Wisdom and Sensitivity in Witnessing to Muslims

Friday, October 16, 2015

Many Christians who try to evangelize Muslim friends experience frustration and dead ends. They find the cultural, social and religious mindset of Muslims to be totally different from what they are used to.

At times, some Christian witnesses may have confused harshness with spiritual power and used confrontational methods to denigrate Islam, its prophet and its followers.

As witnesses to the life-giving and life-changing Gospel, we need to educate ourselves in how to talk with Muslims. Yes, we need to be wise and sensitive in the way we proclaim to them the Good News of Jesus Christ.

PRAYER

Father, grant my desire to bring in a harvest of precious souls. Help me to share the Gospel message with my Muslim friends fearlessly, and yet with wisdom and sensitivity.

I realize I need wisdom from you, you who bestow divine wisdom, understanding and knowledge. May I be bold and wise, courageous and sensitive. Help me to lead Muslims to eternal life by the power of your Holy Spirit.

In the name of Jesus Christ, your Son, my Lord. Amen.

PROMISE

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him (James 1:5, NIV).

Rational Thinking In Islam

Friday, October 9, 2015

Muslims are required to obey blindly and follow their religious precepts without questioning or reasoning. Critical reading of religious texts is forbidden. Most Muslim schools rely heavily on rote memorization of the Quran as well as other material.

Mainline Islam discourages questions about religion, believing that “to think is to be an infidel.” So one should not inquire or argue, but just accept. Rational thinking is said to be like “an ass; you ride it only till you get to the king’s palace. In order to enter, you need to leave it at the gate. Islam is the king’s palace. You need to leave your reasoning [at the gate] in order to enter [Islam] God’s religion!”

PRAYER

Lord God our Maker, majesty, power, glory and honor belong to you. You made us rational beings with amazing brains to reason and think. For that, we thank you and praise you.

You take no pleasure in seeing people die without having hope in Christ (Ezekiel 18:23). I pray for Muslims who think they are betraying God and their society if they question their religion.

Free their minds from such fetters. Give them clear and sharp minds (1 Peter 4:7). Grant them wisdom to decide to live for the One who died to save them. May Christ, the light of the world, shine in their hearts with his unfailing love and enduring mercy. May they receive him as their Lord and know the joy of his forgiveness and love.

In your great compassion, do not abandon Muslims in their desert (Nehemiah 9:19).  Guide them with your light to the cross. Help them to love the Lord their God with all their heart, with all their soul, and with all their mind (Mark 12:30).

In the mighty and glorious name of Jesus. Amen.

PROMISE

Be transformed by renewing your mind. Then you will know God’s will, for it is good, pleasing and perfect (Romans 12:2, Sharif Bible).

Sufis

Friday, October 2, 2015

Sufis are Muslim mystics who strive to abandon the world and its pleasures to find God. They seek to be absorbed into God. They worship, pray and fast to reach that goal. Some Sufis’ ultimate goal is to become God (which was Satan’s sin. See Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:2).

Here are some Sufi statements:

I am the truth… the only person under my hat is God… the only one inside my clothes is God.

Glory be to me! How great is my majesty!

To achieve a rapturous, ecstatic state, Sufis use several techniques and movements, swinging, recitations and repetitive words. Some engage in sex orgies and use drugs to attain a desired euphoric state.

PRAYER

Lord God, the only true God, our hearts ache for Sufis. They think they are devoted to God and have very distorted ideas about him and his love.

Only you can lead them to the cross of Jesus and save them. Only you can help them to be truly godly. Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit, convict Sufis of their sin. Save them by the blood of your Holy Son. Bring them into true fellowship with you. May they humble themselves, submit to you, worship Christ and accept his Word.

Help me to befriend a Sufi. Give me patience to know how to bring him or her to Jesus, “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

In the midst of their darkness, shine upon their hearts with the light of Christ. Make many of them ministers of the Gospel to bring others to you.

PROMISE

I will give you abundant water to quench your thirst and to moisten your parched fields. And I will pour out my Spirit and my blessings on your children. They will thrive like watered grass, like willows on a riverbank (Isaiah 44:3-4, REB).

Sacrifice Celebration

Friday, September 25, 2015

This is the time 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. God provided a ram for Abraham to offer instead.

During this time, 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 that they 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 that it is pointless to try to gain God’s favor through the millions of sacrifices they slaughter during this season.

Compassionate Father, reveal to Muslims the Lamb 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).

Hajj

Friday, September 18, 2015

This is the season when Muslims celebrate the pilgrimage to Mecca called hajj. It is one of the five pillars of Islam. Every adult Muslim who can afford it is required to make the pilgrimage at least once during his lifetime. On the average, more than two million Muslims from about 100 countries travel to Mecca each year to participate in this ritual. A Muslim who fulfills this obligation is said to gain merit with God and thus acquires the honorific title of hajj.

Pilgrims go through special purification rites, don a white, unsewn robe, and circle the Kaaba, the holiest Muslim shrine, seven times. Most try to touch or kiss the Black Stone. These are briefly some of the rituals of the hajj.

