The Black Stone

In Mecca

Friday, July 1, 2022

Embedded in the eastern wall of the Kaaba in Mecca is a black stone that is about ten inches across and twelve inches high in a silver frame. This black stone was worshipped by pre-Islamic Meccans for many generations. Muslims believe that it descended from heaven. It is very possibly a meteorite. In some cultures, the worship of meteorites was not unusual. It seems that the Ephesians in Paul’s time also believed that a meteorite (the goddess Artemis) had come to them from heaven (Acts 19:23-36).

When Muhammad conquered Mecca and took over the Kaaba, he destroyed all the stones and gods that his compatriots had been worshipping for centuries, except for the Black Stone which he kept.

Muslims believe that when the Black Stone came down from heaven it was white, but over time it became black, because it absorbed the sins of the pilgrims who touched it. Actually, this change is consistent with known meteorites that are white but change color over time as they oxidize.

Today, as Muslim pilgrims go around the Kaaba, they try to touch or kiss the Black Stone if they are able to get close to it. This veneration borders on worship.

Prayer

Holy God, the only One worthy to be worshipped and adored, Muslims refuse to listen to your Word; they stubbornly follow their own ideas and attempt to touch a stone to receive remission of sins! They have not accepted God’s way to receive his approval, and they try to set up their own way to get it (Romans 10:3; Jeremiah 13:10).

I cry out to you. Pour out your mercy on them this week. Forgive them for this heinous sin, and help them understand that they can receive forgiveness only through the cross of your Holy Son. Yes, only by the precious blood of Christ, the Lamb without blemish or defect, are we saved (I Peter 1:18-20).

Forgive Muslims for rejecting the Chief Cornerstone, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:20), to believe in a lifeless black stone. For them, Jesus is a “stumbling block, a rock of offense” (Isaiah 8:14), while they build their hopes on a legend.

May they come to Jesus to receive pardon, healing and wholeness. May they set their eyes on him alone, the source and goal of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). May they become living stones in your majestic edifice of believers. In Christ’s precious name. Amen.

Promise

The blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin (1 John 1:7, NIV).

“Fortified” Muslim Cities

Friday, June 24, 2022

One day, Caleb reminded Joshua that 45 years had passed since Moses had sent both of them, along with ten others, to spy out the land of Canaan which the Lord had promised to give them. The other ten were terrified by the terrain and the size of the inhabitants! They brought back an unfavorable report. However, Caleb and Joshua gave a positive report and assured everyone that if God was pleased with them, he would give them the cities of that land (Numbers 13-14).

We believe the Lord is telling us today: “Wherever you set foot, that land will be yours” (Deuteronomy 11:24). And part of that land is the “fortified cities” of Islam.

Let us, in faith, claim those areas for Christ and his Kingdom.

Prayer

Holy Father, God Almighty, King of Glory! I bow down before your majesty and come humbly to your throne of grace.

Many parts of the Muslim world are spiritually like cities that have been fortified against the spread of the Gospel.

But we will not allow the enemy to intimidate or discourage us. True, we are facing giants we cannot defeat in our own strength, heights we cannot scale, and a mountain that is impossible for us to cross.

Great and Mighty King of heaven and earth, all things are possible for you. Help us do what you have commanded us to do. Give us this mountain, Lord (Joshua 14:12).

Compassionate Lord, hear my cry and prayer in the name of Jesus, your Son, my Lord. Amen.

Promise

This is the… message of the Lord to [you]…. don’t depend on your own power or strength, but on my Spirit…. That mountain in front of you will be leveled to the ground (Zechariah 4:6-7, CEV).

Muslims’ Dilemma

Regarding the Bible

Friday, June 17, 2022

Over the centuries, Muslims have tried to use the Bible as a witness to the validity of Islam. In order to achieve that, they claim that the original Bible had prophecies about Muhammad and Islam, but both Jews and Christians removed them! So, here we have a dilemma: Muslims want to call “a witness” to testify on behalf of Islam, but they say that the witness has already changed his testimony before even appearing on the stand![1]

Muslims fear the Bible. They are forbidden to read it or investigate its claims for fear it might bewitch them somehow to become Christians! Because of that, it is banned in many Muslim societies.

Prayer

Lord God Almighty, the only true God who hears and answers prayers, we approach your throne in the name of Jesus our Redeemer.

You are the source of the Scriptures and the One who guards his Word and watches over it. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for inspiring the writers of the Holy Book to express your mind in words that we understand. I pray that you will open Muslims’ hearts and understanding to realize that “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right” (2 Timothy 3:16, NLT).

