The anniversary of September 11 and all of the hubbub over Iranian President Ahmadinejad's speaking engagement at Columbia University are now behind us. It is easy to allow our American sensibilities about radical Islam to jump the fence from righteous anger to outright hatred. But there is a far more appropriate way to respond. As Christians, our response to the Muslim world should be no different than our response to anything: Pray.
And what better time than during Ramadan—the 30 days from September 13 to October 12 in which Muslims devote themselves to prayer and fasting. Since 1992, Christians from around the world have united to pray for the 30 days corresponding to Ramadan. They pray for those who reside in predominantly Muslim countries, those oppressed by Islam. Christians who have been involved in sponsoring this 30-day prayer movement have created an online prayer guide with daily prayer requests for specific Muslim nations: Breathtaking pictures are there and powerful stories of lives transformed through Jesus Christ.
Take, for example, a former Muslim man in China who was converted to Christianity. He was so convicted by the Lord's Prayer to "forgive his debtors," that he did exactly that. Those he forgave were so amazed by his actions that they all came to Christ. This is the kind of thing that prayer can result in.
Right now, Ramadan is well underway. In fact, it is almost over. But that does not mean that we cannot seize the day by praying that Muslims will be exposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So, here's an idea: For the remaining eight days of Ramadan, join me in praying for a specific part of the Muslim world, like Mauritania.
Like many Muslim countries, freedom of religion is limited at best in Mauritania, an Islamic republic in West Africa. For example, guards frequently stand at church doors keeping citizens from worshipping freely. An imam who showed the Jesus film in a mosque there died of uncertain causes. And a Christian who recently visited the country said, "You can have freedom of speech if you are a Muslim. You can have freedom of religion if you are a Muslim. It is, in fact, okay to be a Christian, but it is offensive to speak of Jesus as anything other than one of the prophets."
Please join me in praying that God's love will be evident to this small country of three million and that Christians will find the freedom to worship God in spirit and truth. There is nothing that excites God more than watching His people overcome evil with good.
After all, Ramadan may be a Muslim observance, but there is no rule that keeps Christians from using the same calendar to pray that God would show His radical and transforming love to those who so desperately need Him. Second Peter 3:9 says that God is "not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."
Remember, that for every radical Islamic terrorist out there, there is another lonely, lost, hurting Muslim. It could even be your neighbor. So, pray for your neighbor, pray for Mauritania, and pray for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
To discover more specific ways you can pray for the Muslim world visit BreakPoint.org.
From BreakPoint®, October 5, 2007, Copyright 2007, Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with the permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or distributed without the express written permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. "BreakPoint®" and "Prison Fellowship Ministries®" are registered trademarks of Prison Fellowship