Meru Prayers: How Traditional Merus Worshipped


Last time, we spoke about God in the traditional Meru concept. Today, let’s look at prayers. how did the Meru people pray?

Private prayers

In whatever the Mumeru did, he would invoke God. That’s why, even today, when you observe closely, our old grandparents who never went to church pray every time. Or at least look heavenwards and say a word. Then, as is now, everything that happened because God enabled it to happen. That’s why they wouldn’t say, “See you tomorrow.”… It always was, “If God wishes, I will see you tomorrow.”

Prayers themselves happened every morning before sunrise and evening, soon after sunset… facing the sun.

“We Murungu, Kini Kiiru ningukuria unthethie mbithire ndiina twana tutwingi, twiji na tukenye. Nani ngukuria umpe ng’ombe na mburi cha kubarera.” (Almighty God, I ask you to give me many children, boys and girls. And I ask you to give me cows and goats to feed them).

Public Prayers

The Meru always used to say prayers during gatherings and meetings. Okay, at the end of the meetings and not at the start because traditionally, the Merus did not observe time, they set meetings in days and people would just start coming in and move there was enough quorum, the meeting would just start.

Let’s say the meeting was at my home. My name Mwenda; so as an elder I would be called M’Mwenda (read as Ntomwenda). A Njuri Ncheke elder would be selected to lead the prayers at the end of the meeting while everyone else responded:

Leader: Ndaikia mata nja ya M’Mwenda irobua (I pray that the family of M’Mwenda be blessed).
Response: Thaai (Yes God).
Leader: Ndaikia mata M’Mwenda arokuria (I pray M’Mwenda gets children who grow, survive and multiply).
Response: Thaai (Yes God).
Leader: Agakuria (They will grow, survive and multiply)
Response: Thaai (Yes God).
Leader: Twiiji na tukenye (Boys and girls).
Response: Thaai (Yes God).
Leader: Tukonanairua (People will be pointing at them)
Response: Thaai (Yes God).
Leader: Ya Kirimara na Njaambene (Like the mountains – Mt. Kenya and Nyambene Hills)
Response: Thaai (Yes God).
Leader: Ndaikia mata antu baa bonthe barokuria (I pray that all these people shall grow their children)
Response: Thaai (Yes God).
Leader: Naani ndirokuria (And I also get children who grow, survive and multiply)
Response: Thaai (Yes God).

Don’t ask me why they were specifically praying for children who grow, survive and multiply. We just love children and we want as many as possible 🙂

Other Spirits

Apart from God, the Ameru also believed that there were evil and good spirits roaming the earth. These were:

Spirits of our ancestors – Merus believed that the spirits of the of the good dead were roaming free in the world looking after the community. That’s why before any meal they would pour a little for the ancestors’ spirits.

Nthaka cha Ngai – These were also good spirits who were God’s warriors and were protecting them.

Nkoma – There used to be spirits that were said to be living in hideouts like caves and dense forests and could strike if they were disturbed. The spirits were in several forms; such as large snakes. Sacrifices were made to appease the spirits if the snakes were ever killed; It is still a taboo to kill a python. Other trees like the mugumo were said to be harboring spirits and even if the trees fell down, no one would dare touch them (A mugumo tree fell in Nyeri this week, have you sacrificed?)

Via The Standard

Do you know what or how Gichiaro was formed? Watch out for the next episode of The menu Story.

MainPic source: Forum.Ge

2 Comments to “Meru Prayers: How Traditional Merus Worshipped”

  1. There is a small issue I think you should do more research on. The existence of spirits , yes we used to believe of their existence. The spirits used to be good and bad spirits.
    The good spirits were the ones called “Nkoma ” and people used to pour libations to Nkoma cia Ba yùyù, the bad spirits were called “Mairíí” . They are ones which were associated with invasion of people’s peace, torment and do all evil to the community. They would be wished away by appeasing the Good spirits to drive them away.


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