Thursday, May 25, 2017

What is Ramadan and What Should Christians Do?

Ramadan is the Islamic holy month.  This year in the US it will begin on Friday, May 26, 2017. (Update: In 2019 Ramadan begins May 6th and continues until June 4th. Dates may vary slightly in different locations.)

For the next month, Muslims all around the world will be fasting. They will abstain from all food and drink from about an hour before sunrise until about sunset every day.  In the evenings and late into the night, many Muslims will gather in mosques to perform extra prayers. In Muslim cities around the world, the sound of chanting prayers, sometimes for hours, will be heard over loud speakers from mosques each evening.

Ramadan is a time when many Muslims are sincerely seeking God’s forgiveness and help.  They hope that if they keep the Ramadan fast then their sins from the previous year will be cleansed away. They are willing to undertake a very difficult fast in an effort to obey what they understand to be God’s will. While many Muslims are sincere in their devotion, like the Jews who rejected Jesus, their zeal is not based on knowledge:

Romans 10:2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.

What Should Christians Do During Ramadan?

Remember that God loves Muslims.  He does not love their wrong beliefs, but He does love them as people whom He longs to save.

Muslims make up the largest block of unreached people groups.  In other words, reaching Muslims with the gospel is one of the biggest challenges remaining in order to complete the Great Commission.  If you care about obeying the Great Commission, you should care a lot about reaching Muslims.

The most important thing you can do is pray.  God even calls some Christians to fast during Ramadan in order to seek His power and grace to spread His love and truth among Muslims.  Here are some ideas about how you can pray:

1.  Pray for Christians living among Muslims during Ramadan.  Pray that Christians will be filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered to share Christ with their Muslim neighbors.  Many Muslims are very open to spiritual discussions at this time.

2.  Pray for Muslims to be blessed with supernatural dreams which lead them to faith in Jesus.  God has been working this way all over the Muslim world.  During the 14 years when we lived in the largest Muslim nation in the world, we personally heard testimonies of quite a few Muslims who had become followers of Jesus.  In many cases, God had blessed them with supernatural dreams which helped them have courage to follow Jesus.

3.  Pray for protection from evil.  While most Muslims are not violent, a small minority of extremists are. The month of Ramadan does lead to a distorted zeal in some which results in violence against non-Muslims. Pray especially for Christians living in Muslim nations.

4.  Pray for Muslims who have become followers of Christ.  These Muslims almost always face great pressure and sometimes experience violent persecution intended to force them to renounce Christ.

5.  Pray by name for any Christians you know who are living among and ministering to Muslims.  Pray by name for any Muslims you know.

6.  Pray for the advance of the gospel among specific Muslim people groups, such as the Bugis People of Indonesia.  There are estimated to be over 5 million Bugis people, and it is believed that they are less than 1/10th of 1% Christian. Some of them are  friends I personally know whom I long to see in God's eternal kingdom.

7.  Pray that many Muslims who are seeking God in the wrong way will find the true Way to God:

Hebrews 13:16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others . . .

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