Turning to prayer for its healing power

Phlip Rodrigues


COMMENT | When Malaysians are staring death in the face as a result of the coronavirus invasion, it is hard not to feel fear creeping into our daily life with ever-increasing force.

People are becoming extremely jittery as the death toll escalates, with the number of confirmed cases soaring to new heights. The hidden enemy has brought unspeakable horror into human life.

Despite all those brave words about combating Covid-19, our homes have become epicentres of pain and distress. It is so hard to chase away the shadows of gloom.

But this spirit of defeatism cannot be allowed to completely overwhelm us. Life must go on and there are other props we can rely on to keep our flagging spirits up.

One way to light up our life is for religious leaders of all faiths in the country to recite some prayers on radio or television for the wellbeing of the people.

Give them five minutes or so of airtime to say their respective prayers on selected days, or deliver a short homily on cooperation and obedience.

The prayers or brief talks must focus on universal themes that can appeal to people of all faiths. The religious figures must never assume the role of prophets of doom to warn people of sins and retribution.

It would be ideal if all the religious figures can conduct a joint interfaith prayer session on a given day, but that would not be possible under the present circumstances.

If, for one reason or other, such religious prayers or talks are not permissible, then at least show some religiously-inclined messages on television for a few seconds against a background of Covid-stricken patients.

It is reassuring that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin led the nation in prayer when he ended his press briefing the other day. Perhaps, more politicians should come forward to recite a few words of prayer on airtime when they speak to the nation about Covid-19.

In times of great calamity, people have always turned to prayers to seek help because the human agency is insufficient to heal the wounds of the afflicted. The faithful go to their respective houses of worship to seek solace and comfort - putting all their trust in intercession.

Churches, mosques and temples have closed their doors in response to the partial lockdown of the country. We stay at home and our homes have become the new centres to implore for divine grace.

When it is all over, religious leaders of all faiths must hold a joint session of thanksgiving and a joint memorial service for all those who were the victims of the stealth killer.

Living in such dangerous times, we seek all the help we can get, including from the Omniscient One, to stay healthy and safe.

PHLIP RODRIGUES is a retired journalist.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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