About a month ago, we had a new tenant in our residential plot. She came in to occupy the house that is just opposite mine. The evening she arrived, she came along with a bunch of people and they spent the whole evening and most of the night singing and praying (kind of like in a fellowship).
The following day was Saturday. They fellowshipped again in the morning and when the visitors had gone, she spent the day cleaning the house and putting her things in order. She was a lean woman with a rather masculine face and a brackish gaze. When I greeted her, she first leered at me as if I was the enemy she had been praying against and then replied “Morning too” in a coarse voice and went on with her sweeping. I couldn’t resist this rather strange feeling about her uncomely sense of demeanour.
When night came, she started praying again to God, crying and shouting at the top of her voice! Unfortunately, the walls of our houses are not very sound proof and so the shouting could reach almost everyone in the twelve houses.
The lady went on for some time, then I heard a student neighbour in the house next to mine click himself angrily and open his door raucously. Shortly, Job – the lady’s next-door neighbour, came out and knocked on her door.
“Lady,” he called out. “What the deuce do you think you’re doing? It’s latenight and… .”
“What?” she shouted, opening the door abruptly. I opened my door and stood by watching the ‘craic’. She had not even bothered to wipe away her mucus and tears. She stood at her doorsil like an angry lioness waiting to pounce on and devour her enemy. Other tenants came out of their houses too to witness the scary site.
“What do you want from me. Can’t you see I’m praying?” she asked, seeing that all were standing still, dry of words at her actions.
“You should stop this noise forthwith. We also pray, but not like you do, dinning at your loudest like a hornbill,” said Job. “We do a lot of sweet silent prayers in there. And you? It’s been barely two days since you came and we can’t sleep, at all! Can’t you see we have children who ought to be sleeping but are awake because of you?”
“Yes, tell her,” seconded the student. “I can’t even study, yet I have exams tomorrow.”
“I think this is my house and…,” she started explaining but Job wouldn’t allow her.
“What we’re saying is that pray silently, not like a gobshite. We aren’t objecting the fact that this is your new rented house.”
She glared at the people standing around and then said, “You’re all fools, standing here to stop me from praying to God. Children of the devil.” With that, she shut the door loudly and remained silent for the rest of the night. Everyone returned to their houses.
The following day, she packed back her stuff, called for a taxi and left the place without speaking further to anyone. I doubt her story will ever leave my mind.
I learnt a few things from this occurrence. Prayer is meant to be peaceful, if we want to live in peace with others.
Well, if you’re wondering, a prayer is simply a close communication with one’s supernatural being, whoever or whatever they conceive that being to be.
There are several things that people do when praying; talking is just one of them (not necessarily audibly). Other things to do include: kneeling, bowing severally, closing the eyes, lying in silence, reading a holy book, just whatever honourable thing one feels brings them close to their creator and facilitates communication.
I however find the following things wrong to do while praying:
- Shouting, especially in residential places
- Vainly repeating words
- Hurting one’s body
- Saying words that are meant to hurt other’s feelings
- Showing off.
Allow me to quote from the Bible as I am a Christian.
Matthew 6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 6:8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
I’d love to hear your opinion on this topic.