Sunday, March 13, 2011

Do You Pray Like Your Fathers?


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The Abrahamic religions have a wide history, forming Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Each having its holy books, recently called: Old Testament, New Testament, and Final Testament. Nonetheless, everyone realizes that there is good and bad people everywhere, which has nothing to do with the person’s religion, nor represents the religion’s concept. It is very easy to criticize anything and anybody, like a religion for example, however, it is easier to look for the true similarities between these religions, to understand what they really are about. Accordingly, if we take a look at the ancient way of prayers, as written in all three testaments, we can realize that the old practices don’t commonly exist in our generation. Muslims believe that these practices have been first taught by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to be delivered from generation to generation, as mentioned in the Final Testament (Quran 21:72-73). Furthermore, to make it understandable to all faiths, it is easier to separate the types of prayers to recognize what each faith practices. Summing up, all prayers are based on a straight spiritual connection with thy creator, worshipping and submitting to him alone, as ordered in all three testaments (Exodus KJV 23:25; Matthew 26:41; Quran 22:78). Therefore, I hope the following details help explain the most common prayers, with it’s variety of benefits.

Most popular is the supplication prayer, which is mostly practiced by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The supplication prayer is basically a direct connection to God--with no mediators: either, asking for mercy or support on something, thanking God for all his blessings, or a combination of both. Many believers consider supplication prayers a way to get closer to God almighty, while others are kind of selfish to only connect to God when they need him the most, ignoring the main blessings they already have, like health and wealth. Furthermore, there has been some research by MD. Randolph C. Byrd, regarding 393 cardiac patients, whom were sorted to two groups. The people of the first group was frequently supplicating to God, while the others didn’t. Therefore, the research concluded that the first group needed less assistance and medication than the second, confirming that the supplication prayers did have a noticeably affect on their health. Nevertheless, these prayers can be made in any position, however, many verses in the Bible mentions that Jesus was praying while prostrating to God: “And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39).

Afterward comes the contact prayer, which is a mandatory prayer in Judaism and Islam. These prayers are considered ancient in Judaism, as only a fraction of Jews currently practice it. Most Muslims believe that these prayers are mandatory too, however, some Muslims still give them a low priority in their life. The first stage is ritual ablution, as a preparation for prayers, by washing their exposed body parts like hands, face, and feet. Both Jews and Muslims were ordered in their holy books--Old Testament and Final Testament--to be in a clean state before praying to God. Nevertheless, recent scientific studies discovered that these practices have many health benefits like preventing skin cancer, teeth and gum diseases, impurity diseases, etc. These studies were also gathered by Lamya Tawfik, in her article titled: The Preventive and Healing Wonders of Ablution. Nevertheless, most of these steps were mentioned in the Bible, practiced by King David (2 Samuel 12:20), and also Aaron and Moses (Exodus 40:31).

Furthermore, comes the second stage, which is the contact prayer itself. It was ordered as a type of worship to God: three times a day in Judaism, and five times a day in Islam. The contact prayer is a combination of physical movements (like standing, bowing, and prostrating), along with reciting the words of God--holy books. However, it’s believed that supplicating when prostrating during contact prayer is the closest connection to God; where the holy books stated that most prophets did so too: like Abraham “...fell on his face: and God talked with him...” (Genesis 17:3), Joshua “...fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD...” (Joshua 7:6), Aaron and Moses “...fell upon their faces, and said, O God...” (Numbers 16:22), Elijah “...cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees” (1 Kings 18:42), and last but not least, King David “...fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times...” (1 Samuel 20:40).

More interesting, the contact prayers even prevent you from doing bad deeds, help you to arrange accurate timing and schedules, and even makes you exercise unintentionally. Furthermore, Noor Mohideen mentioned in his website that contact prayers have multiple heath benefits too, like reducing the risks of high Cholesterol, Alzheimer, and Cancerous Tumors; because of the blood flow during the practice.

Last type is the guidance prayer, which is very special but can’t be faked. Guidance prayer is mostly used by Muslims, however, it requires an extremely strong faith in God’s will and judgment. The prayer is all about seeking God’s judgment on a situation or decision you’re deeply concerned about, being confused of what to do or what to expect. I’ve been in an extremely critical situation, that most humans can’t handle. I made a contact prayer with the intention of guidance, following the supplication to faithfully accept God’s will. Asking God to bring this thing closer if it’s good for me, or take it away if it’s bad for me, “you’re the all knowing, the most merciful”. It’s the time when a person lets go of what he thinks about, and keeps the faith that God will prevent any harm to happen. I relaxed afterwards, and the risk I had was gone after some time. The most important thing is to have the faith to stop thinking about your situation, as the Final Testament also states: “...But you may dislike something which is good for you, and you may like something which is bad for you. GOD knows while you do not know” (Quran 2:216).

Concluding the importance toward Jews, Christians, and Muslims to take care of the teaching of their fathers, while it’s clearly stated in their holy books. Nevertheless, Muslims also believe that who doesn’t prostrate to God on earth wont be able to do so at the day of judgment, as they refused to worship their creator on earth (Quran 68:42-43); which makes it important for believers to worship God while they can, as there is no way back at the day of judgment. Hence, there has been many ways of prayer, however, most believers still don’t follow their fathers’ way, even though it is scientifically healthy, too. My advice is to build a stronger connection with God, and his glory will always be with you. Return to the original guidance of God in his holy books, and you will always be blessed and thankful.

7 comments:

  1. I found this very informative, i did a search on supplications from 1tim 2 and ended up here so wot i want 2no is wot relgeon r u?

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  2. I would like to know what that answer means. You speak about Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Which do you adhere to? I'm citing John 14:6.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment, and I truly apologies for the extreme delay.
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      A response there would be very appreciated.

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  3. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+14:6&version=KJV

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