Sunday, July 05, 2009

Call to Prayer

I just watched a Rick Steves episode on Istanbul, taking me back a year ago to my own visit to Istanbul. I was taken by the segment on the mosques. He showed how five times a day people are called to their mosque for prayer. The call is always the same (with a slight variation for the dawn call), saying that God is great and worthy of worship.

What caught my attention was when Rick said "after a short praise service, they go back to work." A simple phrase to him, perhaps, but it gave me pause to consider my own prayer practice. Each time I've been in a country where they do this, my first thought has always been of cacophony because to my Western musical ear, it sounds like a melancholy wailing. If several mosques are within hearing distance, the discord is stressful. Still, there is something to be said for stopping what you're doing and intentionally seeking out God several times a day.

In my own life, I always start and end my day with prayer, whatever time that may be. I attend church regularly, once a week, where we pray several times during our time together. During the school year, because I teach at a Christian school, we start our day together as a staff with worship and prayer, and we do the same each day with our students. As well, I have prayer before each class I teach and we pray before our meetings and other activities. But on my own, during the summer and vacations and such, there is not that same regularity. So, I'm wondering, am I missing something during those times, when I don't have a specific call to prayer built into my day?

Truth is, I think if you begin your day in an attitude of prayer, there is no need to stop what you're doing to intentionally pray as you've been in communication all along. That's the if, though, isn't it? And I suppose that's the theory behind that call to prayer, to remind those who have forgotten...

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