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Call to Prayer - LivingRoom

7 July, 2005 12:19 AM

Tonight at LivingRoom we got together for our first 'big event' where our three smaller communities got together for the first time since multiplying. It was nice to see everyone (including my own group who we've missed gathering with since being away in June). We also had six visitors along which is always a nice thing.

We started the night off with a couple of people sharing stories from their life (we call it a minute with 'insert name here' - although it generally goes longer than a minute). We also fare-welled and prayed for a family who is going away for six months to Oxford on study leave (very sad).

After those stories we had dinner (soup, bread, wine, tart, salad) and caught up. After dinner each of the three groups talked about their first 5 weeks of meeting separately. The reports were generally positive although the groups being smaller now has both positives (more intimate and participatory) and weaknesses (it's hard when people are away to get things done). The groups have largely been doing some of the things we did when we first started LivingRoom 2.5 years ago. In particular one of the main things we've been doing is 'time lines'/storytelling of our lives to one another. This has been most enlightening for some.

After this sharing time we briefly talked about leadership and then had a time of reflection which I led.

I reflected on being in Turkey and hearing the call to prayer 5 times each day. I actually found the call to prayer to be a very meaningful thing whilst over there (as I have on previous trips to Islamic Countries). The idea of a daily rhythm of prayer that permeates each day is one that captures me every time I consider it.

I've been reflecting upon my own daily rhythms since returning home and wondering where the calls to prayer are in my own life. The calls to stillness, the calls to relationship with God and others, the calls to healthy living and life.

Coming home from holidays is an ideal time to think through one's daily rhythm and to make some changes.

After sharing on this for a while I played an Islamic call to prayer (one of these mp3s) and asked the group to reflect on their own daily rhythms. I also showed them an english translation which I find quite challenging in and of itself.

To hear something like this five times a day from before sunrise until after dusk could be a very meaningful experience that could really help draw one to God - I wonder how I could do something similar in my own day.

Comments

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Christians have always had a tradition of regular prayer (as did Jesus, the apostles). The liturgy of the hours, or the daily office, lectionaries....you don't need to go to Islam to find that.

» 7 July, 2005 6:02 AM

Once again - evidence that Darren and his so called 'LivingRoom' is going off the rails.

Glenn » 7 July, 2005 9:28 AM

Furthermore - I can't believe a 'Christian' group like this would allow an Islamic prayer to be played in their service. This reeks of evil. What were you thinking?

This makes me really angry. When you could have been doing something Christian together you did the exact opposite and participated in a pagan act.

Glenn » 7 July, 2005 9:48 AM

Thanks for those comments Glenn and 'anon'. I appreciate your concern - let me clarify a couple of things before this blows up too much...

I wasn't encouraging those at LivingRoom last night to turn to Islam to find their rhythm of prayer - rather I was using it as an example of how one faith does it.

I admire this aspect of Islam - which doesn't mean I'm about to rush off and embrace the religion.

As I look at the Islamic Call to prayer there are things about it that I strongly resonate with and could pray myself. The idea of God being great, that there being no God except God is actually something I pray.

If I were to write my own call to prayer I would probably do it a little differently - I'd probably leave out a line or two and add others to acknowledge my love for Jesus - however the point of last night was not to pray an Islamic prayer but to challenge us all to consider our own daily rhythms and how we might call ourselves to engage with God through our own days.

Anon - I agree with you fully that there are plenty of ways that Christians have done similar things over the centuries - we've explored some of these over the years at LivingRoom and I've personally engaged with numerous of them. They are wonderfully rich things that mean a lot to me.

Whilst we didn't do any of them last night I think it'd be great for us to continue to explore them - thanks for the reminder. Having said that - last night came out of something I'd experienced first hand for a couple of weeks while travelling that had challenged me in my own faith - so it seemed appropriate to share out of that experience last night.

Anyway - thanks for your concern and comments. I hope this clarifies a bit where I'm coming from.

Darren » 7 July, 2005 10:10 AM

I reckon it's a great idea Darren in terms of learning from the commitment and discipline to their faith that the Muslims have. i wonder how much our own spiritual lives would be transformed by Jesus if we were disciplined enough to spend time with Him 5 times a day?

