Saturday, April 13, 2013

Prayer Call on Visits

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so I long for you, O God.” Psalm 42:1

I grew up hearing the adhan, the Islamic call to prayer, from early childhood in Somalia. They often jolted me from my sleep. As a child I was frightened and disturbed by the loudness and forcefulness projected my direction. It is such a relief today to simply hear the wooing voice of the Holy Spirit say to me gently, “Joy, come and speak with me.” He is my “adhan” whose gentle voice invites me, not mandates me to pray.

Much to my surprise I discovered that the Islamic adhan was not left behind in Somalia or Pakistan but followed me right to my neighborhood in Canada. The first time I heard it in Canada I was visiting a Pakistani lady when suddenly, without any warning, the adhan bellowed out from the clock on the wall above where I was sitting. I jumped. Since that day I have heard it go off many times from computers, clocks or cell phones in the homes of my Muslim friends. We’ll be chatting when suddenly our conversations are interrupted reminding my Muslim friends it is time to do their mandatory prescribed prayers or at least listen to the recitation of the adhan. We are both caught in a dilemma wondering how to proceed. It can be awkward and distracting. Often my Muslim friend will abruptly stop talking and if her scarf is on her shoulders place it on her head or fetches it from somewhere. She usually doesn’t turn the adhan off but lets it play the full time which is a few minutes – but it can seem like an eternity! There have been numerous times we have been engaged in an intense spiritual conversation when the adhan goes off causing an abrupt shut down of the train of thought. One time I was helping a lady read a chapter in a children’s Bible story book when the adhan went off. She was so engrossed in the story that she kept going but she did pull her scarf up over her head. Recently I was in the middle of a serious explanation of the salvation story when the adhan suddenly blared forth from Najibi’s cell phone. By now, I have become fairly comfortable with this situation as it has happened so many times. I asked Najibi, “Should I keep quiet?” She answered, “For a minute.” So, I kept quiet. After a minute she said, “You can go on now.” She had to at least show momentary respect for her religious tradition.

Perhaps you have encountered the adhan going off when you are visiting your friend. I suggest you ask your friend what you should do. She has to learn how to deal with this when she has a Christian friend. Don’t lose the train of thought if you are in the middle of a spiritual discussion. Hold on to it and go back to it. While it is going off and she immerses herself in the recitation use it as an opportunity to quietly intercede for your friend.

Dear heavenly Father, Thank-you that you invite me to talk to You. I long to. Amen.