Does Prayer Really Make a Difference?
By Najeeba Syeed-Miller
As I read this scenario, I realized how little the idea of prayer for victory resonated with me and my relationship with God. Could some of the players be praying simply for functioning as team members with grace and dignity instead of just beating the other team?
In my private, intimate conversations with God, I seek the support to be a person of excellent moral character. According to the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, the relationships we have with others are at the heart of our actions as people of faith. In one Hadith (teaching) he said: "Let whosoever believes in God and in the Last Day either speak good or be silent. Let whosoever believes in God and the Last Day honor his neighbor. Let whosoever believes in God and in the Last Day honor his guest."
We bring to prayer whatever our world view or state of heart puts into it. I always think of prayer as a method to strengthen myself to serve more deeply, for bringing good into whatever challenge I face.
Last night I was up with my very sick baby girl. I prayed for the fortitude to be there as her loving and nurturing mother. For some, faith is a battleground of vanquishing and defeat. For people who have this approach to life and faith, prayer is an instrument to help with the forces to dominate some enemy. For me it is not a battle cry; rather it is a call to my higher self, a meditation on what I can do to produce positive results in a particular challenge.
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Najeeba Syeed-Miller, J.D., teaches Interreligious Education at Claremont School of Theology. She has extensive experience in mediating conflicts among communities of ethnic and religious diversity, and has won awards for her peacemaking and public interest work.