people who worked directly with him, that the late Apostle Babalola was able to pray on his knees without standing up from one spot for three months.”
In the same basement, there is public notice of church activities. There were other incredible stories told to the Trumpet Newspaper reporter, about Apostle Babalola’s exploits before he moved to Oke Ara Ikeji. A place where Apostle Babalola was said to have begun his Ministry.
The activities here are similar to what is obtainable in Ori OkeAanu. Asked why the similarity in operations, the reporter was told that the CAC church coordinates all the activities of these various mountains.
In Ibadan in Akinyele Local Government Area, a mountain whose name is never mentioned publicly, neither to the press, whether print or electronic media. People there say it is the instruction from God that the name of the place should never be mentioned.This mountain can only be accessed by only men.
In Osun State there is Ikoyi Mountain in Ikire, a large number of worshipers gather there daily for all manner of prayers and institutions. Ori OkeIdo-Ile in Ido-Ile Ekiti State is another place also known and associated with the late Apostle Babalola. In this place, there are 700 staircases, before getting to the summit of the mountain.
There are three places in between the rock or mountain where people pray, the first cave and the second cave of the mountain is accessible to every man or woman who goes there to pray.
The third place which is the summit of the mountain is reserved exclusively for Pastors and other men of God alone. Pastor Enoch Adeboye, of Redeemed Christian Church of God, Bishop David Oyedepo of Winners Church, and Bishop Abiara are said to be among other known Pastors, who have been to this mountain to occasionally pray and for supplication.
Another popular mountain people troop to daily is Ori Oke Babalola in Odu Owa in Kwara State. Another prayer mountain is cited in Efon-Alaye, the birthplace and where the late Apostle Ayodele Babalola was buried.
Pastor David Adetunji is one of the Pastors, who frequent these prayer mountains for prayers and supplications. The Trumpet Newspaper asked him to share light on what really happens in these mountains.
He was asked, do people honestly believe that people who frequent these prayer points get answers to all their prayer requests when they visit these mountains for prayers.
“Yes! I say with all certainty that most people get answers to their prayers when they visit these places for prayers. Especially people who come with clean hands and clean minds for supplications.
The God we serve can’t be mocked or deceived. People, who are honest in what they seek, get their prayers answered. As you can see all around, people come to these places from far and near. Some people from so many cities in Europe come over here to seek the face of God.
If their prayer request is not answered immediately, it will invariably be answered with time. As you are very much aware, no one can force God to do what he doesn’t want to do. God does whatever he wants to do, at its own time only.”
Asked if he has personally witnessed any miracle in any of the mountains he has been visiting. Pastor Adetunji said, “Yes! I have witnessed several miracles performed during prayer sessions in some of these mountains.
I have been especially the one in Ibadan whose name is never mentioned. In that place, all manners of miracles happened there daily. “If it was a joke, why do you think hundreds of politicians keep vigil here day and night praying to God for what they want?
The politicians that are not physically present here must have Pastors praying on their behalf for God’s mercy.” Another Pastor Johnson Adesina Olorufemi, also insisted that miracles are performed daily on various mountains. “Oftentimes, the mountain is the right place for Ministers of God to refresh and rejuvenate spiritually.
If a true man of God leaves the mountain after a certain number of days, weeks or months, it depends on such a person’s ability to persevere; he is never the same person again whenever he gets back to base, The Trumpet gathered.
“Most Pastors also receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost while they are on the mountain top for prayers. He continues, from the mid-1920s when several Christians in Nigeria became seekers of the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues and the release of power.
“Through the diligent searching of the scripture, while on the mountain top praying, they can access the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit baptism is still a valid experience to be sought and received by any Pastor who is determined to serve God in truth and honesty.
As you can see, most people have varied reasons for coming to these mountains for prayers. The place to be when you are seeking the face of God in anything is the mountain.
“Some women and men who thought they could never find answers to their peculiar problems get their redemption here. Some are delivered from age-long problems and afflictions once they find the time to visit these mountains and feverishly pray.
Asked if going to the mountains to pray is scriptural? Pastor Olorunfemi said, yes. It is written in the bible how Jesus went to the mountain to pray.
He stressed that “People should always learn to seek the Kingdom of God first and every other thing will follow. A man or woman who seeks God first in everything can never lack till the end of his life.”