Sharif Bible

Friday, August 7, 2020

After twenty-five years of hard work, the Sharif Bible has been published in Arabic for Muslims. For the first time in history, the Bible has been translated specifically for Arab Muslims. It speaks to them meaningfully and naturally. It is a stirring, vibrant translation that offers the Holy Scriptures in a way that causes Muslims to feel at ease with its words, names, expressions, style, and format. They acknowledge that what they read is written for them.

At the same time, the Sharif Bible translates literally such expressions as “Son of God” (for Jesus), “God is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and God is our “heavenly Father.”

The response from Muslims has been overwhelming. Also, Christian cross-cultural workers from various organizations and groups are sounding upbeat reactions and reporting enthusiastic responses to the Sharif Bible. Work is now underway to complete the Sharif Study Bible in Arabic, an important tool for leaders and pastors of new believers from Muslim backgrounds.

Prayer

Almighty God, I thank you for the Bible, your written revelation to humankind—so simple and clear. And thank you for the Sharif Bible translation that presents your Word to Muslims in the same way—simply and clearly. I pray that many Muslims around the Arab world will receive it with joy and open hearts. Break down the barriers the enemy has raised to keep it from reaching Muslims. Change the hearts and attitudes of those who seek to ban your powerful Word.

I pray that you will open doors for large distributions of the Sharif Bible in every city, town and village in North Africa, the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf. You are able to provide funds for such a big dream.

May people who receive the Sharif Bible read it and be transformed, comforted and built up in their faith. Bring a great harvest of believers from Muslim backgrounds into the Kingdom. For your glory, I pray in Jesus’ name and by your Spirit. Amen.

Promise

When I came on your words I devoured them; they were joy and happiness to me (Jeremiah 15:16, REB).

Sacrifice Celebration

Friday, July 31, 2020

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).

A Prayer of Repentance

Friday, July 24, 2020

Many of us waste opportunities to witness to Muslim friends, colleagues, and neighbors. Sometimes we feel intimidated because we do not understand Muslims, or we are not sure how they will react to what we say to them. At other times we are just careless about witnessing to others. We need to repent of our indifference and ask the Lord to forgive us and empower us by the Holy Spirit to be his faithful witnesses.

Prayer

O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, we come to you. We repent of our inaction and lack of concern. We, your Church, have failed you. I confess that we have sinned against you. We have not obeyed your command to witness to the lost; we have not loved Muslims as we should have; we have not prayed for them without ceasing; we have not offered them the Gospel in all its power.

Forgive us, we pray. We are your servants, the people you freed at Calvary by your great strength and might. Your Word promises that if we confess our sins, you are faithful and just to forgive us. We thank you for that.

Change our hearts and attitudes. Give us courage and boldness, grant us wisdom, and fill us with the Holy Spirit. Help us persevere in prayer for Muslims and open our mouths and witness to them with compassion and love.

Surprise us, O God, by helping us this year to lead Muslims to the Kingdom and nurture them into maturity.

Promise

You answer us with righteous and awesome deeds, O God our Savior, the hope of people all over the earth and across the farthest seas (Psalm 65:5, SAB).

Muslim Taxi Drivers

Friday, July 17, 2020

From San Francisco and New York to London and Paris, from Cairo and Jeddah to Tehran and Manila, enthusiastic Muslim taxi drivers are on the job! They earn a living by taking people where they want to go, and at the same time they try to demonstrate their Islamic faith and practices. For example, they display quranic verses in conspicuous spots in their taxis and occasionally play the chanting of the Quran on their radios.

Prayer

Almighty God our Father, I bring to you Muslim taxi drivers all over the world. They need you. They need to acknowledge Christ as their Lord and Savior. O God, grant many of them today forgiveness of their sins and a share in the inheritance of the saints in the Kingdom of light. Let them experience Christ’s love and grace.

Taxi drivers who believe in Jesus could be so useful in spreading the sweet-smelling perfume of Christ among the millions of people they transport every day! Father, make them into evangelists. May they become a powerful force in your Kingdom to inflict loss on Satan’s territory and bring many to the freedom of Christ.

