The conversation started off like this:
Me: (watching as my classmate re-arranges her books and mat in her tote bag) “Oh my, is that a mat inside? It’s so beautiful, I want one! lol”
Muslim classmate: “Thank you, it’s my prayer rug.”
Me: “A prayer rug? Oh, so you pray on it?”
Muslim classmate: “Yeah, I’m Muslim so I keep it with me at all times for my prayers.”
Me: Oh, wow that’s interesting. Hmm… (I immediately thought of the scripture):
“Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.” (Matthew 6:6 Msg)
I thought how nice it would be to find a quiet place and to pray on something you deem as your holy ground. (In my opinion, it’s like taking a piece of your church with you in your tote bag.) I believe that the prayer rug is a great embodiment of how Jesus himself also prayed in a certain place like in Luke 11:1 (KJV) And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.
The next day at work I was talking to a coworker and her phone alarm went off. She said “oh that’s my prayer reminder.” I said, “oh that’s a great idea!” She explained how it is a Muslim requirement to pray five times a day ( A practice known as ‘salat’). So I started to think of my own Christian beliefs and thought why don’t Christians do this? I know at times people can get so caught up on “religious rituals/doctrines” that they lose sight of God and has even pushed away people from God because of what “man” has created as being a “get out of jail free card—or in this case get out of hell free card” if you follow certain doctrines. However, if you think about it, God has asked of us to “pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thessalonians 5: 17-18).
It was evident by these two back to back islamic encounters that I must test out out these practices and incorporate it into my Christian daily living for myself. I said to myself even if I decided to pray four times instead of five, it is my effort to want to be more connected to God throughout my day that I knew would be honored. If you think about how your day is usually set up, we can get so distracted with work, school, conference calls, appointments or engagements that the only real time you’ve had to speak or think about God was at night, in the morning on the way to work, or reading a Facebook post from a friend. But think on how wonderful it could be to have fixed interval times to pause to honor God, how interesting would it be to see how your daily situations, interactions and responses would alter now that you are more spiritually cognizant and connected to Him?
Now this blog is not here to glorify the Islamic faith, but it is here to suggest that if other faiths are willing to go above and beyond to pray to their god(s), why can’t we do the same? Sometimes we can be so quick to reject our own doctrines from the church, but when we view other faith beliefs and their doctrines–because it is so foreign to us, we tend to have so much more respect for them and trying not to appear “judgmental.” I often wonder do we hold back all who God has created us to be out of fear of stepping out of our comfort zone? Are we wondering if our friends/an outsider/nonbelievers looking in will view us as trying to be a “super Christian”-(which has become a negative term for a person being over the top with their Christian beliefs). However, I believe from God’s viewpoint as He is looking within your heart and seeing your motives by striving to put him first, I think his view of being a “super” Christian would come with a spiritual gold star applied on your heart!
Your challege for the rest of the week: Go Above and Beyond and Become that SUPER Christian God has Destined for You to Be.