Breaking The Fast

Friday, July 1, 2016

Muslims end the month-long Ramadan fast with a celebration known as Id al-Fitr, a national holiday in Muslim countries. There are parties and festivities. No more rigorous abstention from food and drink. The mood changes from somber to joyful. Family members get together. People give alms to the poor.

Yet, it is not uncommon at this time of jubilation and glee for people to feel empty and unfulfilled.

Prayer

Blessed be your majesty in heaven, O God (Ezekiel 3:12). You are the True God, the only God to be worshipped and adored. You are the source of true joy and comfort; you are our hope.

I pray for these dear friends. Help them allow you to change their lives. Although they have broken the fast and are now celebrating and feasting, what they really need is Jesus, the bread of life. Open their hearts to receive the message of Christ. Give them a hunger and a thirst for the Word of God. Put in them the desire to know Jesus and follow him.

You promised to spread a banquet, a feast of rich food for all peoples (Isaiah 25:6). Lord, Muslims are very needy. They are hungry for you, even if they do not realize it. I pray that the love of Christ will touch their hearts. May they realize the importance of Jesus’ sacrifice at Calvary. May many of them, even today, commit their lives to you, our Lord and Savior, and find true peace, joy and rest in you. Amen.

Promise

On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” (John 7:37, 38, NIV).

“Jonahs”

Friday, June 24, 2016

God commissioned Jonah to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh (Jonah 1:1-2). Jonah did not like his assignment because the Ninevites were wicked. He knew that, later on, they would defeat and torture his own people, the children of Israel, in ways unheard of. As a prophet, Jonah saw those tragedies coming. He did not want the Ninevites to repent or to receive God’s mercy!

He thought he could escape from his duty. But after the Lord brought him back to his senses, he went to Nineveh and preached God’s message. The entire nation repented! Read the book of Jonah.

It is not easy to convince Christians to wish Muslims well and offer them the message of Christ’s grace. Yet, we trust God to change our hearts and give us courage to carry out his divine plan for the lost.

Prayer

You alone are God of all the peoples of the earth. You are our Maker and Redeemer. You have other sheep that are not in this flock (John 10:16). Your mercy is more universal than we sometimes think. Your love and compassion extend to Muslims also! You are interested in their well-being. You want the blind to see, the lost to be found and the dead to come back to life.

We pray for grace that we, the followers of Jesus your Son, will have kind hearts toward Muslims. They are lost because they are away from Christ, the only Savior.

We repent because we have failed you. Just as you were patient with Jonah and gave him a second chance to obey you, give us another chance, Lord God.

Help us go to Muslims with love, compassion and courage, empowered by your Holy Spirit. Amen.

Promise

“I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart” (Ezekiel 36:26, NLT).

Lonely Believers

Friday, June 17, 2016

Abdel-Qader was a leader in a mosque in North Africa. His religious duties included leading Muslims in prayer and preaching to them on Fridays. When Jesus revealed himself to Abdel-Qader, he became a secret believer in Christ. Now he reads the Bible diligently and memorizes large parts of it!

How can he be baptized in water, partake of the Lord’s Supper and have fellowship with other believers? He does not know of any other believers in his own town.

Abdel-Qader’s story is repeated over and over in Muslim countries. Many Muslims who come to Christ feel very lonely because there are no churches or meetings they can attend.

This week we will pray for these precious, isolated believers.

Prayer

Almighty God in heaven, you hear our prayers. Blessed are those who put their faith in you and follow Jesus, your Son, no matter how difficult it proves to be. O God, you are our only true shelter and refuge, rock and fortress. We can indeed depend on you. All of us must come to you.

We bring to you those who have left Islam and now find themselves alone in communities that are very hostile to them. Listen to our cry, O Savior divine. Look upon them, Lord God, and be gracious to them, for they are lonely (Psalm 25:16).

Nothing is impossible for you. By your Holy Spirit, you can bring many people in those areas to put their faith in Christ so that they become true brothers and sisters, real family to other believers. May they realize that they are part of an incredible, mighty army: the Church, the body of Christ, the temple of the Holy Spirit, the house of God all over the world.

Encourage them and fill them with your presence. Show them your face and smile upon them.

In Jesus’ precious name I pray, amen.

Promise

Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy (Psalm 68:5-6, NLT).

Egypt

Friday, June 10, 2016

Christianity came to Egypt, possibly through the Egyptian visitors in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2: 10). History indicates that Mark (who wrote the Gospel of Mark) also evangelized that region around A.D. 70.

Soon afterwards, the theological school of Alexandria was established. The New Testament was then translated into the dialects of the people. The Egyptian church started sending missionaries to evangelize other nations. For example, Pantaenus went to India in A.D. 190, and Maurice went to Switzerland in A.D. 287. The weight and influence of the Alexandria school proved very critical in fighting heresies such as Arianism (the forerunner of present-day Jehovah’s Witnesses).

By the fourth century, a majority of Egyptians were Christians. But with the Islamic Arabic invasion in the seventh century, the Egyptian church suffered greatly. Consequently, today Christians are only a minority in that nation.

In 2011, revolution flared in Egypt and spread from there to several other Arab nations. This newly unleashed dynamic will likely keep the whole region churning for years to come.

Prayer

All hail to the only true God, whose Word shall stand for ever and ever. You pronounced a blessing on Egypt (Isaiah 19:23-25; 49:12), and we claim it in the name of Christ the Lord. For the sake of the cross, cause many Egyptians—Muslims, Copts and others—to put their faith in Jesus Christ.

Recently, Egyptians in large numbers cried out for freedom. I pray that they will seek your face to set them free by the power of the cross.

The enemy has trapped them in long-held traditions and habits and well-established institutions. Set them free, O God in heaven above!

Reveal to them Christ, the only Lord and Savior. Challenge them to toss aside anything that hinders them from coming to you in throngs.

I entreat you, O Lord, to be the rock and fortress, the shelter and refuge for your children in Egypt. Amen.

Promise

The Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians. They will acknowledge the Lord…. Blessed be Egypt my people (Isaiah 19:21, 25).

Fast

Friday, June 3, 2016

During this season, Muslims start the month-long fast called Ramadan. The Muslim calendar is based on the lunar year which has only 354 days. So each year the month-long fast comes about 11 days earlier than the previous year.

Muslims fast from dawn to sunset every day throughout this month. They abstain from food, drink, smoking, smelling nice odors, and marital relations. Each day after sunset, they break the fast, usually with a feast. They are allowed to eat until dawn of the following day.

According to Islam, this fast enables people to gain a right standing with God and an entry into paradise.

Some Muslims actually believe that during this month the devil is chained and cannot cause them harm, that the doors of heaven are open and the doors of hell are closed.

Prayer

O Lord Jesus, I pray with love and compassion in my heart for Muslims during this season of fasting.

You know, Lord, that most Muslims are sincere people. They are serious about their religion and beliefs. Help them realize that to approach you they have to go through Jesus and his sacrifice at Calvary. They cannot save themselves from sin by “pulling themselves up by their bootstraps”! They cannot lift themselves up to you by performing rituals and religious duties.

Help them, O God, discover during this season that we are saved, not through works of righteousness, but only by faith through your undeserved favor.

I pray that you will reveal yourself to Muslims during this month as the Savior who has already accomplished all things. May they know that on the cross “it is finished.” Amen.

Promise

It is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life” (Galatians 3:11, NLT).