Saturday, June 21, 2008

Christian in a Muslim Land

I bet you're imagining that this post is going to be all about how difficult it is to live as a Christian in a Muslim country. It's not. It's really about how living in a Muslim country has deepened my own faith and caused a growth in my walk with God.

Let me state clearly up front that I in no way am endorsing the Islamic faith. I believe it to be a false religion, offering no hope.

However, I have to tell you that most of us Christians could learn a thing or two from most Muslims.

Five times a day, you hear the call to prayer. All over the city, you hear it - sometimes it may be barely audible, sometimes it will feel like your ears are being assaulted, depending on where you are. The voice of the muezzin rings out in Arabic, not only telling people it's time to pray, but reciting the basics of the faith.

And I wonder, as a Christian, am I as faithful to prayer? Now, I'm not advocating that we be legalistic about it, or that we recite rote prayers from memory. But I'm just asking that we take a moment to consider if we are as committed to prayer as we should be. We have even more reason to desire a deeper prayer life than people of other faiths, because we have a God who actually communicates with us, who wants to have a relationship with us. And yet we often let prayer fall by the wayside until we need something.

I'm not even going to try to write as beautiful a post as Jess wrote on this similar subject. But read what she wrote and then take some time to reflect on what external reminders we use to help us to live a life of prayer.

Besides the ever present reminder to pray, another factor that I appreciate in Islamic culture is that (at least here in Doha) much of the city is shut down on their holy day. On Fridays, most businesses don't open up until 4 pm or thereabouts. It's kind of nice not having to make the choice whether or not to use that time to run errands.

In the States, many people use Sunday as just another day to get things done. I know, I've been guilty of it myself. Usually there was yardwork to be done (well, that's not really an issue here - LOL!!), groceries to buy, other errands to do. But here, life screeches to a stop.

But it's caused me to really think through what I want our day of rest (which is now Friday since it's Hubby's only day off) to look like. Thursday has now become my Preparation Day, an Hebrew tradition. Thursday is the day that I clean my house so that Hubby and I can both relax on Friday. Thursday is the day that I do my major grocery shopping, so that there is plenty of food and beverages in the house - no more "What should we have for lunch?" after-church-panic.

I'm much more intentional about our day of rest and I like that. We aren't perfect in this area by any means yet, but we are on our way. As I go throughout my Thursdays, I often feel like I am sharing a kinship with the ancient Hebrew women of Biblical times - preparing a home wherein God's call to a day of rest is honored. I truly believe that it is the woman of the home who determines whether or not that happens by her commitment to prepare for it.

So while, yes, there are some times when I wish that we didn't live in a Muslim country, right now I'm appreciating the opportunity to learn from a new culture and trying to use this time to see what God has for me to learn. I think that there is always something God is trying to teach us if we will just be still and listen for His voice.


Leeann said...

Hey Lori,

How strange. This post showed up on my Google Reader TODAY!

Anyhoo, interesting and very thought provoking post. While I am not Catholic, I have sometimes appreciated the idea of a more structured, "spoon fed" faith. Routine and memorized prayer does have its advantages.


Mylinda said...

Great post, Lori! Thanks for provoking thought! :-)
Mylinda :-)

Tracye said...

Beautiful post.

I forgot to tell you, at Hubs' graduation, someone from Doha, Qatar graduated also!

Immediately thought of you!

Ivy Vega from said...

Prayer is our way nto communicate with God. I feel that if I recite a memorized prayer it doesn't feel as is me who is talking to God, but I am using someone else's words.

What do you do aside from attending your on your day of rest?

Thanks for stopping by.


stacey said...

really a great reminder that whether or not we agree with someone's beliefs, we might take heed at the passion behind the beliefs. no doubt, us christians too often get bogged down in the do's and don'ts (legality stuff) and forget to just be like Jesus. Myself included...big time!


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