God is doing something new today. Something wonderful. And Muslims are a big part of it!
You likely have heard of the revival at Asbury this year, and how it's spread to other locations across America and the world. This is not an isolated event though. God has been working powerfully among Muslims over the last few years!
Prior to the 20th Century, there were only 5 documented movements* of Muslims to Christ. Yet since 2000, we have tracked over 69 movements of Muslims to Christ, with some movements involving tens of thousands of individuals! (Garrison, 2014)
Muslim leader Sheikh Ahmad Al Katani (president of The Companions Lighthouse for the Science of Islamic Law, Libya) was even prompted to make the statement that, "6 Million African Muslims Convert to Christianity Each Year!"
While 6 million a year is most certainly an exaggeration, the reality is even more exciting... because it is true and real! While Muslim movements to Christ prior to the 21st century were very few and rare, by 2010 it was estimated that a number equal to the population of North Carolina had come to Christ (Miller & Johnstone, 2015)!
If numbers have progressed at the same rate since then, a population the size of Georgia has now joined them!
PRAYER FOR OUR CHURCHES:
Should Christians pray for Muslims during Ramadan? Yes!
Why? Because God loves them and is doing something among them NOW... and we should move with God.
Recent research has identified three keys to showing Jesus’ love to Muslims (Kronk et al, 2017):
1) Welcome to a local church
2) Having a Christian friend
3) Reading the Bible, especially in their own language
Pray that our churches would invite and welcome Muslim guests, being authentically Christian and showing them our imperfect love. Pray that you (the reader) would embrace Muslim friends, and be open and transparent in your own faith. Pray that we would be unafraid and willing to share the beautiful gift of God’s Word, especially in their heart languages.
“I came to the meeting [at the church] and I listened to some songs. And I felt something just opening in my heart, and I start to weep… And I felt for the first time that I’m among family, and among people who they really love me.” (ibid)
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is one of the ‘holiest’ months in Islam, where Muslims remember the giving of their holy book (the Qur’an) and seek to draw closer to God through fasting, sexual abstinence, additional time spent in prayer, and reading of the Qur’an.
This year, it starts Wednesday evening, Mar 22, and runs till the evening of Thursday, April 20.
The Muslim fast is a daylight fast. It begins with a substantial early breakfast (‘suhur’) and ends each day with an evening meal (‘iftar’). The only meal fully missed, is lunch.
At the end of the fast, “one does not know if one’s Fast will be accepted, so that one will find favour with God, or whether it will be rejected, leaving one among those He abhors” (Al-Ghazâlî, 2012)
PRAYER FOR MUSLIMS TO BE CLOSE TO GOD:
It is good that Muslims desire to draw closer to God, and we should affirm that desire. Yet Jesus clearly tells us that, “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Without Him, all our righteous acts are like filthy rags. Yet through Jesus, we can know that we are accepted by God, not through any action of our own... but because we are resting on Jesus’ righteous and fully acceptable sacrifice, which He made in our place. Out of love.
That’s the Good News. The Gospel.
Pray that Muslims truly find closeness with God. That they find it through the only acceptable action: to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. To accept Him as our sacrificial act. To not hope in our imperfect offerings, but trust and have peace in the perfect offering... that God Himself provided.
* A 'movement' in this context is defined as a grouping of at least 100 new churches, or 1000 new Baptized Believers that arise within a 20-year period
Al-Ghazzālī, Inner Dimensions of Islamic worship, (Islamic Foundation, 2012)
David Garrison, A Wind in the House of Islam: How God Is Drawing Muslims Around the World to Faith in Jesus Christ, (Wigtake Resources, 2014)
Duane Alexander Miller and Patrick Johnstone, “Believers in Christ from a Muslim Background:
A Global Census.” Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion vol. 11 (2015)
Rick Kronk, Gene Daniels, Mark Chapman, and James Watson, “Fruitful Practices in Ministry to the North American Muslim Diaspora: A Mixed-Methods Study.” Fruitful Practice Research (2017)