It was 11 PM, the usual time for our family prayer. I was still reading a book about David Livingstone, the Missionary who explored Africa. As I gazed through some pictures of that book, my dad called me for the family prayer. Though I was so tired after the long day, I took my hymnbook and Bible and sat near my mom. It was my turn to select the hymn for the day. I opened my hymnbook and said, “Number 156 - Sweet hour of Prayer.”
As usual, my brother started scratching the guitar. “Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer, that calls me from a world of care.” Actually we should sing “Sweet minutes of prayer, Sweet minutes of prayer ” because we never had a complete hour of prayer. Even though I was singing, my thoughts went here and there. (switch off the lights here) Suddenly the lights went off. I stopped singing and sat close to my mother. I looked around to make sure that I was not in Kerala. I could see nothing but sheer darkness- darkness everywhere. (slowly start sound effects of crickets, frogs and owls) I felt as if I was going through a jungle. It looked like the African Jungle where David Livingstone was attacked by a lion. I could hear the voice of a thousand crickets singing along with frogs - even the humming sound of owls and bats hanging on treetops. (increase the sound effects add s.e of wolves and continue)
I did not look at them because I knew that I would scream if I see them. (start sound effects of wind and thunder also) The wind was very heavy that it almost flew me away. (flash) I never thought that a Jungle would be so fierce. I was so scared. But I walked forward to find a way out. (flash) Although the lightning showed me the way, the thunder was so scaring. It was going to rain and I did not have an umbrella with me. (flash) I ran towards a big tree to hide myself from the lightning. But the rain started pouring out. I could hear wolfs crying fiercely at some distance. Lightning and thunder continued for long. Suddenly I saw something on my way. (Sound effects of a lion) Entammo…. it was a big lion, a real big one like Zimba. I was so frightened when it roared.
But then I heard some one shouting behind me. (BG voice: “Run Merril run, run for your life”) I did not turn to see who it was. He was also running after me. I asked him who he was. He said he was David Livingstone. (Start sound effects of rain, reduce other s.effects) I was so happy that I found somebody who knew the jungle routes very well. The lion was still chasing us followed by thunder and heavy rain. As we were running we saw lights at some distance. (start limbo drum beat) I thought we were safe in that village. We could hear the limbo dancers beating the drums with all their might. We almost reached that village. But when Livingston said it is a group of cannibals, I couldn’t stop screaming “AiYohhhhhhh” (Stop all sound effects, flash and switch on the lights)
Now the lights have come. Thank God it was only a nightmare! My poor parents were still struggling with the last stanza of “Sweet hour of prayer” and I joined them in the last stanza. I have decided to be attentive in our family prayer so that I don’t have to go back to dark Africa again.
Dear friends, do you have the habit of sleeping during family prayers? If you do, please stop it and learn to be attentive. If we are not attentive, God also will not attend our prayers. Let us learn to offer meaningful prayers in the coming days.