This week our community finished up praying through the 30 days of Ramadan by using 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World. It's a fantastic resource and I encourage you to subscribe to it and use it each year. The prayer guide finisheds with some brilliant 'next step' words for loving our Muslim neighbours:
Christians often ask, “How can I participate in the unprecedented movements of God among Muslims today?” The answer is simple, “Love Muslims.” Simple, yet difficult to achieve. Islam has made itself among the most feared religions on earth. This reputation stems from a long history of conquests, forced conversions, discrimination, and terrorist atrocities that stream across our news media every day.
However, Muslims are not Islam. Muslims are individuals, men and women, boys and girls. For centuries, Muslims in many parts of the world have isolated themselves in communities that reinforce the stereotype that Christians are ignorant, worldly and slaves to the hedonism that the world so readily offers. This stereotype needs to be challenged!
A Muslim-background immigrant from Iran, named Ali, recently told me his story.
“A Christian friend who invited me to attend a weekly fellowship dinner at his church,” he reported. “When I learned that the menu included pork barbecue, I politely declined.” Two weeks later Ali was invited again. This time the church changed their menu to avoid any items that Ali would find objectionable. When I learned that they had gone to so much trouble just for me,” Ali said, “I could not decline.”
Within a few weeks, Ali had got to know a community of faithful God-lovers who also loved him in Jesus’ name. Today, Ali is a follower of Jesus Christ. He takes every opportunity to share with his Muslim friends, and encourage Christians to demonstrate their love for Muslims as a pathway to sharing their faith.
It can be tempting for us to fear, flee and even fight Muslims. But when we do so, we follow a script that Islam has used for centuries to depict Christians as “others” who must be contested or avoided.
The most direct path to loving Muslims is to pray for them. When we pray, we take on the very heart of God. God loves Muslims so much that He sent His only Son into the world to love them, forgive them, and save them.
As we pray for Muslims, we find that our heart begins to change. We begin to see them as God sees them. They are not the unknown purveyors of a dangerous and threatening ideology. They are men and women, boys and girls, who are lost - as we once were – and in need of a saviour.
Check out 30daysprayer.com for more.