Whose God is it Anyway?

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In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

—Psalm 5:3

As a human, I have felt alone, been lonely, even amongst other humans. It is a sad feeling.

But when I am alone with God, it is joyful.

People tend to make a lot of noise, surround themselves with noise, noise pollution, I call it. You go to many restaurants and there are televisions to distract, music blaring loud so that conversations are difficult, people answering cell phones … a cacophony of noise.

I love to bop into a carryout, but they are noisy. The bings and bongs of cash registers, the sounds of motors cooling things, and outside, at gas pumps, many places have music. We can’t hear ourselves think, much less listen to the lyrics fo God’s silence.

Yes, the lyrics of silence … the time when we slow down enough to hear and see something beyond the reality of modern society.

It can be illusive.

Having a relationship with God, I have found, is an act of participation. It is not a spectator sport, where we sit on the sidelines and watch.

I love user-friendly things in my life. I like my Apple computer because it is user friendly, machines that I can figure out without reading a 38 page instruction book written in 5 languages. I like to work with tools that function simply and I can count on.

God is user-friendly. He is my best and most steadfast tool. All day, all night … better than a convenience store open 24-7, except on Christmas. God is who I can talk to no matter what time it is, where I am, or what I am doing … I know God’s number. Unlike cellphones, God is never out of the service area.

There are times when I simply say, “Thank you God,” or “God, help me.”

Those are the simplest of prayers … not long, but that doesn’t matter.

This morning, I thought about the call to prayer, that are done in the Islam religion. I decided to look them up and see what they are about.

I don’t know much about many religions, Islam, being one of them. But I have heard the call to prayer, and that fascinates me.

Briefly, there are five pillars of the Islam faith. Prayer is one of them. Muslims are called to prayer five times a day, the times dependent on the placement of the sun.

The prayers have different names and intentions.

  • Fajr: This prayer starts off the day with the remembrance of God; it is performed before sunrise.
    
  • Dhuhr: After the day's work has begun, one breaks shortly after noon to again remember God and seek His guidance.
    
  • 'Asr: In the late afternoon, people take a few minutes to remember God and the greater meaning of their lives.
    
  • Maghrib: Just after the sun goes down, Muslims remember God again as the day begins to come to a close.
    
  • 'Isha: Before retiring for the night, Muslims again take the time to remember God's presence, guidance, mercy, and forgiveness
    

It is easy for Christians and people of any faith, to believe that they corner the market on God, that their way of praising, thanking, talking to, and hearing God, is above all other religions.

I don’t believe that. It doesn’t work for me. I happen to have been born into and raised in the Christian faith, and have chosen believe in Jesus Christ. I also understand why people believe in and follow many other religions.

Reading about the Islamic prayers made me think of how I might make a more concerted effort throughout the day to remember God. Have God become my touchstone even more than my bottle of San Pellegrino water. (Yes, that calms me)

If we open our hearts to learn about the ways other people interact with God, the chances are, we will learn something. Our minds and hearts will open wider and our life will be enriched.

I think God wants us to do that.

I have often prayed for God to give me strength, but I now believe that isn’t HIs purpose. He doesn’t want me to walk through my trials, alone, even strengthened. He wants to walk with me, always, to never feel alone. It is God who is strong, and when I have Him in my heart, and walking in with me, I am strong, too.

Open minds, open hearts, and Amazing Grace

Susan

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