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The annual prayer vigil for the Muslim world is happening again this year during Ramadan, which begins on Saturday, May 27.  I will be posting prayers in this discussion based on the daily prayer guide from WorldChristian.Com and invite others to join in.  If you're interested in getting a copy of the daily prayer guide, please click the link to order directly from them.

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On the eve of Ramadan, I wanted to post this article from the Open Doors website.  Please pray that this holy month for Muslims around the world won't become a month of bloodshed and violence.  May God open the eyes of those who have set themselves against him and have believed a false religion.

CHRISTIANS KILLED IN EGYPT BUS ATTACK

GUNMEN OPEN FIRE ON A BUS CARRYING COPTIC CHRISTIANS TO A PRAYER GATHERING

A bus full of Coptic Christians en route to a prayer gathering at the monastery of St. Samuel—about 150 miles from Cairo, Egypt—was ambushed by armed gunmen.

The BBC is reporting that at least 28 Christians are now dead, with dozens more injured.

The tragedy has become commonplace for Copts in a country where the Christian minority has increasingly been the target of violence.

Egypt ranked #21 on the 2017 World Watch List, with the persecution level rated Very High. About 90% of the country’s population of 95 million identify as Muslim. Islamic extremism, especially by the group known as ISIS, has led to an increase in terrorist activities in recent months.

ATTACK ON THE FIRST DAY OF RAMADAN

Friday marked the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Egyptian Christians were already prayerful and cautious.

Here’s what one Open Doors worker in Egypt said recently:

“[Ramadan] is a very long 30 days during which Christians in schools, work or public spaces will receive harsh looks and verbal harassments from devout Muslims because of their faith. They are ridiculed for not fasting like Muslims. Even in some cases, Christians may face physical violence…”

His words are especially poignant today as word spreads about this latest attack.

PLEASE JOIN US IN PRAYER FOR EGPYT

  • For the families of the victims. Among the dead: mothers and fathers. Children, with ages to be determined.
  • For those who carried out the brutal attack. Pray that God will convict their hearts, even in the immediate aftermath. While the murders were heinous, God is still pursuing the gunmen.
  • For the rest of the month of Ramadan. An already wary Christian population will now be on high alert throughout the rest of the month.

Ramadan Day 1 (May 27)

Father, as Muslim families around the world fast through the days of Ramadan, please protect their health and their safety.  Use this time of increased focus on their spiritual lives to reveal yourself to them.  Lord Jesus, please appear in dreams and visions to thousands of Muslims around the world during this month, and open their hearts to the truth of the Gospel.  Place in these families a longing to know you, and draw entire households to yourself.

In Jesus' name. Amen.

Ramadan, Day 2 (May 28)

Father, please have mercy on the Andalouse of Zaghouan in Tunisia.  For those who have lost their livelihood due to the downturn in tourism, please enable them to find other ways to support their families.  Rebuild the economy in ways that will honor you and provide for the needs of the people.

Please spread peace and stability in Tunisia and grant to the government wisdom to know how to maintain that peace and to set the right path forward.

Raise up workers to take the Gospel to the Andalouse and prepare among them people of peace who will be open spiritually and able to influence others.

In Jesus' name. Amen.

Ramadan, Day 3 (May 29): Multicultural North America

Father, thank you for the peoples from all over the world that you have brought to North America.  Thank you especially for bringing Muslims from many different countries and cultures here, where they can hear the Gospel.

Please empower these immigrants to integrate into society.  Provide friendships, educational and employment opportunities, and other means for them to become part of the American culture.  As they experience all kinds of new relationships and opportunities, please also open their hearts to the Gospel, and raise up churches to send forth believers to testify of your love and grace through their words and their lives.

Reap a rich harvest among these people groups who are represented here, Lord - and then spread that back to their homelands.  As a result of the work that you do among these immigrants, please change forever the spiritual trajectory of their families, villages, and towns back home. 

In Jesus' name. Amen.

Ramadan Day 4 (May 30): Shame and Honor Culture

Father, thank you for the promise that those who trust in your Son will never be put to shame.  Reveal yourself to those who live in shame/honor-based cultures and show them that the ultimate honor is to know you.  Make your promises known among them and appear to them, Lord Jesus, in dreams and visions revealing who you really are.

Grant those of us in Western cultures a greater understanding of the tenets of shame/honor cultures and equip us to pray for non-believers in these cultures.

In Jesus' name. Amen.

Ramadan Day 5 (May 31): Comoros

Father, please raise up your church as an agent of transformation on the Comoros Islands.  Bless the few believers among the Comorians in ways both spiritual and material, and make them channels of your blessing to those around them, so that you may be known by those who are today in darkness.

