Don’t put them in a box

The month of Ramadan (18 June to 17 July) has begun for Muslims around the world – a time when Christians are increasingly encouraged to pray for those of this faith.  It’s hard, even discouraging, to pray for more than a billion people, and stereotypes wash over our thoughts. Whereas, like the many shades of belief among people calling themselves Christians, the worldwide family or ummah of Islam contains varied beliefs. Over and above the sects such as Shi’ite and Sunni, a person we might lump into the Muslim ‘box’ could represent the folk superstitions tangled up with Islam often found in East Africa, or hard-line jihadist fighters, or even the secret followers of Jesus hidden in the very heartland of this faith.

To successfully engage in God’s work bringing these people to himself, don’t put them in one generalised box. Their stories are many and varied. And personalising our prayer turns it into something manageable, more intimate, more from the heart, more real.

Take this example where specific prayer is so needed – the exciting story of the village of ‘M’ on the Zambezi Delta. In the words of Dean, the Kiwi helicopter pilot who flies a YWAM team in to the remote village: “The Bible teaching programme was initiated in a new village and it turns out the majority of this village is Muslim – most unusual in this area – but they were very receptive to the Bible and want more.”

A few weeks later Dean reported, “Big numbers of people continue to meet with each visit and engage in intelligent question asking and learning. Pray this will continue in this unthreatened way.”

Rafiq was one of the millions of Berbers who left North Africa seeking a better life in Europe. As a composer, while researching the life of Jesus for a musical, Rafiq became a follower of Jesus himself. When he returned to North Africa he found himself in the midst of a turning of thousands of Berbers to the Lord.

In other parts of Africa, camel herders in the desert listen to Christian radio broadcasts and find Jesus. And let’s not forget the people setting out from North Africa, the Middle East and Asia, packed like sardines into rickety boats, desperate for something better and safer. Who is praying for them?

And so the specific examples go on. The current wave of Muslim movements to Christ has happened at the same time as an increase in prayer for the Muslim world. It’s no coincidence that the 30 days of Prayer movement has just commemorated its 23rd year. Pray that the Spirit of God will continue to sweep through the Muslim world, drawing Islam’s millions to realise their need for salvation in Christ alone! (Acts 4:12)  If you are interested to get more information on this go to this website