Despite the heavy rain and traffic, I braved Ortigas last Tuesday because I needed to get my hands on this new book written by one of my coolest OJT Supervisors back in ISACC days: Sir Rei Lemuel Crizaldo! Woot woot! Yes, my dear friends, I’m one of the firsts to have had witnessed this book in flesh before the Manila International Book Fair 2013 opened yesterday and before this book’s formal launch on Saturday at 1pm at OMF Literature’s booth at MIBF (make sure you’ll have the time to go there because the author will be there to sign your very own copies of his book)!
Several months ago, I heard that Sir Rei would be writing a book about prayer. Initially, I thought: why prayer? I honestly think that this wouldn’t be something that most people my age might be interested in, unlike love stories, sci-fi, novels and such. But kudos to his courage, I definitely salute what he had done in the book!
The book is entitled Connected Ka Ba? (How to Pray Kahit Lo-batt Ka Na) which only contains 93 pages worth of read. It is very light that you could finish it in a matter of 1 (if you’re a fast reader) to 2.5 (or a slow one, like me) hours. The number of pages and the hours you’re going to read it doesn’t equate to the insights that you may gain or may be enlightened about as you go through the book. Not only that, I promise you that it’s enjoyable. I never thought Sir Rei had this sense of humor. Haha! There were parts that made me laugh and say to myself: Oo nga, noh? In all fairness with this book, #mahusay.
At the early discussions in it, I was glad to see a familiar name being quoted. I mean, it’s not everyday you see a Marshall McLuhan being quoted on a particular book outside your readings back in College. As a Communication Research graduate, McLuhan played a vital role in all of my exams back in my very first year-first semester in College. So, seeing him in the book gives me a jolt of joy like bumping with an old friend across a street in a city you haven’t been to. Lol. Babaw.
Anyways, according to McLuhan: We shape our tools and then our tools shape us. Technology has unleashed its power of changing the way we view our world, especially when it comes to social media. Nowadays, everybody gets connected easily. We are the children of the digital age where Facebook comes second after brushing our teeth in the morning. The book tackled the reality of how convenient we think it would be for us if we were to find God in these social media applications we are so hyped about. Maybe then, praying would be easier. Maybe then, we could not just guess what God is telling us since He could directly comment on our status or PM us whenever He wanted to say anything or whenever He wanted to answer all our questions and requests. E di sana, ang dali ng buhay!
I love how the book reminded me that prayer is always personal. That each of us got different styles when it comes to praying – some sing it, dance it, write it, talk to God about it, being silent, staring at the ceiling like gazing stars at the top of a mountain, etcetera. It varies for every person. The book integrated how our culture as Filipinos somehow affects the way we behave when it comes to praying. Since we Filipinos have this ability to comprehend non-verbal actions impeccably, we also express ourselves non-verbally – if we can’t say what we want, we act it out. And yet, no two Filipinos pray the exact same way. It is a beauty to witness that even when we’re very similar, we are also very different.
“…Alam niyang sapat na kahit ang buntong-hininga para maipa-abot sa Diyos anuman ang laman ng kanyang kalooban.”
And even when we are different, the Lord just understands each of us perfectly. I love it! Shows you that the God we serve is not a puny God., right?
The book is honest in a way that it says how our motives and actions have consequences in our prayer life. You know how sometimes we harbor sin in our hearts and that hinders God from hearing us? This is one of the things I fear, that God won’t hear me because I let myself be covered with sin. That doesn’t mean to say that God is angry at us when we sin, He is angry at sin and He loves us so greatly that Forgiveness is always waiting in the wings. We just have to choose it. When we confess and let go of our most treasured sin, He is faithful and just to hear our petitions.
“Don’t worry. Hindi naman maramot ang Diyos sa pag-scan at pag-delete sa mga kasalanang nagagawa natin.”
What’s more overwhelming is that not only He hears us when we call but God wanted His children to call Him, Father. Nux, close na close!
“…Sa madaling salita, hindi ka basta-basta lalapit sa Diyos na makapangyarihan at kabanal-banalan. Pero binaliktad ito ni Jesus. Sabi Niya chill lang tayo. Let’s call the Lord, ‘Dad.’“
Therefore, if He’s our Dad and we are His children, we don’t only ask from Him, we also need to listen to what He has to say about whatever it is that we are going through, right? Prayer is communication – we speak, we listen. Most times, just like many of us, I tell the Lord all I wanted to say and I intentionally forget to listen to what He has to say about me. It’s like He hasn’t responded yet but I already put the phone down. We work that way, we are creatures of convenience. Sometimes, we think that the Lord is not giving us answers, that He’s just not there when we need Him when we were the ones who can’t bear His answers we could find in silence.
“Prayer is when you realize and take God as your environment. He is always there, always speaking. It is a matter of paying attention.”
I love that the book doesn’t just discuss how we pray for ourselves but the need for us to pray for other people. It is called interceding for others. I liked how the book said this:
“Sa mata ng Diyos, hindi rin tama ang manalangin para sa sarili lang natin. Dahil ang lahat ng bagay ay magkakaugnay, mararapat lang na ang lahat ng tao ay marunong makiramay.“
There are a lot of insights that I got from the book but my ultimate favorite was the realization that prayer is our life, it is the way we live. When we pray more, we depend on God more. Thus, our relationship with Him grows intimately. Whatever we do could be an act of prayer, an act of full dependence to that Someone we call Father. I think it is super nice to know that even God is an Almighty, He desires a relationship with us – a nobody. And for that, I am grateful.
Prayer is, indeed, an exciting journey after all. :)