History and Culture
During Uncertain Times, the Tri-People of Mindanao Are United in the Power of Prayer!
Kenneth Mheil Mangaya- Ay | Mar 18, 2020
In our society today, there is much uncertainty about the future. Fears often trigger other emotions, including despair and anger, with much of it played out in social media. In truth, there is much to fear in our lives and in our world. The unknown future can seem dark and filled with danger. We wonder if we can handle it. We wonder how we can endure. But, in everything, prayer with faith, sheds light!
Since mass gatherings and events are now prohibited in the time of COVID-19, Filipinos are turning into social media and the internet for live streaming services, including church services. In Mindanao, the tri-people (Christian, Moro, Lumad), offer different prayers of everyone’s safety in this time of uncertainty.
For Muslims, the five daily prayer times (called salat) are among the most important obligations of the Islamic faith. Prayers remind the faithful of God and the many opportunities to seek His guidance and forgiveness. They also serve as a reminder of the connection that Muslims the world over share through their faith and shared rituals. Traditionally, prayers are said while standing on a small prayer rug, though using one isn’t required. The prayers are always recited in Arabic while performing a series of ritualized gestures and movements intended to glorify Allah and proclaim devotion called Rak’ha. The Rak’ha is repeated two to four times, depending on the time of a day.
Indigenous people have evolved worship rituals as they relate or commune with the spirits, in keeping with their animistic beliefs. To ensure that worship rituals and accompanying belief systems are passed on to younger generations, every indigenous community has a balyan or traditional priest or priestess. Through listening and participating in the rituals, young community members learn the ancient rituals and appreciate their significance. These rituals include prayers and chants. Interestingly, these prayers and chants also contain epics, legends, and stories, which embody a community’s whole belief and knowledge systems and history.
For Christian Filipinos, prayer is an important activity. There are several ways to do it at home, such as reading the bible and living out each verse with all our heart and soul. Family members can also recite the rosary together in the evening. Lastly, church services are being streamed online through Facebook and other digital platforms.
Prayer is an amazing privilege. When facing the fear of the unknown, turning to an all-knowing God is a good start to responding with clarity and direction.