If you have been following these posts over the past few weeks, you may have noticed that we haven’t been looking at the Pillars of Islam in sequential order. Although today is our fourth devotional in the series, we are considering the second pillar, Salat. 

All Muslims are required to pray five times a day at certain times determined by dawn and dusk. The first of these prayer times occur before sunrise as day is breaking; the time when there is just enough light to differentiate between a black thread and a white one. In Muslim majority countries, the morning call to prayer can be a great alarm clock if you’re not expecting it, as it is often sounded out around the town from loudspeakers in the local mosque. Four further prayer times are slotted in during the day including noon, afternoon, evening and night. A devout Muslim must pray at each of these times regardless of where they are.  

A lot of rituals are associated with Salat including ceremonial washing and prescribed wording including multiple repetitions of “Allahu Akbar”, which means God is great. Every day over 1.8 billion Muslims around the world will kneel to pray, ensuring they face towards Mecca, the birthplace of Muhammad in Saudi Arabia, the geographical centre of the Islamic faith.

When Christians pray, an entirely different dynamic exists. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught that true prayer isn’t ritualistic and shouldn’t be a repetition of meaningless phrases in an attempt to placate an angry despot. Rather, we come as children approaching a loving Heavenly Father and pour out our hearts to Him.

 The words of Jesus in Matthew 7:11 offer a beautiful invitation to prayer: “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”. It is deeply reassuring to know that God delights to hear the cry of His children and doesn’t need His arm twisted up His back before He responds.

In simple childlike trust, let’s lift our hearts to God in prayer today. AsiaLink partners are continually asking us to pass on their thanks for the many people who pray for them and their work. Please uphold them before the Lord as they share the hope of the gospel among the unreached in Asia.

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