Digger » 7 July, 2005 11:32 AM

I think what Darren has highlighted here is the practice of having a schedule of daily prayer. I agree with this. I personally have found that praying daily does not happen automatically. It is a habit which must be cultivated. If you dont make praying a habit, chances are that you pray very little - cos its not something that happens by default.

Its true that Christians had tradition of regular prayer. In fact a documentary called "Transformations" by the Sentinels documents how believers in Cali City, Colombia came together across denominations for prayer and saw powerful drug cartels brought down. But I suspect that many more of us could learn from these incidents. If what we see about prayer in tradition, could be replicated in our cities today this world would be very different, wouldn't it?

Jonathan Anchen » 7 July, 2005 1:35 PM

Great reflection Darren. I've been following the practice of a daily office from a book in Celtic Prayer by a David Adam called The Rythmn of Life (Amazon is the only place that I know that has it). It is a wonderful entry point for me of the reality of God into my self-absorbed day. It is most powerful when done with others- the thought of a committed group of people doing it is very empowering.

Andrew M » 7 July, 2005 3:32 PM

Thanks Andrew,

Great suggestion. I'll check it out when I get my next Amazon voucher.

Appreciate the suggestion.

darren » 7 July, 2005 3:42 PM

What a great idea to play the call for prayer. I love your open attitude.. there is alot we can learn from other religions!

lillian » 7 July, 2005 8:01 PM

Hi Darren,
Welcome back from your trip!! I hope you had a wonderful time, I'm quite jealous. I've been reading a book that analyses Brother Lawrence' "The Practice of the Presence of God" and its antecedents in Moorish Spain. Anyway the book said something along the lines of (and I don't know if this is true) that the regular Catholic 'offices' were introduced after contact with the Spanish Muslims. ie. they too were inspired by the notion of the regular set times for prayers.

You could always download an Islamic prayer timer like CyberSalat and rig the mp3 files (replace the Muslim ones) to play some hymns or the Lord's Prayer ;)

Cheers
Maryam

Maryam » 7 July, 2005 10:29 PM

Last night at LivingRoom I really appreciated Darren's sharing of the idea of a daily rhythm of prayer using the Islamic Call to prayer as an illustration. Although I cannot (and will not) say that "I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God" (as the Word of God doesn't say so), I agree that there are things about it that I can surely resonate with, especially the discipline of putting prayer as priority in our lives and that God is most great and worthy of worship.

Kitty » 8 July, 2005 12:14 AM

Interesting thoughts about the islamic prayers. This reminds me of two experiences I've had.

The first was at WOMAD music festival in adelaide - there was a pakistani vocalist named nasrat fateh ali khan playing. I fell asleep on the ground and woke up with a real uncomfortable feeling in my spirit. I looked around and there were people everywhere with eyes closed, plams up in trance like prayer.

The second was when I went to sleep one day with the soundtrack of natural born killers playing (ok controversial movie but some excellent music). Same thing - woke up with un uncomfortable feeling in my spirit, right in the middle of a similar piece of music, incidentally by the same artist. He has since passed away - shame because he had a magnificent voice.

For the record I am a follower of Jesus' teachings.

bigreddog

bigreddog » 10 July, 2005 10:16 AM

You're right to admire these things about Islam, Darren. During a recent trip to the Middle East, I too became fascinated by how much more committed Muslims are to Allah than Christians are to Jesus (Obviously, I'm talking about the population as a whole). I also admired the absolute and unflinching faith that Allah inspires. Well, to cut a long story short, I was so impressed that I even went so far as to repeat the words that Kitty (above) won't say. I repeated them three times in front of some Muslim friends, and now I am happier, and closer to the one true God than ever before. You folks should try it.

Ben » 15 October, 2005 3:00 AM

Personally, I think there is nothing wrong with you using the Islamic call to prayer as an example. I see the point that you were trying to make with it and rather unfortunately some insecure individuals who feel uncomfortable with a notion that they're unfamilliar with had to highlight this.

Mira » 18 February, 2006 10:35 PM

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