Fantastic Ordinary and the Performance of Everyday Life

Researcher: Adelakun, Abimbola Adunni

Research Project: Fantastic Ordinary and the Performance of Everyday Life

Region: Nigeria/West Africa

My research during the fellowship year proposes studying “violent prayers,” a radical strain of the Pentecostal praxis of spiritual warfare. Violent prayers typically feature the simulations of violence and insurrectional speech as a bid to overthrow the forces militating against social flourishing. The church groups/denominations that engage in violent prayers appropriate the language of blood and gore. They also use the registers of modern warfare to create the rites and rhetoric that will vanquish both human enemies and demonic collaborators. Their description of their prayers as “violent” unsettles their mainstream counterparts, but they insist their rites are consistent with Christian theology. In their worship, it is not uncommon to hear loud intonations of “Die in the name of Jesus!” as they litigate their cases through prayer.