The Muslim Challenge

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

How important is prayer? We would quickly say that it is extremely important in the Judeo-Christian heritage.

But look how seriously Muslims are taking the responsibility to pray. They have a five times a day ritual, the Adhan, which is the call to prayer. During the Adhan devout Muslims face Mecca and pray – five times a day!

Because of the importance of prayer, Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization is now rescheduling all flights in Iran so that they will not interfere with prayer. Planes scheduled for takeoff in Iran will have to wait at least 30 minutes after the day’s first call to prayer, before sunrise, known as Al-Fair. All aircraft will be prohibited from flying across the country during the Adhan.

That is taking prayer seriously. It is a way to emphasize the importance of obedience to orthodox Islamic codes of conduct in all manner of life. There is still some question as to whether or not flights in midair would be forced to land or be rerouted in order to satisfy the requirements that no aircraft fly during the call to prayer.

What if Christians took prayer that seriously? James states “that the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (James 5:16) Jesus invites us to “Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock and the door will be opened.” (Luke 11:9) James also says, “you do not have because you do not ask.” (James 4:2)

Prayer is something we all talk about, but do we practice it very seriously?

Studies show that we do pray more often as we grow older. 42% of Gen Xers (born between 1965-80) prayed daily in the late 1990’s. Today 54%of Gen Xers pray daily. 47% of Boomers (born between 1946-64) prayed daily in the early 1980’s. 62% of Boomers pray daily now.

Life is so much different when it is bathed in prayer. Someone has written the following prayer. “Dear Lord, So far today, God, I’ve done all right. I haven’t gossiped, haven’t lost my temper, haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or over-indulgent. I’m really glad about that. But in a few minutes, God, I’m going to get out of bed, and from then on I’m going to need a lot more help. Thank you.”

We do desperately need God’s help and guidance. I don’t expect our government to change flight schedules to facilitate more praying. In our country we seem to have moved in the other direction. While the Bible emphasizes, “pray without ceasing,” our discussions center on areas where we have to “cease praying.”

Participating in prayer is not a government issue, it is an individual discipline. Its purpose is not to be discussed and debated, but to be practiced. It is one of the most important ways to enhance our relationship with God and witness how He can redefine the possible!

Let us pray.

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