Vol 20 No 1 2013

Praying Together in the Dark

Gavin Brown

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, it explores the nature, forms and rationale for shared prayer within interreligious dialogue. Second, on the basis of this survey, the paper asks whether praying together, which is defined specifically as interreligious prayer, can be theologically justified. The paper argues that interreligious prayer is indeed possible, not because all theological differences between the gathered religious traditions can or should be smoothed over but, rather, because they paradoxically cannot. The paper suggests that authentic interreligious prayer can be anchored within an apophatic modality in which the praying members of each religious tradition are united in their collective failure to adequately name Ultimate Mystery - to 'praying together in the dark' as I term it. It should be noted that the paper is theoretical in nature; it does not propose norms for the practice of interreligious prayer.