Saturday, March 22, 2014

Spiritual Practice: Prayer

One of the noticeable elements of Islam is the call to prayer 5 times a day. When I lived in Kenya, there was a Mosque in my neighborhood, so I knew if it was prayer time just by the sounds of prayer echoing out into the community.  That prayer connects you to creation through the ground or the prayer rug, opens you up to listen to Allah (God), and provides vocabulary to praise and engage with the divine in three distinct ways: remembrance, ritual and supplication.  

Having observed many Friday prayers with Muslim communities here in Chicago and in New York, I am amazed at the unity of the physical body in prayer with the community.  I know there are easily recognized differences between certain groups of Muslims in prayer, but the overall act of praying is rather synchronized.  It makes me become very aware of the physical nature of our bodies and the eternal nature of God.  

Some pray with memorized words.  Some pray with new inspiration.  Some pray silently.  Some pray with an app on their phone. Some pray with a megaphone.  Some pray alone.  Some pray online. And some pray with the entire community.  All of these prayers provide space for reflection and connection with God.  

In the Catholic tradition, Contemplative Prayer continues to bring communities together to find a connection to God in the peace and silence of meditation. This youtube clip shows the unique engagement that this practice has on self and community.  If God is involved in this practice, what do you think God is doing?

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