Sunday, April 15, 2012

Christians should pray that Muslims' daily prayers will be answered (and offering similar prayers)!

Observant Muslims offer Salat prayers five times a day, repeating the same core prayer each time, with some variable additions from the Qur'an. At the heart of the Salat prayers is Al Fatihah ("The Opening"), the first Surah of the Qur'an, which I present here in Yusuf Ali's English understanding:

(1)In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful;

(2)Praise be to God,
the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds;

(3) Most Gracious; Most Merciful;

(4) Master of the Day of Judgment.

(5) Thee do we worship,
thine aid do we seek.

(6) Show us the straight way,

(7) The way of those on whom
Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace
Those whose (portion)
Is not wrath,
and who go not astray.
Qur’an, Surah 1.

I believe as Christians we should pray that, as our Muslim friends, and Muslim world leaders, pray this prayer sincerely, God would graciously answer their prayers. In this regard, note particularly ayas 6 and 7: "Show us the straight way, the way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace, those whose (portion) is not wrath, and who go not astray." On its face, this is a prayer for wisdom, a prayer to be shown the right way.

Of course, the Bible speaks to prayers for wisdom. James tells us that "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." James 1:5 (KJV). This text doesn't distinguish between Christians and others, it says that God is willing to give wisdom to anyone who asks. The next few verses explain that the only qualification for asking and receiving direction from God is being willing to listen and obey:

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
Bible, James 1:5-8 (KJV).

God promises wisdom, if we will follow it. But He doesn't give advice.

Jesus himself also said that the only qualification for knowing the truth is willingness to follow it:

Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
Bible, John 7:16-17 (KJV).

So, it would appear that, as Muslims pray to be shown the straight path, we should pray that God will answer these prayers. If I understand correctly, as Christians we should also be praying a somewhat similar prayer. (That means me--I should be praying for wisdom!) May the best understanding of God win!