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Fitting prayer into our lives

15 September 2009

Prayer doesn’t always take effort. We can take that moment with God and feel his presence through the busyness of our day. But sometimes we need that sense of space. Maybe it’s time a lone in a room. Lit candles and dimmed lights, or even just a view across the beach and ocean or through the mountains. Whatever finds our inner peace.

For Muslims (who need to pray five times a day) there is a need to integrate praying during the day with the elements of society and practicalities of work. Maybe the perspective of a young Muslim below exemplify how to build a sense of prayer, where perhaps there wouldn’t normally be one…

“I converted two years ago. I feel it in my heart every morning when I get up for the first prayer at dawn. The first time you pray you feel like an idiot, your head’s on the ground. But now I go down and everything in the world stops.

I remember in the early days Amanda’s brother would say, “Why are you smiling?”, and I would say, “I just prayed.”

I’ve been working in a beer restaurant in Sydney because they brought me in on a working visa. I have to handle pork (which is forbidden in Islam), which I do using plastic gloves. We also serve alcohol. The way I look at it is, this is a really hard test and I am winning because I haven’t drunk alcohol or eaten pork.

Sometimes I miss the social aspect (of drinking), the release of coming home late, watching TV and having a beer to relax. But I don’t miss the consequences.

At work I have to pray in a small vestibule next to the goods lift – the only other choices were the cold storeroom, where there is heaps of pork, or the wine storeroom.

I got a few looks in the beginning, questions about how long my prayers were going to take. I said, “Five minutes, seven if I pray slowly”. Then I asked them how long their smoke breaks were. They said, “Oh, yeah”. So now I go “pray-o!” instead of “smoko”.

Liam Bruun
Sydney Morning Herald Weekend Edition
28-29 April 07

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