I pray that many will repent this week of their rejection of the message of life and receive it with joy and an open heart. Help them to come to Christ by faith and build their lives on the solid foundation of your eternal truth. May they stand firm and unshaken in their loyalty to you. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Promise

So long as heaven and earth endure, not a letter, not a dot, will disappear from the law until all that must happen has happened (Matthew 5:18, REB).

These are not trivial words—rather they are your life! By them you will live long (Deuteronomy 32:47, SAB).

Footnotes

[1] Malek, Sobhi, Islamic Exodus, p. 166.

Bedouin Muslims

Friday, June 10, 2022

I remember some years ago when I would travel from a North African capital city out to the countryside to visit a few Bedouin Muslims. After I had arrived at my Bedouin friends’ home, a black goat-hair tent, we would all sit together. I would open God’s Word, and they would listen attentively as I read. Most of them were illiterate. A few could barely read. But all were willing to listen.

Bedouin people are nomadic desert dwellers, constantly on the move, searching for pastureland for their herds. When they find pasture, they pitch their tents and settle until their herds have eaten all the grass in that location. Then they move on. Bedouins value honor and loyalty. The vast majority of them adhere to Islam. Very few are Christian.

Because of their mobility, they can be effective as itinerant evangelists in spreading God’s Word!

Prayer

Father, I pray that you will call missionaries and equip them to work among these neglected groups of Muslims.

O God, grant your Church insight and creativity to find effective methods to make strong disciples of Bedouins, in spite of their constant mobility and often limited education.

Move by your Holy Spirit upon many Bedouins. Save them by the power of the cross of Jesus and bring them to the Kingdom of light. May you become their refuge, their rock and their fortress to which they can always go (Psalm 71:1-3).

Make them servants of the Gospel, a force of enthusiastic evangelists who move from one area to another, spreading the Good News of Christ among their fellow Muslims.

My heart is filled with your praise and my mouth tells about your righteousness. Amen.

Promise

The desert tribes will bow down before him (Psalm 72:9, NIV).

God gives the lonely a home. He leads prisoners out with joy, but those who turn against God will live in a dry land (Psalm 68:6, NCV).

Holy Spirit

Friday, June 3, 2022

Before Jesus ascended to the Father, he promised to send the Holy Spirit to be our Comforter and Guide and empower us to witness for him. That promise was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost. This weekend we will celebrate Pentecost Sunday to commemorate the gift of God’s Spirit to the Church. Only the power of the Holy Spirit can draw people to Christ and enable believers to achieve great things in everyday life, in evangelism, and in missions.

Over the centuries, the Holy Spirit has revealed Christ to many Muslims in different parts of the world through miracles, visions, and dreams. The great influx of Muslims coming to Christ in Indonesia in the 1960s and 1970s, and presently in some parts of Africa, can be attributed mainly to the powerful work of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer

O God the Holy Spirit, come upon Muslim converts to Christ, and fill them with your power and presence. Fulfill to them Jesus’ promise of Pentecost. Holy Spirit, sanctify them, guide them to the truth, and help them lead a victorious Christian life. The environment around them is very hostile to the Gospel, and they need the fullness of the Spirit to persevere in their commitment to you.

Help them pray for others and intercede for the lost world. Inspire them with zeal and power to witness for Christ, spread the Gospel throughout the whole earth, and demonstrate God’s majesty through signs and wonders.

I pray that the time will come when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord’s glory as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14).

In the mighty name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Promise

I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions (Joel 2:28, NLT).

Islamic Banks

Friday, May 27, 2022

Islamic banks do business according to the guidelines of Islamic law (Sharia). That law does not allow for interest of any kind on loans. Further, investments are to be made only in goods considered permissible by Islam (halal). For example, they do not invest in alcohol or pork products or gambling.

Islamic banks have the same goal as all other banks: they want to make a profit. So, how do they do that? They change words used in the financial industry in order to avoid their religious prohibitions. Accordingly, instead of lending money and collecting interest on it, they “rent” the money and collect “rent” on it! Instead of collecting interest for credit card purchases, they collect “penalties” for not paying the full balance immediately!

When you plan to buy a home, you need a mortgage. If you go to an Islamic bank, the bank buys the house from the original owner and turns around and sells it to you at a profit. Then they let you pay the price in monthly installments!

Each Islamic bank has a board of Muslim scholars to make sure that transactions comply with the rules of religious law.

Prayer

O the depth of your riches and wisdom and knowledge, Lord God! How unsearchable are your judgments and how inscrutable your ways! (Romans 11:33).

You care for all peoples, tribes and nations. You know about the exponential growth of the Islamic financial industry around the world. You also know that fanatic fundamentalist beliefs initiated these banks, and that the incredible income from oil has nurtured and amplified their success.

