Muslim Cities

Will Welcome Christ

Friday, March 31, 2023

This coming Sunday, Western Christendom celebrates Palm Sunday. We remember that Jesus entered Jerusalem triumphantly, yet humbly; he came riding on a donkey. The crowds wanted to express their joy. They went out to receive him, carrying palm branches and spreading their clothes on the road. They lifted their voices in adoration and praise. That was the way conquerors and kings were welcomed home from their victories.

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, Majestic and Almighty Savior, you humbled yourself to be gracious to us. You stooped down to be our Redeemer. We worship you. You alone are God. You alone are our Master. You are the visible image of the invisible God. Everything was created by you and for your glory: cities and nations, kings and kingdoms, rulers and authorities. You could have entered Jerusalem in a gold chariot studded with pearls and precious stones, but instead you rode in on a donkey. What humility!

I pray that you will enter triumphantly into cities and towns that are presently labeled as Muslim fortresses.

May you enter people’s hearts and change them. May many Muslims this week own you, Jesus Christ, as their Deliverer, Redeemer and King eternal. I pray that they will experience your love, compassion and tenderness. May they, in throngs, shout from the depths of their souls, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! … Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come…. Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” (Matthew 21:9; Revelation 4:8; 5:12, NIV).

Promise

May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth (Psalm 67:4, NIV).

Fast

Friday, March 24, 2023

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 in the previous year.

Muslims fast from dawn to sunset every day throughout this month. They abstain from food, drink, smoking, smelling nice aromas, 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, the Ramadan 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.

O God, help them discover 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).

Merat Sultan

Chief of Police in Tabriz

Friday, March 17, 2023

Merat Sultan was born in the shah of Iran’s palace in 1876. He became the chief of police and of the army in Tabriz, Iran. When the Russians invaded and occupied that area, they made plans to execute Sultan. He escaped, but because it was snowing, he stopped at the house of an Armenian priest. The priest housed and fed him for 40 days.

When Sultan decided he needed to keep running from his pursuers, the priest told him that all during his stay, he had been praying for him for protection and safe return to his family. Then the priest asked him to pledge that when he got home safely, he would follow Christ as his Savior. Sultan promised and went on his way.

But Sultan was captured by the Russian forces and put in prison, awaiting execution. The morning he was to be put to death, he suddenly remembered his promise. He immediately prayed to the Lord, saying: “Jesus Christ, if you are alive today and you are the Savior of sinful men, deliver me, a sinner, from this disaster so that I may believe on you.”

Through a miracle, the Russian government set Sultan free. When he got home, he and his family gave their hearts to Christ. Later he was elected head of the church in his area, a great honor for a convert from Islam.[1]

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, Savior of sinners, deliverer of the afflicted, and protector of the helpless, thank you for your great power. Thank you for showing Sultan compassion and mercy and bringing him, his wife, and all six children into your Kingdom by faith.

Thank you for helping him serve you fearlessly and with honor, courageously preaching the Gospel in churches and in open-air meetings.

By faith, we claim that your Spirit will lead many Muslim officials like Sultan to experience salvation through faith in Jesus. May they boldly proclaim your Word and serve the Church with integrity. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Promise

I will pour out water for the thirsty, and streams will flow on the dry ground (Isaiah 44:3, SAB).

Footnotes

[1] C. H. Allen. “Why a Muslim Official Changed His Religion.” In The Muslim World. 1952:176-184; and W. M. Miller, Tales of Persia, 1979:76-80.

Lebanon

Friday, March 10, 2023

Two centuries ago, missionaries from the West started to arrive in the Middle East and Lebanon was the area they preferred. It was part of Syria and under the Ottoman Turkish rule. With God’s help and under the power of the Holy Spirit missionaries saw a great harvest over several decades. Although not many of us have heard of them, people such as Bliss, Jessup, Smith and Van Dyck are luminaries in the annals of missionaries. They sacrificed everything, suffered a lot, and struggled with threats, hunger, disease, and many other problems. God in his mercy graced them with great results. They translated the Bible into classic Arabic, started churches, established educational institutions and published vast amounts of Christian literature.

In addition, Lebanon has been the home of many martyrs who died because of their faith, including Asaad Shediak and Kamil al-Aytani who were murdered in the prime of life only because they decided to follow Christ.

This country has been favored with

  • natural beauty of sea, mountains, rivers, snow, forests, and greenery,
  • a degree of freedom of religion, and
  • being the most democratic among all the Arab countries.[1]

Yet, it has continually suffered the devastating effects of political upheavals, sectarian and communal strife, civil wars, and bloodshed.

Prayer

Our Father in heaven, we thank you for those heroes who came to the Middle East to offer Christ to a people that were steeped in the darkness of Islam and traditions. Thank you for the work that is going on now in Lebanon. I pray that people there will open their hearts to Christ.

Help people realize that the misery caused by fanaticism and sectarianism will not end unless Christ is crowned King over their lives.

Promise

There will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy! The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon, as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon. There the LORD will display his glory, the splendor of our God (Isaiah 35:2, NLT).

Footnotes

[1] Also, the word Lebanon is mentioned about 70 times in the Bible in relation to the dwellers, mount or cedar.

Jesus the Good Shepherd

Friday, March 3, 2023

In the Word of God, Jesus has many titles and is described in different ways. For example, Jesus calls himself the “Good Shepherd” (John 10:14). What a privilege we have to know him as the One who takes care of us, who makes us lie down in green pastures, who leads us to quiet waters, who restores our soul, who guides us in paths of righteousness (Psalm 23:1-3). He is also the One who goes after the lost sheep until he finds it (Luke 15:4). And he is the only One who laid down his life for the sheep (John 10:11,15).

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, I thank you for your great love. I intercede for Muslims. May they believe in you and experience you as their Good Shepherd. May they trust in you completely to save them from sin, guard and protect them from the enemy, and lead them in peace and wholeness throughout their lives.

May they realize that you are faithful and true and will never mislead them. May they know you are trustworthy and will never abandon them. Teach them to listen to your voice and obey the leading and promptings of the Holy Spirit.

When Muslims come to you by faith, trusting Jesus as Savior, I pray that your Spirit will watch over them. Protect them against wolves, thieves, and intruders (John 10:10).

For your name’s sake. Amen.

Promise

I am the good shepherd (John 10:14).