In the glorious name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Promise

[God’s works] are steadfast for ever and ever, done in faithfulness and uprightness. He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever–holy and awesome is his name (Psalm 111:8-9).

President of the United States

Friday, July 10, 2020

The Bible states that a political ruler is God’s servant (Romans 13:3, 4). People say that the President of the United States occupies the most powerful political position in the world.

The Bible also teaches us that Christ is the King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16) and asks us to pray for kings and rulers (1 Timothy 2:1-4). Yes, we have a very serious responsibility: We are to pray for leaders and for the one who occupies the office of president.

Prayer

Blessed be the name of God, the Master supreme over all rulers. I pray that you will bless the President of the United States and bring him into a close relationship with Christ the Savior and Lord of all. Grant him humility and meekness. Fill him with the Holy Spirit and give him wisdom and understanding.

Lord Jesus, let him always remember that you are the Judge before whom he will stand on the last day to give account of the authority, blessings and talents you have given him. Fill him with the love and goodness that come only from you. May he always feed on your Word and make decisions based on biblical values.

Help him to forgive and love his enemies.

May he always realize that you care for him and love him, and that you are willing to hold his hand to lead him every step of the way.

Bless his family, his cabinet, his staff and all who help him.

I pray for those who are for him and those who are against him. Bless them all with the knowledge of Christ our Savior and Lord. Amen.

Promise

[God] will make your goodness shine as bright as the day, and your right cause as clear as noontime (Psalm 37:6, SAB).

Mega Cities

Of the Muslim World

Friday, July 3, 2020

There are scores of cities in the world with populations of multiple millions. Many of those cities are in Islamic territories. People stream into cities from villages and rural areas to find jobs, better living conditions and a modern lifestyle. Large urban areas around the world increase by one person every second.

Some of those cities include Alexandria, Algiers, Amman, Ankara, Baghdad, Baku, Cairo, Casablanca, Chittagong, Dacca, Dakar, Islamabad, Istanbul, Izmir, Jakarta, Jeddah, Kabul, Karachi, Khartoum, Lahore, Meshhad, Riyadh, Tashkent, Tehran, Tripoli, and Tunis.

Often, big cities evoke images of filth and poverty, crowded streets and heavy traffic, mobs and crime, drugs and alcohol, gangs and fear, hurts and despair.

Prayer

Compassionate Father and Sustainer, I intercede on behalf of Muslim cities, just as Abraham interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah. I ask you to save the “Sodoms and Gomorrahs” of the Muslim world today from their present misery and eternal doom.

In prayer, I come against the evil forces that spread hatred, corruption, wickedness, crime, and all kinds of sin in these urban areas. In the name of Jesus, I stand against Satan who controls these places. I take authority over him and claim his defeat in the cities of Islam. May your Word be declared with courage and clarity. May people find comfort and hope in you. May they repent by the thousands and millions and accept Christ as Savior and Lord.

God, help us to hear the cries of city dwellers and take the Good News of Jesus to them. Send trained and effective workers to proclaim hope and joy in Christ. Give us courage and compassion to go to those in the slums and squatter camps and bring them peace and joy in Christ.

Promise

If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land… and will give it to us (Numbers 14:8).

A Modern-Day Exodus

Friday, June 26, 2020

For many years, the children of Israel suffered abuse, cruelty, and exploitation at the hands of their taskmasters in Egypt. God saw their suffering and came down to deliver them (Exodus 3:7-8). What followed was the great exodus of a whole nation from slavery into freedom.

Today, I believe that more than 1.6 billion Muslims are in worse slavery to Satan. Yet, through the power of the cross of Christ, God is able to deliver them, set them free, and give them eternal life. Our part is to intercede for them and use every possible means to bring them to the Kingdom.

Prayer

Father in heaven, I ask you to count me worthy of your calling to pray for Muslims. By your power, fulfill your good purpose in me (2 Thessalonians 1:11; Philippians 2:13).

You, O Lord, see the misery and distress of Muslims because they are separated from Christ. They are in slavery, and they need to be set free. Yes, they are enslaved to a ruthless taskmaster, Satan. Let the groans of prisoners reach your throne. With your powerful arm, rescue those who are condemned to death (Psalm 79:11).

