(Photo: AP Photo / Hussein Malla)
As Muslims around the world marked the start of Ramadan on Wednesday, Christians were urged to make a deliberate effort to learn about, pray for, and reach out to Muslim neighbors across the street and around the world during Islam’s holiest month.
For the next 30 days, Muslims around the world will fast, pray, give to charity, and put more effort into following the teachings of Islam. From dawn to dusk, Muslims will try to abstain from food, drink, and sexual intercourse. They will also try to overcome emotions such as anger, envy, greed, lust, sarcasm, and gossip in their effort for self-control.
“They believe this is a time of purification accomplished through good deeds and self control,” remarked Christian ministry Open Doors, which is one of several groups mobilizing Christians in prayer this month.
And many Muslims during this time have visions of Jesus and are led to faith in him, the ministry added.
“This is why it is so urgent for Christians to be united in prayer throughout Ramadan,” Open Doors stated.
To equip Christians to pray for Muslims, Open Doors USA is offering a Ramadan Prayer Calendar that has multiple prayers points to help enable Christians to pray for Muslims around the world during the 30 days.
Another organization that is also offering a prayer guide for Ramadan is Mission Network News, which is cooperating with WorldChristian.com to distribute copies of the 19th edition of the 30 Days Muslim Prayer Guide to help Christians pray for and build bridges to Muslim friends and neighbors as they observe Ramadan.
The 2010 Edition of the 30 Days Muslim Prayer Guide contains daily readings focusing on various topics, people groups, and geographical areas of the Islamic world, followed by practical prayer points. It also features informative background articles and resources for further study and involvement.
“Especially in the climate of Islamic terrorism, the 30 Days Muslim Prayer Guide is an effective tool to help Christians be more prayerful and Christ-like,” commented MNN Executive Director Greg Yoder.
However Christians choose to pray during Ramadan, ministry leaders are encouraging them to take action over the next 30 days – for Muslims and also for Christians in predominantly Muslim areas as violent demonstrations against Christians are known to increase during Ramadan.
“This is an extraordinary time for praying for both Christians and Muslims in these Islamic nations,” remarked Open Doors USA President/CEO Carl Moeller. “The season of Ramadan gives Christians in the West an entire month to focus on praying for these individuals.”
This year, Ramadan runs from Aug. 11 through Sept. 9.
According to the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life, the number of Muslims living in the world today is 1.57 billion. More than 60 percent of that figure is in Asia and about 20 percent is in the Middle East and North Africa.
Based on Pew’s figures, one out of every four persons in the world today is Muslim.