Christians have been urged to pray for Muslims during Ramadan, Islam’s holiest month, which in some countries begins Wednesday.
During Ramadan, Muslims around the world will fast, pray, give to charity, and put more effort into following the teachings of Islam. From dawn to dusk, Muslims are required to abstain from food, drink and sex. They will also try to overcome emotions such as anger, envy, greed, lust, sarcasm, and gossip in their effort for self-control.
“With Islam in the news almost every night, the time is now to begin praying that God would draw Muslims to Himself,” wrote Greg Yoder, executive director of Mission Network News, which is organizing the Muslim prayer effort.
Sammy Tippit, an evangelist who is focusing on reaching Muslims, explained the significance of praying for Muslims during Ramadan.
“It’s kind of a time of seeking in a certain sense, when they’re fasting and they’re more geared toward spiritual things,” said Tippit, according to MNN. “And it’s out of a sense for God – a thirst for God and a hunger for God. And during these times of Ramadan, many will have dreams about Jesus.”
Some former Muslims who lived in areas where they have no contact with Christians and no chance of hearing the Gospel have said they had dreams and visions of Jesus which spurred them to seek more information about Jesus Christ, eventually resulting in their conversion.
“A husband began to dream about Jesus. He had several dreams about Jesus. Then, one night his son walked in and said, 'Dad, God told me to tell you that Jesus is God's Son.' The dad fell on his knees and gave his life to Christ," recalled Tippit.
According to “Brother Andrew,” founder of the Christian ministry Open Doors and author of the upcoming book “Secret Believers: What Happens When Muslims Believe in Christ,” there is a challenge facing Christians today, however, that stems from the “enemy image” of Muslims that they have created.
“We fear fundamentalists. We fear the consequences when a Muslim state acquires nuclear weapons. We worry about Muslims emigrating to the West, taking over our neighborhoods, imposing Sharia Law. Isn't that why we fear them?” he expressed in a press release from Open Doors UK last Thursday.
“Or maybe the real reason we fear Muslims is that we won't tell them ‘God loves you,” Brother Andrew continued. “Do we see members of al-Qaeda or Hamas as potential temples of the Holy Spirit? They won't be if we don't pray for them and if someone in whom Christ dwells doesn't go to them.”
Brother Andrew has called believers to join a new “jihad” – one of forgiveness, radical love and unyielding prayer.
“We must commit to participate in the spiritual war, beginning on the battlefield of prayer,” he asserts in his upcoming book.
While Ramadan began Wednesday for some Muslims in countries such as Libya, most of the Middle East will observe the beginning of Ramadan on Thursday including Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Afghanistan will also declare the start of its holy month on Thursday.
Eric Young in Washington, D.C. contributed to this report.