Hear my prayer, O God, and perform mighty feats against the enemy. Set Muslims free from his control and oppression. Split their “Red Sea” and help them cross over on dry land into Christ’s Promised Land, into the Kingdom of your beloved Son. May a modern-day exodus of an entire population take place by the power of the cross.

O Christ, our Redeemer and Savior, help Muslims to see the light and accept you—the way, the truth, and the life—and live for you.

Glory be to God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Promise

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…. I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit…. Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope (John 8:32, NIV; Zechariah 9:11; Psalm 119:49, NRSV).

Religion Police

In Muslim Countries

Friday, June 19, 2020

In some areas of the Muslim world (such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, parts of Indonesia, and the Gaza Strip) the Religion Police or the Morals Police work to keep people in line with the religious practices of Islam. Usually they are bands of extremist zealots who, for the sake of enforcing “right” and forbidding “wrong,” commit horrendous atrocities. They harshly punish anyone who dares to challenge or assail Islam by words or by actions. They reserve the severest punishment for those who choose to follow Christ.

In at least one Muslim country the Religion Police have powers that sometimes surpass both civilian and military authorities.

Prayer

Almighty God, you are great in glory and infinite in majesty. I do not find it easy to pray for these people. They abuse your children. They torture those who do not believe as they do. So I seek your grace to help me forgive as I have been forgiven.

Lord Jesus, we are reminded of Saul of Tarsus who, in his misguided zeal, persecuted your children. The Religion Police agents act a lot like Saul. Manifest your glory to them as you did to Saul. Do with them as you did with Peter: Turn and look straight at them so that they can realize their sin and weep bitterly in shame, conviction, and repentance. May they place their faith in you. You alone can soften their hard hearts towards you and your followers. Break their resistance, O Jesus, with the love that brought you to earth and sent you to the cross.

Only you, Divine Master, can change their hearts and bring them to the Kingdom of Christ. With eyes of faith I see many former members of the Religion Police worshipping at the throne of the Lamb, singing his praises and giving him glory and honor (Revelation 5:6-10). In his name I pray. Amen.

Promise

It’s hard for a mortal like you to resist God…. Reform your ways and your actions and obey the LORD your God. Then the LORD will relent and not bring the disaster he has pronounced against you (Acts 26:14, GW; Jeremiah 26:13, NIV).

Fascination with Islam

Friday, June 12, 2020

Europe and America are playing with fire as they dabble dangerously with Islam. In the United States, public schools do not teach Christianity, but Islam is taught as a “culture.” In Europe, Islam is growing at an alarming pace.

This is not new! At the turn of the 19th century, Napoleon Bonaparte was very fascinated with Islam while he was in Egypt as a conqueror. One of his French generals converted to Islam, was circumcised and married a Muslim wife. At the turn of the 20th century, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany suggested that if he had not already had a religion, he would have certainly converted to Islam.

These are only a few examples. We could cite present-day instances of individuals in high places as well as common people who are charmed and somehow enthralled with Islam. The Bible says that in the last days many people will turn from their faith. They will be fooled by evil spirits and by teachings that come from demons (1 Timothy 1:4; 2 Timothy 4:3-4).

Prayer

Lord God, you have been patient with the peoples of Europe and America. They are rich in material goods, but poor in spiritual matters. They are advanced in technology, but backward in things pertaining to God. Save them from the slippery path they have chosen by turning their back on Christ. Have mercy on them. Help them to repent.

By faith I claim many Muslims in the West for Christ. May they become tools in God’s hand to bring many nominal Christians in post-Christian Europe and America to the cross of Calvary. I pray for a great revival in your Church in the West.

O God, Supreme and Mighty Potentate, Master of heaven and earth, you can do such feats! I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Promise

Go back to what you heard and believed at first…. All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life (Revelation 3:3, 5, NLT).

“Fortified” Muslim Cities

Friday, June 5, 2020

One day, Caleb reminded Joshua that 45 years had passed since Moses had sent both of them, along with ten others, out from the Desert of Paran, to spy out the land of Canaan which the Lord had promised to give them. The other ten had been terrified by the terrain and the size of the inhabitants! So, 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 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 cities in the Muslim world appear to be spiritually “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 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).