Secret Atheists

Friday, September 20, 2019

Muslims believe that God exists; but for them he is far off, remote. In recent years there has been a wave of widespread violence, killings and massacres—perpetrated, condoned and defended by Muslims. Seeing such atrocities, many Muslims are shocked and disappointed with their own religion. They reason, “If Islam is like this, we want nothing to do with it.” So, many have turned away from Islam to atheism. If they talk openly about that decision in their own Muslim countries, they risk losing their lives.

Muslim atheists are now a phenomenon in Islam! May the Church reach out to minister Christ, the Prince of Peace, to these disheartened souls.

Prayer

Maker of the universe, Creator of all things, thank you for entrusting me with the responsibility to pray for the Muslims who have turned to atheism.

Savior of sinners, bring them to the cross of Christ to see and feel the agony the Son of God endured for their sake. Lead them to surrender their lives to you and accept your forgiveness.

Turn their hearts and minds to “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable … excellent or praiseworthy” (Philippians 4:8). Be their portion (Lamentations 3:24), their strength and shield (Psalm 28:7), that they may serve you with joy and integrity.

Help your Church know how to minister with love and compassion to those who no longer believe. “Praise and honor and glory and power belong to the One sitting on the throne and to the Lamb for ever and ever” (Revelation 5:13, SAB). Amen.

Promise

I will free the prisoner from the hand of the mighty one. I will recover the loot from the hand of the tyrant. I will fight your enemies, and I will rescue your children from them (Isaiah 49:25, SAB).

Islamic Terrorism

Friday, September 13, 2019

For the past two decades, Muslim terrorists have been launching major attacks against the United States and Europe. Examples include: New York, London, Madrid, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, and Manchester. Western governments, scrambling to ward off further attacks, attempt to distance Muslims from terrorism. Many have described Islam as a peaceful religion, supported its inclusion in church ecumenical relations, and described it as one of the three Abrahamic religions!

Granted, not all Muslims are terrorists, not even most of them. But terrorism has been ingrained in the Islamic faith since its inception. Instead of letting this trigger negative feelings toward Muslims, we should see them as Jesus sees them: sinners in need of his salvation. Only God’s love manifested at Calvary can transform terrorists into saints.

 

Prayer

Lord Jesus, you are meek and humble and full of love and compassion. You refused to allow your disciples to use any kind of violence (Matthew 26:51-54; Luke 9:51-56).

Almighty God, I ask you to change Islam’s violence into Christ-centered acts of mercy and sacrificial love. Please draw Muslims to yourself, Redeemer and Savior of all mankind. Cover them with the atoning power of your cross. Fill their minds with your kindness and their beings with your gentleness. Let your peace rule in their hearts. May the Word of Christ dwell richly in them (Colossians 3:15-16). In Jesus’ mighty name I pray. Amen.

Promise

May the Lord bless you and guard you. May the Lord’s face shine upon you and give you mercy. May the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace (Numbers 6:24-26, SAB).

 

Believers in Christ

Who Travel to Muslim Lands

Friday, September 6, 2019

At any given time, some 10,000 commercial airplanes are in the air around our globe. People are constantly traveling as tourists, professionals, students, or relatives visiting families. Travel destinations include Muslim countries as well as countries with sizeable Muslim populations.

This week we are praying for believers in Jesus who travel in and out of Muslim lands. As they meet, make friends, and interact with Muslims every day, we pray for them to have open doors to share the Gospel. Often, the doors are already wide open. May their meetings and interactions become occasions for sharing Christ. They could simply share a personal story of faith or give a copy of the Scriptures. Or they could direct their Muslim friend to a Christian television show or a radio program. Whatever means is available, Christians who travel to Muslim lands have opportunities to share Christ.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, Christians travel into Muslims lands every day. They have professional associations, friendships, and other opportunities to meet Muslims. Transform those everyday meetings into occasions for sharing the Gospel.

Give your servants the vision, courage and love to overcome obstacles that make sharing their faith risky. Whether the Christian visitors are on tours, in universities, or engaging in some business endeavor, we ask you, Holy Spirit, to direct their conversations to Jesus. Open Muslim hearts to realize their need of you. Anoint your servants to address their Muslim friends with power as they share their testimony and the truth of the Gospel. Amen.

Promise

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7 NIV).

Footnotes

[1] Written by Tom Belt.

The Islamic New Year

Friday, August 30, 2019

Muslims use the Hijra calendar. The word Hijra refers to Muhammad’s escape from the Arabs in Mecca who were trying to kill him. Under cover he fled to Medina where the Jews welcomed him. The Hijra calendar counts years starting with that event. It follows the lunar system, so a year has only 354 days.

Muslims the world over use this calendar to date their religious celebrations and past historic events. It is an important community tie that binds them together.

During this time, the Muslim New Year begins.

Prayer

God of history, of past, present and future, I bring Muslims to you as they celebrate the beginning of their new year. During this time of rejoicing and festivities, show them, O God, that they can find everlasting joy in Christ the Lord.

While they are commemorating the escape of Muhammad from his enemies, bring to their attention the fact that Jesus Christ, who could have escaped from his enemies, refused to do so. He was determined to accomplish what he had come for, and went to the cross where he suffered and died to redeem us.

Change the hearts of many Muslims this week, and transform them by the power of the Holy Spirit to become new creatures in Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. Amen.

Promise

If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment (Job 36:11, NIV).

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).