Thank you to all of you who prayed during the Hajj last week. Let's continue to pray this week for the pilgrims who continue to perform Hajj rituals and for those who have returned to their home countries. Muslims also go to Mecca to perform the "Omra", which is a smaller version of the Hajj, a pilgrimage that they can do anytime during the year. Therefore, we can always be praying for Muslim pilgrims in Mecca and the city of Mecca itself.
A Saudi believer wrote the following prayer concerns and so let's join him and all Saudi believers in praying for Saudi Arabia and Mecca:
"The Hajj is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and it comes with the promise of cleansing the pilgrim of all their past (but not future) sins. Due to the physical and financial difficulty that can be involved, this pilgrimage is not mandatory, but many Muslims are willing to take the risks in order to be (temporarily) free from the burden of their sin and transgressions.
Many Muslims consider this pilgrimage an invitation to personal sacrifice, self-reflection and spiritual development by immersing themselves in the throng of their fellow Muslim brothers and sisters and drawing close to powerful symbols of Islam and its God.
Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again." (John 4:13-14)
To be totally free from sin, Muslim pilgrims must continue to return to Mecca to be cleansed over and over again, often at great personal cost. Pray that they will instead turn to the Messiah Jesus and confess him as Lord to be permanently set free from not only slavery to sin, but also religious slavery.
Pray for Muslims who return from Hajj to fall under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and be ever-restless, finding no peace and no false-sense of reconciliation with God apart from Christ.
Pray for the growing number of local Christ-followers who slip in among the pilgrims during Hajj to share the Gospel and proclaim the risen Savior. Ask the Holy Spirit to give them boldness and a love that casts out fear. Ask the Father to send pilgrims who receive Jesus back to their home countries as missionaries proclaiming the Gospel!
Near the western coast of Saudi Arabia lies the City of Mecca, the birthplace of Islam's Prophet Mohammed, and at its center is the Kaaba, a cube-like structure draped in black cloth and the holiest site in Islam. Muslims believe the Kabaa is the first mosque, the first place of worship, ever constructed, built by the Prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael (thus predating even the Jewish Tabernacle/Temple). This structure is the focal point on Earth of all Islamic prayers and nearly every mosque in the world has been designed to point toward it.
Mecca itself is oriented around the Kaaba, the Hajj, and the year-round lesser pilgrimages to Sacred Mosque. The constant stream of pilgrims from all over the world has made Mecca quite diverse for the region and many locals are employed in the "Hajj Industry", serving the needs of visitors and always preparing for the next Hajj. Non-Muslims are forbidden from entering the city.
Pray that the increasingly commercialization of the Hajj will lead to disillusionment among both visiting Muslims as well as the native workers as they strive to please God with empty rituals and dead works.
Eid Al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, is considered to be the holiest of the two great Islamic holidays and takes place during the last three days of the Hajj. This feast commemorates and honors the Prophet Abraham for his willingness to obey God without question, even when he was asked to sacrifice his own son. Much like the Genesis story, in Islam the Prophet Abraham is prevented from actually killing his son when a lamb is miraculously produced by God as a replacement.
Every year Muslims, like the Prophet Abraham, offer an animal sacrifice and then divide the meat into three parts: one for the poor, another for relatives, friends and neighbors and the final third they keep and eat in their own household.
As the story of Abraham is replayed by millions of Muslims, pray that many will be stirred to seek out more information about this man of God and that they will have the courage to read the Scriptures for themselves. Pray that the Genesis story will come alive as they read it, more powerfully than anything they've ever read in the Quran."
Also, watch this recent PTAP video about the Bani Atiya tribe in Saudi Arabia. Pray that God would bring this entire tribe to Himself!