Sunday, August 5, 2012

Susan's Prayer Carpet

“He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.” I Peter 1:19

Susan who grew up in a nominal Christian home converted to Islam as a young adult. She loves her velvety green prayer carpet that has a purple colored mosque on it with open doors. Those are her favorite colors. She feels beckoned to enter those open doors as she prostrates herself on the carpet and feels the softness of it on her forehead. Afterwards she folds it up and puts it on her sofa until it is time to say her next prayers. The carpet feels like a little personalized sanctuary for Susan which she can create anywhere she goes.

I can partly understand Susan’s affection for her prayer carpet. Ed and I were shopping in Islamabad for a large Persian rug to bring back to Canada in 1988. There were many attractive velvety brightly colored prayer carpets to choose from along with the large silk and wool Persian carpets. I was drawn to those small prayer carpets. I have seen many such prayer carpets in the homes of my Muslim friends, usually folded up and resting on their sofas. Sometimes I walk into their living rooms and the carpets are still laying on their floor facing Mecca. I know they have just finished their prayers.

I have a little carpet, too. It’s a soft white lamb skin. I don’t use it often but when I do it’s usually when my heart is really hurting. I kneel on it and pour my heart out to God. It’s not necessary to use it. As Christians, we don’t have any requirement to use such. But, for some inexplicable reason when I use my lambskin carpet it makes me think of the Lamb of God who suffered and bled and died for the sins of the whole world. He walked through suffering and can understand my deep hurt or brokenness. The perfect Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who gave up His life as a sacrifice for the atonement of my sins, beckons me to come and sit in His presence and soak up the deep truths of His love for me. The carpet doesn’t take away my hurt but I feel strengthened and comforted remembering the precious Lamb of God. With spiritual eyes I can see the open hands of Jesus with the nail prints from the cross beckoning me to come to Him. And then I rejoice the Lamb of God conquered death and rose again and has power to help me. I have a living Savior. Maybe it’s just a “woman’s thing” creating a special space with a certain chair, candles, music, carpet, or sun porch where we feel close to God. We like to create a sense of a personalized sanctuary. I understand where Susan is coming from.

Dear Heavenly Father, there are many Muslim women using their prayer carpets today. Please reveal the nail scarred hands of Jesus stretched out to them. Amen.