Many of us in the West might not be aware that today is the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. During this month many Muslims abstain from eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset as an act of worship and observation of their god, Allah. This time is intended to be a time of fasting and submissiveness to god for those Muslims who participate, spending the month focused on their Islamic duties and expressing reverence.
As I thought about the approaching Muslim holiday, I started to think about some of my Muslim friends in Sierra Leone and their dedication to posturing themselves reverently toward their god for a whole month. I respect those for the way they graciously submit themselves to a king-like figure and work so hard to conduct their lives in obedience. Of course I praise Jesus that I am awarded unmerited grace, and while I should submit to Him as my King, I am also considered blameless in God’s eyes in spite of my rebel’s heart.
I was looking into prayer calendars to use as a tool to help us pray more specifically for our Muslim friends earlier today. As I stumbled upon a website for an organization that I highly respect, I read their call for Christians to prayer and they quoted a Christian living in a predominantly Muslim country. This person asked us to pray and recommended we especially increase our “church activities” such as trainings, seminars and other programs during the Ramadan season.
Yes, we could ramp up the evangelistic outreaches and increase the number of seminars on the fundamentals of Christianity. These things are not bad at all in themselves. But I would like to make a different request:
During the month of Ramadan let us refrain from our “church activities and programs,” and instead let us please strive to be the church. Let us cease our churchy activities perhaps, dismiss the idea of training our Muslim friends, and let us love like mad instead. Let us take note of their reverence as they seek Allah and fast, and let us also fall on our faces and worship the one true and holy God, Jesus Christ; because after having a head-on collision with a God like ours, there’s not much else you can do in response. Let us pour out ourselves in true fasting this month, and possibly set our church activities aside if need be.
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” (Isaiah 58:6-7)
Please let us set our hearts and minds on Him this Ramadan season and acknowledge the war being waged around us. We are engaged in a battle that’s not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Let us enlist in His army! Let us intercede on behalf of our Muslim friends and may we be infectious as we live out our daily lives as an act of worship. Let us be bold to share about what a work the Lord has done in our lives. Let us bathe in His grace until it oozes from us and when we happen to rub shoulders with our friends who haven’t yet recognized an encounter with Jesus’ holiness, may it get all over them too! And when the month of Ramadan has finished, let us do it all over again.
In case you’re interested in learning more about the month of Ramadan or how you can be praying, here are some resources for you: