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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Texas Faith - Should we pray for rain?

The creator has designed a perfect ecological system for the planet earth to sustain on its own; however a few anomalies are built-in as a reminder for us to accept our own imperfections. Rain is one of the major components of that system and every so often, the system breaks down resulting in famines.
Dallas Morning News
Texas Faith, September 13, 2011


Should Texans or for that matter, others afflicted by drought pray for rain? If so, how would you pray? And what would you expect? If not, why wouldn’t you pray for rain?

Rain is a major source of life-giving water. It fills the lakes, runs the rivers, grows the food, tends the plants which produce oxygen and facilitates all that we consume for nourishment and survival. Lack of rain brings disasters.

The creator has designed a perfect ecological system for the planet earth to sustain on its own; however a few anomalies are built-in as a reminder for us to accept our own imperfections. Rain is one of the major components of that system and every so often, the system breaks down resulting in famines.

We have not had rain for a long time, what are our choices? When our intellect does not produce alternatives, we turn to the creator; it is our only hope.

Gov. Rick Perry’s proclamation to pray for rain may have its origins when he was a Commissioner for Agriculture. Indeed Jesus had made frequent references to it, in Matthew 13; four parables were mentioned relating to agriculture.

Doesn’t the creator know his operation has gone bonkers and needs fixing? He does, the mother knows what her children want, the employers know what the employees want, yet we have to ask for it. So, we pray!

The Native Americans felt the need to appease the creator and initiated rain dances. The Egyptian prayed for rain so the Nile can flow and they can get their water for sustenance.

Moses declared in Deuteronomy 11:14 " I will give you the rain of your land…" and laid a condition, “to love the Lord your God, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul."

Lord Krishna says, “Beings are nourished by food, food is produced by rain, rain comes from sacrifice, and sacrifice is performed by action” and in chapter 19 of Bhagvad Gita he says “O Arjuna, I control heat, the rain and the drought.”

Indeed, it is a routine in India for the Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Jains to gather up and sing songs for rain. Even eminent scientist like C.N.R. Rao has inaugurated festivities to Goddess Chamanudeshwari to bless the State with bountiful rain.

James 5:18, “Then, Elijah prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops”

Martin Lings, a Muslim scholar writes, “In Quraan the ideas of Mercy and water, in particular rain are in a sense inseparable” he compares that to the idea of revelation and the rain, both sent down by all Merciful God and both are spoken of as life giving. He adds that “the divine mercy reaches the uttermost confines of creation.”

In April this year, the Council on American Islamic Relations urged Muslims in Texas mosques to offer special Islamic prayers, called Salatul Istisqa, simply meaning asking God for water. This prayer was offered by Prophet Muhammad during times of drought. Muslims pray 2 units of optional prayers either personally or in congregation, it is in the same format of daily prayers except the supplications for rain.

As a pluralist, I want to assure that this piece is meant to represent all religious traditions even though they are not mentioned. May God bless us with rain now, Amen.

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The weekly column called Texas Faith at Dallas Morning News asks the religiously oriented to write about the issues facing the nation from their faith perspective. I have been blessed to be sharing my take for over a year now. At the morning news, you can read at least ten other takes on the question. http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2011/09/texas-faith-should-we-pray-for.html

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Mike Ghouse is committed to building a cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day to the media and the public. He is a speaker thinker and a writer on the topics of pluralism, cohesive societies, Politics, Islam, interfaith, India and Peace. Over a thousand articles have been published on the topics and two of his books are poised to be released on Pluralism and Islam. Mike's work is reflected in 4 website's and 27 Blogs indexed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/ and you can find all of his current articles at www.TheGhousediary.com

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