Raise up provision for the needs of the poor on the Islands - both their physical and their material needs.  Strengthen family structures.  Bring about effective health care and education.

May your word transform these islands from spiritual darkness and material poverty to a light that shines not only throughout the Islands but beyond as well.

In Jesus' name. Amen.

Ramadan Day 6 (June 1): Lebanon

Father, please hear the cries and see the needs of refugees in Lebanon from Iraq and Syria.  Provide for their physical and emotional needs, and especially draw them near to you in their time of need.

Thank you for the churches in Lebanon who are reaching out to these refugees and providing both spiritual and physical help.  Thank you for building communities in these churches and for the open hearts and open arms of the families there.  Please multiply the fruit of these efforts, blessing refugee families and blessing the churches that care for them.  Enable these refugee families to assimilate into Lebanese culture and society, and make them a blessing to other refugees who are yet far from you.

Please make refugee believers channels of your blessing to those around them who don't know you, and as a result bring thousands to yourself who might never have heard the gospel in the lands they came from.  Out of tragedy, bring redemption and salvation.

In Jesus' name. Amen.

I am praying.

I was also discouraged as I read a Christianity Today article noting that 80 of American Evangelicals supported President Trump's entry restrictions on Muslims, saying this is the greatest opportunity to present the gospel and minister to Muslims in history and we are on the other side because of fear.

I think what you're saying shows how there can be differences of opinion on issues even among those who focus their lives around living for God.  Issues like this easily get politicized and the rhetoric we're seeing generates more heat than light on these types of issues. 

So at the risk of being overly political, I'd have to say that based on what I know, I'd be among those who support the restrictions, with the following notes:

  • The countries included in the restrictions represent somewhere around 8% of the world's Muslims.  If we're worried that Muslims in general aren't going to be able to get here where they could hear the gospel, I don't think we need to worry.
  • The restriction is a 90-120 day restriction.  I suppose it could be extended, but the ask itself is not for a permanent ban.  It's for a restriction for a period of time so that we can "vet our vetting process".  One could argue that we already have a thorough process, and I don't know enough about the details of the current process to argue one side or the other.
  • The countries specified in the restrictions are mostly completely failed states, meaning that getting background information on folks coming from those countries is more problematic than with other countries in the world.

This is just my opinion, and I'm perfectly willing to be wrong on this, but I believe that church and government have two different functions.  As believers, we are called to show Christ's love to anyone and everyone and I think that call has a special emphasis when it comes to reaching across ethnic and religious boundaries.  Our government has as a primary function keeping us safe.  When I keep the difference in those two functions in mind, I can agree with some of what I see being proposed in terms of travel restrictions, etc. - while at the same time praying for Muslims who are here and those who are in other countries around the world.

Again, my opinion only.

Ramadan Day 7 (June 02): What Concerns Muslim Parents?

Father, please give Muslim parents - especially those living in non-Muslim cultures - wisdom in raising their children.  Empower them to balance teaching and practice in cultures often different from their homelands. 

Comfort Muslim parents who have lost their children to Islamic terrorist groups.  Create in their hearts a desire to know you, and to have the peace that can only come from you.  Protect them from discrimination and at the same time open their hearts to the Gospel.  Raise up your church in areas where expatriate Muslims live to reach out to them with love and grace.

In Jesus' name. Amen.

Ramadan, Day 8 (June 03): Muslims - a minority in India

Father, please break down the barriers in the minds of Indian believers toward reaching out to Muslims.  Raise up persons of peace among the Muslims there in every village, and lead believers to them to share the Gospel.  Build bridges of trust, communication, and friendship that you can use to impact the lives of Muslims throughout India.

Please bring peace and reconciliation between the religious groups in India, especially in light of the recent rise of Hindu extremism and persecution of both Christians and Muslims.  Use your church to open doors of cooperation and communication.  Replace extremist hatred and violence with an honest seeking after the Truth, for your word is Truth.

In Jesus' name. Amen.

Ramadan, Day 9 (June 04): Afghans in North America

Father, please bring healing and wholeness to Afghans in the United States who have fled from war, terrorism, and violence in their own country. 

Raise up local churches in communities with an Afghan population to reach out to them with your love and grace and with the truth of the Gospel.  Break down barriers of fear, mistrust, and prejudice to enable your people to be agents of reconciliation, drawing these Muslims to yourself.

Please transform marriages among Afghans where they have been characterized by domestic violence.  Replace the spirit of violence in these marriages with a spirit of peace and love.  Provide for the women who have been abused.  May your church reflect your love for them.

In Jesus' name. Amen.

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