Basic building blocks of prayer
I was taught by my mother different ways of praying. My mother used to conduct morning as well as the evening prayers in the village church that would last 30 to 45 minutes. She had taken it up on her own and continued till she was unable to walk on her own to the church. As she was the only woman school teacher of the village she did this work joyfully and faithfully. Even though later many women teachers arrived in our village she gladly continued the work. She would always took me along with her to the church. She used to tell me even if you sleep in the church without praying God would love you more, “ so please give me company and come and sleep there in the church”. When I was very young most of the time that was the way I used to pray especially at 5.00 a.m in the morning. The primary and the most important part of prayer is to place one self in the milieu of prayer. As Ron Rolheiser would say formal prayer is faithfulness “in showing up oneself” is one of the basic building blocks of prayer.
Later on when I grew up I used help mother in conducting prayer services. Besides helping my mother there were other activities in the church that attracted me very much such as ringing the church bell to invite people for prayer, decorating the alter, and at times cleaning the church. For me the church was another home. The parish priest would come to say mass on a bullock cart once in 20 days or once in a month. For the rest the church was primarily run by my mother who was also good in singing hymns. Besides learning vocal prayers I also had learnt many hymns. Some times even now I use them as part of my formal prayer.