Hello fellow SOASians! From now on, this blog will feature updates from our meetings, snapshots from our events, and opportunities for you to get more involved in the Christian-Muslim Dialogue here on campus.
Dialogue has a beautiful way of resolving problems and educating us when we are involved in it, but as with any conversation, when we move between subjects, it’s impossible to keep everything in our minds all at once. Reporting a dialogue can help the larger community (as well as dialogue participants) to process the content of our discussions and the progress that is achieved in interfaith cooperation as a result of the dialogue.
Read below to see an overview of what a typical weekly dialogue might look like!
Dialogue 18 March, 2014: The Power and Practice of Prayer
We were honored to have Reverend Dr. Toby Howarth, Interfaith Adviser to the Archbishop of Canterbury, as our special guest this evening.
For those of you who missed it, here are a few things to keep you updated.
As a society, our goal is to learn about aspects different faiths as understood by believers of that faith. Sharing faith can come from personal perspective and experience, not merely academic or media-based knowledge. With this in mind, our dialogues open with two testimonies of faith, followed by two short talks from each perspective on the dialogue’s subject.
This week, our testimonials were given by Zarqa Parvez and Rachel Sumption, and our two talks were given by Vian Hilli and Reverend Oliver Ryder. If you want to learn more about either Christian or Muslim prayer, read up on the presenter’s sources right here!
- Qur’an: Surat-al-Baqara 186, 153, Surat-al-Ma’ida 6
- Bible: Matthew 6:7, Ephesians 2:18, Romans 8:1
- Too Busy Not to Pray ~Bill Hybels and Ashley Viersma
After representatives from both faiths presented their thoughts on prayer, we took some time to ask questions to fully understand the practice of prayer for both sides.
- How often do we pray?
- When and how do we pray?
- How do we feel when our prayer life is less active than we want it to be?
- What are the spiritual effects we feel that come from prayer?
After answering these questions about prayer habits of each faith, the floor was opened up to dig deeper into topics where participants could share their personal experiences and explain how the power of prayer affected their spiritual life as a whole. Below, we have three common ideas about the power of prayer that were shared by the Muslim and Christian believers in the room :
The Intimacy of Spiritual Communication: We can hear from God through images, life coincidences, or through passages in scriptural texts. Words of reassurance can be given through family, friends, or even strangers.
The Interaction Between Sacred Texts and Prayer: Because sacred texts are the Word of God (whether directly or indirectly), they form the basis of our prayers as well as providing the answers to prayers. We pray verses of sacred texts that speak to our situations, and we pray the the words of the texts will be true in our lives.
The Place of Confession in Prayer: Prayer is the place where we can repent our sins to God and ask for forgiveness and mercy. Because of this function of prayer, we need it in our lives to purify us, and when we ask God for forgiveness, we pair our supplications with praise for His divine attributes.
Do you have ideas or experiences to share about the power of prayer in your own life? Leave a comment here or send us an email to join the conversation! check back here for more news on our latest events. xx