She Taught Me to Pray

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.

 

From the archives:

 

 

 

 

 

By Sonal Lobo
Sonal Lobo, born and bought up in Bengaluru, is a postgraduate in commerce from Christ University, Bengaluru. She has been writing from the age of 10. Her writings have been published in a number of publications of repute. She has published two books 'Thoughts Sublime' and 'Whistling Words' both collection of poems and also contributed in various anthologies. Currently she is working as an HR counsellor in Bengaluru. You can reach her at sonal_chocolate@yahoo.co.in
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Comment on this article

  • srividhya mohan, Bangalore

    Sun, Jan 23 2022

    Beautiful writeup maa'm☺️👍

  • Asmath, Bangalore

    Sun, Jan 23 2022

    Lived reading this one Sonal. We have also been taught to love The Almighty and not be scared of him. Makes it easier and simple to pray because you do what you love❤

  • Sharon, UAE/Bangalore

    Fri, Jan 21 2022

    Loved it. Beautifully articulated

  • Dona Sanctis BS, Rome

    Fri, Jan 21 2022

    Dear sonal Lobo, Congratulations! A beautiful article. Thank you very much for highlighting the importance of personal prayer. Through your writings many will be inspired. Our darling God is with us always.

  • Annie, Bangalore

    Fri, Jan 21 2022

    Loved it. Your articles touch ones heart and that's all matters. Beautiful Sonal, you made me nostalgic.

  • Erin Monis, Managalore

    Fri, Jan 21 2022

    Good read. The role of grandparents is immense in shaping lives of young children. I very well remember, how my grandmom instructed and helped me to do a few household chores and also taught me to cook few basic food items, which helped me in the later years of my life when I had to stay independently. It's a little sorry state now that today the children are so occupied with their gadgets and other activities that they have no time to spend some time with their grandparents or visit them once in a while. I think parents are the bridge here and they must take necessary steps to keep children connected with their grandparents. Good article. Thought provoking sonal.

  • Astrid, Bangalore

    Wed, Jan 19 2022

    Loved the article. Bought back a lot of memories

  • Molly Flavia d'sa, Bangalore

    Wed, Jan 19 2022

    Good one beautifully written 😊 God bless you

  • Geeta D, Bangalore

    Wed, Jan 19 2022

    Beautifully expressed article Sonal. The strong roots do keep us grounded to the difficult times and our personal relationship with God helps us tide the storms of life. We definitely owe a lot to our parents and grandparents n the special lessons do leave a mark for life. May ur pen grow stronger n gve the audience more beautiful ones Sonal. Thanks .

  • Martha, Bangalore

    Wed, Jan 19 2022

    Very true. I remember my grandmom teaching me and my mother in law teaching my kids prayers in Konkani. It's a delight. Your writing definitely bought back some beautiful memories of my grandmom in the tiny village in outskirts of Mangalore. Love your writing style.

  • Smitha, Bangalore

    Wed, Jan 19 2022

    Beautifully written Son. 😊

  • Ivy Fernandes, Bengaluru

    Wed, Jan 19 2022

    Very well written dear Sonal.

  • Veena, Dubai

    Tue, Jan 18 2022

    Beautifully written Sonal!! God bless you!!

  • Santhosh, Mangalore

    Tue, Jan 18 2022

    Good one sonal !!

  • Richard D'Souza, Mangalore

    Tue, Jan 18 2022

    It's a very beautiful writeup. U have exppressed it very well . Seeing for more writeings like this all the best

  • Elan Rodrigues, Bangalore

    Tue, Jan 18 2022

    I'm sure this article reminded us all of our lovely grandmothers. Beautifully written!❤️

  • Jenifer Rebecca, Bangalore

    Tue, Jan 18 2022

    Awesome 😍😍 I was actually visualizing my grand mom too there. Everything what you said is very true and very well expressed. I wish you all the luck to write many more like this and inspire many youngsters to get in love with God.

  • shahbaz tharannum, Bangalore

    Tue, Jan 18 2022

    Beautiful writeup Sonal. I could picture all the little details you mentioned 🙂 Also, it reminded me of my grandma😊

  • Anil Dsouza, Halealve

    Tue, Jan 18 2022

    Prayer is thoughtful way of talking to a higher power. Your article reminds me of simpler times sans the social media clutter, during which speaking to God, I guess was easier. You take care..

  • Ray, Mangalore

    Tue, Jan 18 2022

    Such a beautiful writing. Really touched my heart Sonal My mom is no more, your writing reminded me her and her immense love for my kids. Keep up dear girl.

  • Reema, Bangalore

    Tue, Jan 18 2022

    Your Thoughts are beautiful just like your words and so is you. Every time I read your write ups, it just makes me smile. This article reminded me of my grandma and her evening shouting calling everyone to gather for rosary. Beautiful writing by a beautiful person.

  • Daniel, Mangalore

    Tue, Jan 18 2022

    Very nice! But with worldly noise... including News, television, music and mostly OUR OWN continuous Thoughts / Fears / Anxieties will not allow us to hear God's gentle whispers. So to pray from the heart not from the mind, one needs to surrender one's senses to God before prayers so one's mind does not get disturbed or wandered. Then it will be prayer from the heart. ........ Quick way of controlling the mind saying or thinking following...No guilt thoughts, No guilt deeds, No judgements, No omissions, imbibing God's spirit of humility or purity or love peace, joy. Daily Rosary is a beautiful prayer giving one one Roses to God through Mother Mary. Which itself is a Bible as with it's 3 or 4 mysteries, human redemption or salvific work of God from slavery of one's own sins or guilts, is meditated and which makes one blissful over the time.


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