1.8 billion people around the world identify as Muslims. Ramadan is the month of fasting and prayer Muslims undertake in order to mark the first revelation of the Quran given to Muhammad.
Each year, we ask our supporters to join us in prayer during this time.
But, why should Christians pray during Ramadan?
Image: Muslims gathering for prayer in Alexandria, Egypt.
Believers who live in Muslim-dominated countries say that persecution is often more intense during Ramadan. If they decide not to fast, they stand out.
“As much excitement as the Islamic holy month brings to Muslims, it does carry a great deal of burdens and concerns to the Christian community,” said a local Egyptian believer.
“It is a very long 30 days during which Christians in schools, work or public spaces will receive harsh looks and verbal harassments from extreme Muslims because of their faith. They are ridiculed for not fasting like Muslims. There have even been some cases where Christians have faced physical violence because they were caught eating their lunch by their fasting Muslim co-workers or neighbours.”
Image: Hawa* met Jesus through a dream.
Many Muslims fast during Ramadan in the hope of getting closer to Allah, and are often more open to those sharing the truth of the gospel.
We have heard countless stories of Muslims finding Jesus during Ramadan. In some countries, almost 30% of believers come to faith through dreams or visions.
One year, during Ramadan, Mushir, a devout Muslim, was fasting and praying. He was in a room in his home, crying out to God and asking to really know Him.
Suddenly a picture fell from the wall and smashed into pieces. It was an old, traditional painting that had been on the wall for years. But behind it, was a picture of Jesus Christ on the cross.
“I was speechless, shocked, and in my heart, I knew this was the answer to what I asked for,” Mushir said. “I knew that I had found God. God had shown me who He was – Jesus Christ was His answer.”
We pray for God to work through His people around the world to share the truth of Jesus with Muslims during this time.
Image: Muslim men praying outside the Imam Shafi’i mosque, Saudi Arabia.
Islamic extremists, such as Islamic State and Boko Haram, are some of the worst persecutors of Christians worldwide.
In Matthew 5:44, Jesus outlines how we should respond: “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
Denis Nicholas sat at front of his church in Kenya when al-Shabaab gunmen entered the service and opened fire on the congregation.
Denis was shot three times.
“I could feel life draining from me, but I was determined to forgive the person who had shot me before I die. I remember whispering or thinking, ‘Lord, I forgive them, I forgive them… please forgive them, also…’, then I lost consciousness.”
Denis was critically wounded and eventually declared dead. However, on the way to the morgue he sneezed! Denis was rushed back to hospital and reattached to oxygen.
“I am alive because of God,” he said.
Ramadan reminds us to pray for Islamic extremists who persecute Christians.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.