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Agents of GodBoundaries and Authority in Muslim and Christian Schools$
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Jeffrey Guhin

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780190244743

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190244743.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 March 2021

Prayer as External Authority

Prayer as External Authority

(p.144) Chapter 6 Prayer as External Authority
Agents of God

Jeffrey Guhin

Oxford University Press

Prayer is experienced in these schools as an “external authority” that acts in people’s lives and works as an “agent” between individuals and God. Prayer’s authority is maintained and made to feel natural and obvious through the maintenance of key boundaries and the continuation of key practices. This chapter begins with a historical overview and then describes boundaries, going over how prayer is experienced as agentic and authoritative and describing how people improve at the performance and interpretation of prayer in ways that help prayer maintain its authority. In the Muslim schools, prayer is a more complex process requiring explicit instruction, especially the memorization of key phrases for du’a and the various physical actions and recitations involved in salah. In the Christian schools, prayer was often framed as a “relationship,” so even if there were specific rituals associated with the act, these were de-emphasized so as not to make the action appear formulaic.

Keywords:   prayer, salah, du’a, practices, interpretation, memorization, theodicy, religious schools, American Muslims, American Evangelicals

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