Churches in the Middle East

Will Become Active in Bringing Muslims to Christ

Friday, August 23, 2019

The believers in Jesus most qualified to communicate Christ to Muslims in any country are people who share the same culture, language, and history as the Muslims who live in that country. It can take foreign missionaries many years to become skilled in the language and feel at home in the local culture, and even then, few become “native” in their language proficiency. God does call people to share Christ cross-culturally, but indigenous Christians enjoy a distinct advantage: most speak Arabic as their mother-tongue, and they share many cultural traits with their Muslim neighbors.

This week we are praying for indigenous Christians in Muslim countries. Those believers face unique challenges: since their local laws forbid them to share the Gospel with Muslims, they face the real fear of reprisal if they are outspoken about Christ.

Let us ask God to inspire indigenous Christians who live among Muslims to be passionate and intentional about sharing Christ with their Islamic neighbors.

Prayer

God our Father, we lift to you in prayer indigenous Christians who live in Muslim lands. They are in the best position to share your love with Muslims in their own culture. Inspire these, our brothers and sisters, with increasing love and vision to share their faith with Muslims. Help them to be creative and wise in how they share. Give them the courage to overcome their fear. Lead them into relationships with Muslims who are open to you. Empower believers to step outside the limits of their own traditions and cultural expectations to truly befriend Muslims. Protect and preserve your Church, O Lord, throughout these lands. Amen.

Promise

What does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:8-9, NIV).

Footnotes

[1] Written by Tom Belt.

“Doegs” in the Church

Friday, August 16, 2019

Doeg, King Saul’s chief shepherd, went to the House of God one day to perform a religious duty, and he saw David there. Later, he reported to the king that the priests of the Lord were in league with David. King Saul considered David an enemy, so he was furious and ordered his guards to kill the priests. When the guards refused, King Saul ordered Doeg to do the job and he obliged: he killed 85 priests and all the people in the city—men, women, children, and babies—and even the animals (1 Samuel 21-22).

People like Doeg exist today. They go to meetings in Muslim countries to spy on converts from Islam who worship Christ. When we pioneered a church in North Africa, Fatima started coming to our meetings. We later discovered that she was a secret police agent. But God, in his grace, had orchestrated things to our advantage, and miraculously protected us from a lot of trouble.

Prayer

Glorious Father, give your children in Muslim lands the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. Enlighten the eyes of their heart (Ephesians 1:17-18). Illumine their soul and mind to receive a word of wisdom and of knowledge from you so they can identify the “Doegs” that infiltrate gatherings of believers to spy on the freedom they have in Christ (Galatians 2:4).

Give your children the presence of mind and a sensitive spirit to see the things you want to reveal to them. Give your flock love and wisdom: love to pray for the “Doegs” and trust God to convict them, and wisdom to guard the flock of God against those who want to wreak havoc on your church. Do a miraculous work in the lives of present-day “Doegs.” Change their hard hearts, heal their sick souls, revive their dead consciences, and bring them into the Kingdom of your beloved Son. May no treason or persecution bend our will to keep us from following you or even dying for you.

In the name that is above every name, Jesus the Christ, Lord and King. Amen.

Promise

Do not be terrified by them…. I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land—against… kings… officials… priests and people…. I am with you and will rescue you (Jeremiah 1:17-18, NIV).

Sacrifice Celebration

Friday, August 9, 2019

During this season, Muslims the world over celebrate Id al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice (other names are used in different areas). This celebration commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son (Ishmael, according to Islam) in obedience to God’s command. But God provided a ram for Abraham to offer instead.

For the celebration, each family or group of families kills an animal, usually a sheep. Wherever Muslims are, whether in Mecca taking part in the hajj (pilgrimage) or anywhere else in the world, their religion requires them to slaughter an animal.

Prayer

Merciful and redeeming God, I ask you to open Muslims’ eyes during this season to see the Lamb you provided for the atonement of the sin of the world. May they open their hearts to Christ, who was led like a lamb to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7), who died on the cross, and who rose again to set us free from sin and condemnation.

Help Muslims realize that Jesus agonized, suffered, and died for them so that they could have joy, peace, and life in him.

May they accept your provision to redeem them “with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:18-19). Let them hear his cry on the cross declaring, “It is finished.” Then they will see how pointless it is to try to gain God’s favor through the millions of sacrifices they slaughter during this season.

Compassionate Father, reveal to Muslims the Lamb of God who now sits upon the throne in heaven. Draw them by your love to join saints and angels in singing the heavenly chorus: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” (Revelation 5:12).

Promise

Where is the lamb for the burnt offering? . . . God himself will provide the lamb (Genesis 22:7-8, NIV). There is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29, REB).

Abigail

Friday, August 2, 2019

Nabal, a rich but foolish man, had a wise and deeply spiritual wife named Abigail. When David sent Nabal his greetings and asked for help from him, Nabal insulted David’s messengers and sent them away empty-handed. A servant told Abigail about the unhappy encounter. He knew that David would be furious and advised Abigail to do something to prevent certain disaster. Abigail lost no time. She took generous gifts to David and his men and interceded to stop them from taking vengeance on her husband Nabal and the entire household. Her courageous efforts warded off a calamity. (Read the story in 1 Samuel 25.)

There are many women in Muslim families who have accepted Christ quietly and live courageously for him. Some of them have told their husbands and families about their faith in Christ. We need to pray for them and ask God to multiply and protect such wise women.

Prayer

Glorious and Almighty God, our Maker and Redeemer, we ask you to raise up thousands of Abigails in the Muslim world. By the power of your Spirit, cause many women to put their faith in Christ the Savior.

Give them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation to know you better. Flood their hearts with the light of Christ, so they may understand the confident hope you give your children. May they realize that they are indeed your precious daughters, your glorious inheritance, and that you take pride in them!

Teach them your precepts so they can raise families who fear God and love Christ and live for him.

Turn them into mighty intercessors who prevail in prayer on behalf of their husbands, children and families.

In the precious name of Christ, our Lord who was raised from the dead, and who is sitting on his throne far above all government and authority, all power and dominion, and any title of sovereignty that commands allegiance, not only in this age but also in the age to come (Ephesians 1:21). Amen.

Promise

Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who has sent you today…. Go home in peace. I have heard your words and granted your request (1 Samuel 25: 32, 35, NIV).