Ramadan: Pray for Muslims, Persecuted Christians
This year, the Islamic month of fasting known as Ramadan falls between Aug 11 – Sept 9. Christians need to remember to keep Muslims in prayer and to reach out to them with the love of Christ. Contact Open Doors for a booklet that directs prayer for Muslims and their countries.
By Carl Moeller
8/9/2010 Islam (Open Doors) – Most Americans know little about Islam, the religion practiced by more than 1.4 billion people worldwide, most of whom live in Asia. In the United States, Islam has nearly 2 million adherents residing mostly in metropolitan areas.
For some of us, Muslims are our neighbors, classmates, co-workers and friends. But others of us live in homogenous communities and have never met a Muslim. Because of this, our perception of them comes largely from the media.
The reality of radical Islam came home to the typical American only after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But since that day, sometimes public response to Muslims has been fearfulness and anger, even among Christians. Fueling that fear and anger are alarmist books that urge readers to protect themselves against all followers of Islam. But most Muslims do not endorse such terrorist acts.
When Christians hold such fear and anger for anyone for whom Jesus died, it’s impossible for them to reach out with His love to share the Good News. Roy Oksnevad, Director of Muslim Ministries at Wheaton College, speaks at church mission conferences and seminars about Islam and Muslim outreach. “People get really angry at me for talking positively about Muslims,” Oksnevad says. “Before you can minister, you have to deal with the fear factor.”
Some congregations are responding to Islam positively by increasing their interaction with Muslims through church activities, relationship-building outreach and witnessing.
But one Florida church, the Dove World Outreach Center, has announced plans to observe Sept. 11 by burning Qurans.
This is certainly not the way Christ would respond. As anti-Christian violence followed publication of Danish cartoons depicting Muhammad, this one rogue church’s action may fuel attacks against Christians in Muslim-majority nations.
This year Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, begins Aug. 11 and ends Sept. 9. During Ramadan most Muslims fast from dawn until dusk, seeking to shed their sins through abstaining from food, drink, sexual activity and vices of the heart, such as envy, greed, lust and gossip. They believe Ramadan is a time of purification accomplished through good deeds and self-control.
For Christians, Ramadan marks a special time to pray for Muslims and to reach out to them with Christ’s love. Open Doors USA is offering a 30-day Ramadan Prayer Calendar (www.OpenDoorsUSA.org) with material to help Christians pray for Muslims as well as prayer requests for Christians who face persecution in Muslim nations. Other Christian organizations are also offering prayer resources during Ramadan.