January 18, 2022
Every relationship needs time and efforts. Every relationship requires a certain amount of quality time and lots of patience.
In our day-to-day life, no matter how busy we get, we tend to make time for our loved ones. When they are near, we spend time with them either during a meal, or tucking them to bed or by simply sitting next to them and watching television. Whereas when they are not within our sight, we tend to call them, drop a text or enquire about their well-being. Somewhere when we retrospect, we begin to understand that if we do not put efforts in talking to our near and dear ones, there would be an amount of retaliation and frustration. I know there are days when I feel like not talking to anyone and just not coming out of my closet, but due to the pressure of offending them I muster courage and spend some moments.
Like every relationship, our relationship with God is equally important. For most of us God is all powerful, the one who takes care of us and gives us what we want. Prayer is more or less the mode of communication we use to interact with God or spend time with him.
But what exactly is prayer? I have heard a lot of sermons and God’s men, saying that prayer is a communication with God. It's not just we asking, but it is seeking God and waiting for him to speak. Well, my prayer life has been very patronymic. There are those days where I shut the doors and wait on him and there are those days, when I cry but I feel that I don’t hear him. Most of the time, I tend to lose passion and interest, simply because I fail to hear him or do not understand how he wishes to communicate with me. There are other days where I absolutely do not put efforts to pray, owing to my schedule, work and other so called important activities. Most of the time it is laziness and nothing else.
Recently, when I was going through a rough phase in my prayer life because of my so-called busy activities, that’s when I remembered an incident from my childhood. Most of my summer vacations were spent in Mangalore, the one person who doted on me along with others was my grand mom. I loved both my maternal and paternal grandparents dearly and I was lucky to have them around, but I always shared a special bond with my paternal grand mom, Rosy Lobo. Even to this day, though she is in heavenly abode, I often miss her and remember moments with her.
She was a capable lady, short in stature (Most of them do compliment me, that I look like her) but bubbly and always active. She brought up 6 sons and 3 daughters, all by herself most of the years, while my grandpa was away at sea serving in the navy. Even after all her children got married and daughters-in-law took up the responsibility of household chores, she never sat idle, she always worked and did everything lovingly.
On one particular night when I was in Mangalore during my summer vacation, when I was around 6 or 7 years old, I noticed a small light flickering in the dining area. My grandparent’s house is huge and almost at night around 11 or 12, it seemed a little strange for the light to be flickering when the rest of the rooms were dark and all were enjoying a good sleep. A little scared, a little unsure I slowly woke up and walked towards it only to find my grand mom reading the Bible attentively. I stood near the door for some time and saw her read the Bible, and before her were a few more prayer books. I knew she was praying, not understanding much, I retired to sleep. The next morning, I did not ask her anything, but I began noticing her and this ritual continued for days and years.
After a few years, when I was nearly 15 years, I finally decided to ask and on one fine day, I sat next to Grand mom and asked her why she would sit up late at night and pray every day. I had seen her praying sometimes at 12, sometimes way beyond, if there was function or gathering at home. She never skipped a day, rain or cold or heat. I knew she would be tired after a full day of work and what she needed most at her age was a good sleep. So, I gently told her it was okay to skip, once in a while. God would not be angry. At this she blushes a little and looked at me and told me, “Darling God would otherwise also not be angry.” She told me she did not pray out of fear but out of love for God. She told me praying to God was like talking to one of her children. She said it's something she enjoys doing and no one had asked her or compelled her to do it. She told me she had begun praying, even before I was born. She said every night when she spent some moments in prayer, it filled her with strength for the next day. It gave her consolation for the bad moments that went by in the day and above all, she felt peace.
She went on to tell me, it's not that every day she has the strength to sit for hours. There were days she would pray just for 5 minutes and there were nights she would sometimes sit for more than an hour. It was not just a routine but it was a part of her life. She told me, those moments she spent in prayer, never felt like a burden to her because she knew God would always show up before she showed up. No matter, what milestone she had achieved that day, but the time she spent in prayer was the most beautiful and effective part of her life. True to what she said, every time I visited my native, I saw her continue her personal prayers until she started losing her memory. Unfortunately, in her last few years, she could not sit for personal prayers. But I am sure, in her own ways, she would have continued to communicate with Jesus and he, in turn, would have spoken to her.
Recalling this conversation with my grand mom, I realized how important personal prayers were. My grand mom lived to a ripe age of 85, she was an amazing daughter, a dutiful wife, loving mother, doting grandmother. She fulfilled all her roles perfectly and I am sure her strength and grit came from the Almighty. Every night those quiet moments she spent with Jesus gave her the required push and vigour to live each day beautifully.
No matter what others said, I had seen my dad or uncles sometimes telling her to sleep and not strain herself, but she had not paid heed to any of it and quietly continued her prayers. I began to realize, prayer should not be a burden, only then one will continue to pray. Prayer will become less of a burden and more of a passion when we are able to build a relationship with the one whom we are praying to. Building a relationship requires time and some effort.
I then decided to spend a few minutes every day in personal prayer. I was no longer worried about the time. Some days I could not even sit for 5 minutes and some days I could sit for longer. I have begun to slowly build my personal space with God and have begun to enjoy it. I have begun to understand that even before I show up, Jesus is there waiting for me.
Every day as I end my personal prayers, I do not forget to remember my darling grand mom, because she was the one who taught me what it meant to pray and be there studiously waiting for the one who created us.
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