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A Gentle Roar  

It was an odd sensation. The cool breeze tumbling through the open window, carrying along on its invisible current a sound.  Vague at first.  Indistinct.   Then it stirred me out of my last attempts at sleep.

Even in the stupor born of time zones and travel, I quickly assessed the noise--an Arabic chant sounding from a distant speaker calling ancient Istanbul to piety for Allah.  The morning Muslim call to prayer.

But the more I listened, the more difficult it became to discern the imam's voice.  There were echoes everywhere, it seemed.  That “solo” was now a chorus.  Or perhaps, more accurately, a wall of sound.  Different voices from different mosques all over the city were chanting back and forth (in Istanbul there is a mosque on virtually every city block).  This wall of sound, this “gentle roar” was like nothing I'd ever heard before.

It continued on for perhaps 10 or 15 minutes before finally dying away again.  Assaulted by a sudden silence, the question popped into my brain, “Why don't followers of Jesus pray so boldly?  Where is our “gentle roar?”  Why shouldn't the world hear us calling on Almighty God?  Shouldn't the whole world sense our communion with our Heavenly Father in prayer?

In the book of Acts, we read that after the disciples met and prayed, 'the place was shaken where they were assembled together” (Acts 4:31).   Silent prayers--personal prayers–surely have their place.  Even the Holy Spirit prays for us “with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26).

Still, I wonder. What if followers of Christ were really and truly dedicated to prayer?   What if we stopped what we were doing five or six or ten times a day and prayed, not ritualistic prayers, but true heart language?    What if our prayer meetings were filled to overflowing? And what if on Sunday mornings, outsiders attending our services described their experience as “being in a house of prayer?

Indeed, what if when the whole world attempted to define Christianity it would be impossible to separate our faith...from the gentle roar of our combined prayers?

 

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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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