PRAYER

O God, I pray that you will manifest your truth to Muslims. In the name of Jesus, I pray against the powers that cause hungry people to seek that which does not satisfy. Deliver them from the enemy’s oppression, darkness and servitude.

I pray for Muslims who have already made the pilgrimage. May they realize that it is only Jesus who satisfies our heart’s yearnings.

I pray for Muslims who are participating in the pilgrimage this year. Reveal yourself to them. Speak to them through visions, dreams, and other means. Show them the cross of our Savior. May they turn to Jesus the holy Son of God—the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In his name I pray, amen.

PROMISE

Some sat in darkness and the deepest gloom, prisoners suffering in iron chains, for they had rebelled against the words of God and despised the counsel of the Most High. So he subjected them to bitter labor; they stumbled, and there was no one to help. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains (Psalm 107:10-14, NIV).

Jericho March

Friday, September 11, 2015

A true but very subtle and discreet “Jericho march” takes place in Mecca around the Kaaba, the most important Muslim shrine. A few believers in Christ who have come out of Islam travel to Mecca during the hajj
season. They march around the Kaaba and claim it for the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ.

I have a friend, a believer in Jesus, who used to travel weekly from Jeddah to Mecca. During at least one hajj season he toured the Kaaba, praying and pleading with God to declare his glory to Muslims gathered there, to give freedom to the Gospel in Mecca, and to grant that the name of Jesus would be preached freely inside the Kaaba.

PRAYER

Almighty God, the only true God, worthy to be worshipped and adored, I tread here very cautiously. These brothers and sisters risk their lives to pray for the glory of Christ to be manifested. Multiply their numbers. Protect them and hedge around them with your angelic guard.

Answer their prayers and the prayers of many others who have been pleading at your throne of grace for decades. Open Mecca to the Gospel; dedicate the Kaaba for the preaching of the Truth. Our request may sound like an impossible dream, and for us it seems impossible. But we know that for you, all things are possible.

Father, by your divine power, tear down the walls that Satan has erected to keep people from hearing the Gospel. We look to the cross where Jesus died to redeem all, including Muslims. We draw our victory from Calvary. And we rest at your feet in faith with expectation.

For the glory of Jesus, your Son, our Lord. Amen.

PROMISE

I am about to hand Jericho, its king, and its warriors over to you (Joshua 6:2, GW).

Hisbah

Friday, September 4, 2015

Have you wondered why some Muslim fathers, brothers or cousins are ready to kill a woman in their own family? Here is the answer: The concept of hisbah in Islam teaches that God has appointed Muslim men to be judges over their family, friends and neighbors in order to insure that everyone adheres to the religion of Islam and complies with all its requirements (Quran  9:70; also 3:103). It is the duty of an entire Islamic community as well as its individual members to live out this assignment.

Hisbah is an Arabic word that means accountability. In hisbah, a person interferes in another individual’s personal life and forces him or her to adopt certain beliefs and behavior under penalty of death. Muhammad said: “Whoever sees an evil must change it with his hand [by using force]. If he cannot do so, then with his tongue [through teaching]. If he still cannot do so, then with his heart [through love and compassion], which is the weakest form of faith” (Hadith).

There are four elements in hisbah: the person who errs, the error, the person who performs the judgment, and the act of judgment. The many components of this procedure include the use of advice, harsh words, threats, isolation, beatings, physical violence, torture and finally killing (compare Romans 2:1).

PRAYER

Merciful and compassionate Father, you are long-suffering and full of love and grace. We are sinners. Without your grace, we would all be condemned and lost. Without the cross of Jesus, we would all be miserable and wretched!

Your Word tells us: “God alone… is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?” (James 4:12, NLT).

So today, I am bringing to you a people who see themselves as judges over others. Help them realize how you see them, and may they experience your free grace. Forgive them for their sin. Open their eyes so they can see and their ears so they can hear that God has come in Christ. He has visited us to redeem us and help us all.

Shower your blessings upon Muslims of every walk, of every conviction, and in every society.  Show them your face. Bring them to the cross. Fill them with your Holy Spirit. O Great Shepherd of the sheep, make them lie down in green pastures, lead them beside quiet waters and guide them in paths of righteousness. For your name’s sake, amen.

PROMISE

The LORD is our judge; the LORD is our lawgiver; the LORD is our king; he will save us (Isaiah 33: 22,
NIV).

Hannah

Friday, August 28, 2015

Hannah had been married for some time, but she was unable to have children. She was barren. Her husband’s other wife ridiculed and belittled her. Though her husband loved her, Hannah felt unfulfilled, troubled and miserable (1 Samuel 1:1-8).

She believed in the Lord, in his mercy and in the power of prayer. So she took her problem to the throne of God and poured out her heart to him (1:9-11).

When God answered her and gave her a son, she was grateful and exalted the Lord with a beautiful prayer of praise. Her worship reveals great depth in her relationship with God and in her understanding of his ways and his dealings with humans (2:1-10).

