Most of us have heard this Arabic term, a reference to a special time for the Muslim world. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and the month in which the Qur'an was revealed. It is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, a time for fasting, prayer and devotion to God.
Throughout the month (August 1-30 this year), Muslims will refrain from food and drink during the daylight hours, and will attend services in the evenings, along with eating together throughout the nights. Their aim is to draw closer to God, finding favor with him through these disciplines, and using introspection and devotion to become more consecrated. They recognize fasting as a means to develop greater self-control, as well as a way for greater recognition of the needs of the poor throughout the world. Ramadan is a time for the Muslim community to draw closer to God and to each other.
As the Muslim world prays, what will Christians do in response? My hope is that the community of Christ-followers worldwide will lift their Muslims neighbors before God's throne, asking Him to indeed reveal himself in power and in truth to those who are seeking his face. Unfortunately, the sad reality is that too many Christians find little impetus to pray for Muslims. We too often view them with suspicion, fear, or from a safe distance. After all, it's easy to not really care about those you don't really know. But a recent comment from a friend put it all in perspective. He told me, "I have a friend who's a Muslim and he's a great guy. I sure don't want him to go to hell." That's the key isn't it? To change your heart, your attitude, your outlook, you must enlarge or change your circle of friends. Because you gain a completely different perspective when someone you never knew, maybe never cared to know, becomes connected to your life.
Why not use the month of August to pray for followers of Islam, to pray that they may find the truth and hope for life in Jesus? Pray that God may reveal himself in dreams and visions to Muslims who are looking for a closer spiritual connection. Pray that walls of separation that exist between Muslims and Christians may begin to crumble. Pray for your own life and your opportunities to share the love of God with Muslims around you, that God will bring you into meaningful contact with someone from Islam, that you will learn to see these people as God does.
Because it's Ramadan...and it's time to pray.