I have an on-off relationship with organised religion. Growing up, I practically lived in the local church, being too involved with organising, with building a stronger community. I left a lot of that behind when we moved away to another part of the city and between work and commuting, once-a-week mass was enough. I didn’t need more. God was in my heart – one didn’t need a building to find Him.
Funnily enough, it was while living in the UK that I fell in love with going to church, being welcomed unabashedly by the other locals, singing, being part of a larger family. We actually looked forward to Sunday mass, to hearing the Irish priest with his wry homilies, to being with the choir.
Moving back to India meant finding comfort in the old ways. And the old ways were not what they used to be. My visits to church now are few and far between, yet my relationship with the Divine has never been stronger. I pray, in silence and through my writing. I teach my son how to pray, and I teach him that learning ‘prayers’ by rote is just one way of communicating with God. My prayer is spontaneous. It is simple. My prayers are a lot of thank-yous and occasional requests. I’m trying to have more gratitude than lists for God. That is my prayer.
Prayer is power. It makes you feel strong, hopeful. When you believe in the power of prayer, all is not lost. It is a question of trust, of believing in something so much bigger, kinder, encompassing all the love in the universe. I want that kind of prayer in my life.
In Christian homes, the lighting of incense sticks for prayer is not so common. In our house, we light a lot of agarbathies, mostly for the fragrance. Yet this simple act of getting out the agarbathi holder (or DIY with a brass candlestick) and spreading the fragrance around the house, makes you slow down and think about your day and how it has been. It makes you reflect. That is prayer.
This year, for something different, I might try the Lakshmi Pooja Pack from Cycle Agarbathies. What better time than Diwali to bring in the Goddess, in a small way, to our home?
Do you pray? Do you have a specific time or place for prayer?
(This post is for the Everyone has a reason to pray blogathon by Cycle Pure Agarbathies)