Persecuted Church in Muslim Countries

Friday, November 6, 2015

This Sunday has been designated as a day of prayer for the persecuted Church worldwide. Christians are suffering severe persecution in many parts of the world. It is estimated that more Christians were martyred in the 20th century than in the prior 19 centuries combined! In Muslim countries, the followers of Christ are often mistreated, imprisoned and murdered.

The Islamic system does not allow freedom of religion. The system’s guardians include the religious, political and social authorities. They have a long arm through the government and police, the mosque and sheikhs, work and family, friends and neighbors and so forth. The system persecutes and disposes of people who leave Islam. Today untold numbers of our brothers and sisters in Christ are suffering persecution.  

PRAYER

Sovereign God, as Herod, Pilate and other leaders made plans against Jesus (Acts 4: 27), today rulers and common people are persecuting your children!

My brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering persecution do not love their lives so much as to shrink from death (Revelation 12:11). Perhaps I do not know them personally, but I intercede on their behalf. You told us to “bear one another’s burdens,” so I want to stand alongside them. They are members of the Body of Christ, and when one member suffers, the rest of the body suffers.

O God Almighty, be with those who are going through a nightmare of mistreatment, beatings and abuse. I bring their plight to your attention, merciful Father. Visit them. Soothe their pain. Comfort their souls. Encourage their hearts. May your face shine upon them.

I pray that you will wake up the Church around the world to pray for persecuted believers and come to their assistance. Some Christians occupy influential positions and could act to alleviate the pain of our suffering brothers and sisters. Father, help them not to be silent. Move them to respond to the tragedy of the persecuted Church.

PROMISE

Your healing will quickly appear… the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard… you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I… your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The LORD… will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail (Isaiah 58:8-11, NIV).

Rahab

Friday, October 30, 2015

Rahab had led an immoral life: she had been a prostitute (Joshua 2:1). But at a turning point, she believed in the Lord and decided to follow him. She was made right with God by faith when she welcomed the spies (Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25). Her confidence in the Lord, the true God, and her courageous obedience to him secured a brand-new life for her and her family (Joshua 2:9; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25).

So today, she occupies a magnificent place in history!  Her heroic faith in God and her victorious personal transformation are what we want for Muslim women. It is interesting to note that she also had real knowledge of religion, history, geography, military tactics, and so forth (Joshua 2:9-14). 

She went on to become the mother of Boaz (Matthew 1:5), thus, part of the genealogy of King David (Matthew 1:5-6), and consequently, of the Lord Jesus (Matthew 1:5, 16)!

PRAYER

How amazing is your grace, Lord God! Your forgiveness is beyond human ability to fathom. You choose to work with people that society does not value. Even someone as disgraced as Rahab is precious in your sight!

O God, bless Muslim women who come to you. Grant them courage and tenacity.

May they reveal the “scarlet rope” (the blood of Jesus) so effectively in their lives that their families too will receive forgiveness and eternal life.

Deliver them from the demeaning notion that women are merely pleasure-providers and baby-producers! You made them to be jewels of great value. May millions of precious Muslim women be transformed by the power of your Spirit. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

PROMISE

Another example is Rahab the prostitute, for she was shown to be right with God by her actions. She hid the two spies and helped them to escape… Should I add more examples? (James 2: 25; Hebrews 11:32, Sharif Bible).

Yes Lord, give us more examples.  We want to see Muslim women coming to Christ!

God’s Reliability

Friday, October 23, 2015

Is God untrustworthy? Does he deceive people? That is what Islam teaches. The Quran says that God is cunning: “They were sly, and God was sly. But God is the best of those who are sly” (Quran 3:53; 8:29); “Only losers feel secure from God’s cunning” (Quran 7:98).

Abu-Bakr was the first male convert to Islam and the Prophet’s close­st companion. He later became the first Muslim caliph after Muhammad. He once swore he would never trust God’s cunning, even if he already had one foot in paradise. He meant he would not feel safe from God’s craftiness, unless both his feet were inside paradise!

PRAYER

Glory and honor, power and majesty to you, Lord God, our Father, the only true God. You are faithful. Your ways are perfect, blameless and just.

You do no wrong (Deuteronomy 32:4; Revelation 15:3). You are righteous in everything you do (Psalm 145:17).

You are honorable. Your Word is true (Proverbs 30:5). Your promise is reliable (Psalm 18:30). You keep your covenant forever (Psalm 105:8).

There is no deceit in you (1 Samuel 15:29; Hebrews 6:18). You do not change your mind (Numbers 23:19; James 1:17). You are the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

Day by day, you manifest your mercy and love toward us. Indeed, great is your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:23).

Help Muslims to catch a glimpse of your faithfulness, to experience your loving-kindness and receive your free grace. Help them know you as you are: the self-giving God, loving Savior, and heavenly Father.

In the most high name of Jesus Christ, your Son, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

PROMISE

I shall not violate my covenant, nor alter what I have promised. I have sworn by my holiness once and for all, I shall not break my word to David (Psalm 89:34-35, REB).

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).