The editorial team is busy in preparing the third issue of Adyan focusing on the theme of PRAYER and WORSHIP. The issue is expected to be published in September 2011. We have invited academic contributors from universities around the world to write for this new issue. There will be an interview with Bishop Khodr appearing in both Arabic and English. We also expect that the articles appearing in the issue will help shed light on how different religions approach prayer and discuss it in their narratives. We are hoping to have several articles in Arabic as well so that our Arabic readers can benefit as well from our journal.
It is widely recognized in all religious worlds that nothing is more important than prayer, since prayer involves a direct relationship between the human and the Divine. Nothing can be deemed as spiritually necessary as prayer, in all its forms, from the most outward to the innermost, since among all possible actions none engages as direct a communication with the Divine Reality. No aspect of life distinguishes religion more clearly from any other human endeavor or ways of being as prayer, simply because it is, among all human acts, the only one that uncompromisingly presupposes and affirms transcendence, while works of charity, service, learning, and others do not necessarily do so.
In monotheistic traditions, prayer defines the essence of the human condition because man was created to worship God. Christian teachings tell us that mankind was created “to know, love, and serve God,” and how could this be achieved better than through prayer, which is both a gift of oneself to God in service and love, and a knowledge of his Reality through and in this gift? That prayer may be considered as a mode of knowledge may come as a surprise to many of us today who have been conditioned to limit knowledge to matters of the mind, thereby ignoring the deep connection of prayer with knowledge by assimilation and identification. We may also tend to forget that prayer is ultimately service- a point that is often overlooked by a world engrossed with outer actions- because the best way to serve God is to give oneself to Him through prayer, and to discover, as a result of this gift, the specific modes in which we may best become of service to Him and to our fellow humans.
It should therefore be evident that there is no spiritual tradition that does not place a strong emphasis on prayer as a central connection between the human and the Divine. This holds true whether the forms of this connection may derive from revelation and tradition or be the spontaneous expressions of our personal needs, whether they be individual or congregational, silent or celebratory. The essays included in this issue explore the various dimensions and facets of this most central aspect of religions that is prayer.
Patrick Laude, Editor-in-Chief