RLPB 455. