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Time to Pray  

We are on board a Turkish Airlines Boeing 777 headed for O’Hare.  Since leaving Chicago, Diana and I have flown through or to Iceland, Norway, Poland, Romania, and Turkey. Given the speed of flight, one day we had breakfast in Oslo, lunch in Warsaw and supper in Bucharest.

As I write this, we have just flown over the Shetland islands, about 180 miles off the coast of Norway.  I only know this because of the handy maps, animations, and statistics presented in the “My Flight” app. 

As anyone who has traveled will relate, it’s interesting to track your flight conditions.  For example, right now, our true airspeed is 497 mph.  The outside temperature is -63 degrees. Distance traveled so far: 1937 miles. Altitude: 32,000 feet.  Headwind: 48 miles per hour.  Heading: 291.   Dublin is creeping in off to our left, and the total flight is projected to take just under 11 hours.

 

But there is one graphic popping up consistently that particularly catches my eye.  In the bottom right-hand corner of the screen it says, “Time to prayer: 1:38.”  Along with that graphic is a sort of compass pointing to Mecca, citing the aircraft’s current distance and direction from Islam’s holiest city. 

Turkey is a Muslim country, so I suppose it should come as no surprise that its national airline would offer reminders for followers of Allah to pray (the screen comes up regularly). 

It’s tempting to write off the prayer reminder on an airplane screen as shallow, even mechanical.  And maybe it is for some.  

But what about my prayer life?  To what schedule have I committed myself for communicating with the living God?   Just where is my sense of discipline? 

Scripture says we are to “pray without ceasing.”   Those sentence prayers throughout the day are a marvelous way of keeping in step with the Spirit.   Yet there ought also to be regular times—-set times—when we come before God as an act of love, conversation, and extended fellowship. 

“Time to pray.”  What does your clock say?

 

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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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