As Muslims around the world prepare for Ramadan, Islam's holiest month, some Christians are planning to join them in prayer, but with a different purpose.
Beginning Saturday, Muslims will fast, pray, give to charity and try harder to live according to the teachings of Islam. For the next 30 days, Muslims will not eat, drink or engage in sexual intercourse from dawn to dusk with the hope that they can get closer to God.
"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 Sammy Tippit, an evangelist who focuses on reaching Muslims, to Mission Network News (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."
Because Muslims – especially young ones – are searching for truth and seeking God during this time period, organizations such as MNN are encouraging Christians to pray that Muslims will come to know Jesus Christ as their savior.
MNN noted that a growing number of young people in Iran, for example, are disillusioned with the Islamic faith. Many Iranian young people see corrupt political leaders that are closely tied to the country's supreme spiritual Islamic leader.
In June, the world witnessed widespread protests in Iran over the contested reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose alleged victory was labeled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as a "divine assessment." Ahmadinejad's inauguration was held on Aug. 5 in Tehran amid protests held outside the Parliament.
To help Christians pray during Ramadan, MNN is offering a prayer guide, World Christian's 30 Days Muslim Prayer Guide, that provides insight on the culture and practices of various Muslim countries. The prayer guide also includes information to help participants understand Christian and Muslim differences.
While Christianity today remains the world's largest religion, with between 1.5 billion and 2.1 billion adherents (about a quarter to a third of the world's population), Islam is the world's fastest growing religion, according to some estimates. Muslims reportedly account for one-fifth of the world's population.
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