She kept her word and fulfilled her promise to the Lord. She gave her only son to serve at God’s house. Since that place was far away, she saw her son only once a year (1:24-28). That was a great sacrifice on her part. But God repaid her five times (2:21). Yes, she gave birth to five more children!

PRAYER

Lord, may the women who come to Christ from Islam be like Hannah: prepared to invoke your name when persecuted by people and upset by circumstances. Help them to be ready to show great faith in Jesus and in the power of prayer in his mighty name.

Raise up for yourself, Almighty God, women in Muslim nations who acknowledge you as the source of every blessing and who dedicate their children to the service of Christ the King. May they withhold nothing from you, not even their most precious possessions. Give many of them children like Samuel: boys and girls who are sensitive to your voice when you speak, who listen and hear, who obey and walk in your ways, and who turn the hearts of people toward you, O God.

In the precious name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

PROMISE

When you started to pray, God answered you, and I came to tell you because he loves you (Daniel 9:23, Sharif Bible).

Friday, August 21, 2015

This week we pray about the Muslim concept of

TAQIYAH

The concept of Taqiyah allows Muslims to deceive non-Muslims. This word means to mislead, dissimulate or outwit. When a Muslim feels threatened because of his religious affiliation, he can hide the truth and deny anything that might incriminate him—even his faith!

Taqiyah is based on such quranic verses as the following: “Let not the believers take the disbelievers as supporters…except if you indeed fear a danger from them” (Quran 3:28, Noble Translation, p. 71).

Muslim commentators explain this verse as follows:

  1. “If you, Muslims, are under non-Muslim authority, and you fear for your safety, act as if you are loyal to those non-Muslims…while hiding inner hatred for them. God has forbidden believers to be friendly or on intimate terms with infidels—except when infidels are above you in authority.”
  2. “When a Muslim fears evil from non-Muslims, he may protect himself through outward show.”
  3. “Let us grin in some people’s faces while our hearts curse them.”

So Muslims can act like non-Muslims to protect themselves! For example, they can say they are Christians, while they are not!

PRAYER

Lord Christ, Light of the world, the way and the truth and the life, we worship and adore you. Our hearts groan for Muslims. They do not know you as the glorious Lord and loving Savior.

We are surprised that this teaching is part of their religion. We are tempted to condemn and despise them for holding onto a religious doctrine that sanctions deception. We repent and ask you to forgive us, Lord. Help us to have compassion toward Muslims and intercede for them.

Your Word says that you desire honesty, truth and integrity from the heart (Psalm 51:6). We pray for those who deceive others. Draw them to you. Show them your face. Cheer their hearts with your divine presence, and lead them by the hand to the cross. Shower your mercy upon them. Help them experience your grace.

When the time comes for believers from Islam to witness for you, fill them with courage they have never known before.  In Christ’s name I pray.

PROMISE

If you live by what I say, you are truly my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth
will set you free (John 8:31-32, GW).

Friday, August 14, 2015

This week we pray for many in the Muslim world to be like

THE WIDOW IN ZAREPHATH

God sent the prophet Elijah to a widow in Zarephath in the country of Sidon. That entire nation worshipped Baal. But a beautiful surprise was awaiting Elijah!  When he met the widow, she immediately let him know that she believed in Jehovah, the God of Israel, the only true God! Today that would be like a preacher of the Gospel who goes to Mecca in Saudi Arabia and meets a local person there who worships Christ! Elijah must have been happily shocked!

In our day, this story is multiplied many times over.  God’s Spirit is drawing to Christ people who live in societies that are hostile to the Gospel.

PRAYER

Blessed are you, Lord God, for ever and ever. You alone are God. You are the King of kings and Lord of lords. We praise your most holy name for what you are doing by the power of your Spirit.

We know that, because of your power and authority, there was an Abraham in the city of Ur (Genesis 11:31), a Joseph in Potiphar’s house (Genesis 39:1-6), a Moses in Midian (Exodus 3:1), an Obadiah in King Ahab’s palace (1 Kings 18:3-13), a Nehemiah as the king’s cupbearer (Nehemiah 1:11), an Esther as queen of Persia (Esther 2:15-18), a Nicodemus in the Sanhedrin (John 3:1; 7:50), a Cornelius in the Roman army (Acts 10:1-2); and there were saints in Caesar’s palace (Philippians 4:22)! All these people worshipped you, the true God, in the midst of societies that did not acknowledge you and were often hostile towards you!

We pray for a special visitation by your Spirit to Muslims from all walks of life. Lead them to the cross of Calvary. May they be like the widow in Zarephath, ready to declare that they worship God and adore Christ his Son, even in the midst of antagonistic societies. As a saint of generations past prayed, “May Messiah’s Kingdom come to the overthrow of her that sits on the Seven Hills and to the eternal waning of Mohammed’s moon, to the overthrow of every idol, that Christ alone may reign.”

Yours, Lord, are the greatness and the power and majesty for ever and ever. Amen.

PROMISE

He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things (Psalm 107:9, NIV).

I’ve kept 7,000 people for myself who have not knelt to worship Baal (Romans 11:4, GW).