I pray for the owners of these banks, for their employees and workers, for shareholders, investors and borrowers. Bless them by leading them to the knowledge of Christ the Lord and Redeemer of all humankind. May they confess Jesus as their Lord and King. Help them dedicate their lives and talents to the cause of the Gospel of grace and love.

I pray for the scholars on the Sharia boards of these banks. Bring them to Calvary to see Jesus, who gave himself to save humans from sin. In his name I pray. Amen.

Promise

Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones (Proverbs 3:7-8, NLT).

Authority in Christ

Friday, May 20, 2022

Let us pray that our authority over the enemy will be released. Remember your position and authority in Christ. You are God’s child, redeemed by the blood of His Son and destined to the throne. We are not pawns in this world’s power play.

We are rulers; in Christ we have been given authority over all the power of the enemy to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness (Matthew 10:1; Mark 16:17-18; Luke 10:19). Our God and Redeemer has made us more than conquerors. He has given us the power to lead a victorious life in all circumstances (Romans 8:37-39).

Satan is a usurper; he tries to deprive you of the authority that you have over him.

Prayer

Blessed are you, Lord God Almighty. Thank you for your trust in me and your generous provision. In myself I have no authority or power. I have no latitude.

Anything I have is from you and by your grace, O Lord God. In Christ, you have showered many blessings upon me. You have forgiven my sins. You have given me abundant life, and you fill me with the Holy Spirit. Thank you.

Help me use my authority in you. In the name of Jesus I rebuke the enemy. I tear down his strongholds and push back the forces of darkness.

I pray with authority in Jesus’ name that hearts of Muslims will be changed. This very week may many Muslims be reconciled to you. Deliver them from the snares of the enemy and build your Church, O God, among Muslims.

In the mighty name of Jesus I pray, amen.

Promise

I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you (Luke 10:19, NIV).

William Borden

Friday, May 13, 2022

William was born to an affluent family in Chicago in 1887. When he graduated from high school, his graduation gift from the family was a year-long world tour. Upon his return from that trip, he announced he wanted to be a missionary to Muslims in northwest China. While he pursued his studies at Yale and later at Princeton, he ministered to others and prepared himself for missionary service.

When William finished his studies, he went to Cairo, Egypt, to study Arabic. His plan was to continue his travels on to China. But in Cairo, he became sick with cerebral meningitis. Two weeks later, William Borden died! He was only 25 years old. His epitaph said, “Apart from faith in Christ, there is no explanation for such a life.”

Prayer

Almighty God, our Father in heaven, we thank you for the story and legacy of this young man. We owe our lives to you, O Lord. No sacrifice for you is too dear, because by your grace you have brought us from darkness to light.

I pray that you will raise up many thousands of young men and women like Borden to be on fire with divine zeal and passion to bring the lost to your Kingdom. Fill them with the Holy Spirit and power so they can speak your truth without fear and declare your holiness and righteousness.

May you burst forth from heaven to show your glory to Muslims (Isaiah 64:1). Manifest your mighty power by changing their lives. Revive their hearts and give them hope, joy and peace. May they boast in nothing other than the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 6:14).

In his precious name, amen.

Promise

I know the things you do, and though you have little strength, you have obeyed my word and have not denied my name. That is why I have opened a door for you that no one can close (Revelation 3:8, SAB).

Creed

Friday, May 6, 2022

Several times a day Muslims repeat the Islamic creed which states: “I witness that there is no god except God and that Muhammad is the apostle of God.” The mere recitation of this creedal statement makes one a Muslim.

In ancient times, pagan Arabs worshipped many gods. The Quran strongly denounces this and orders people to worship God alone.

The belief that Muhammad is the “seal” of the prophets is central to Islam. It means that he is the final prophet, the most authoritative, and the “crown” of all. No Muslim would stop short of asserting their belief in Muhammad.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I pray that Muslims will come to realize that reciting this creed does not make people acceptable in your sight. May they come to know Jesus Christ, the Way, and understand the scriptural passage which declares that confession and faith in him are necessary for salvation (Romans 10:9).

Lord God, I pray that many Muslims today will realize that eternal life is “that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent” (John 17:3). May they repent and accept Jesus as their Savior from sin and Lord and King over their life and affairs.

O God, as every knee in heaven and on earth and under the earth shall bow to him, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, I pray that the creedal statement of Islam, particularly shouted from the top of mosques, will be replaced by a declaration of faith in the only Almighty Savior and Lord. Amen.

Promise

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John ; 10:10, NIV).

Breaking the Fast

Friday, April 29, 2022

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; may they allow you to transform their lives. Although they are breaking the fast at this time and 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).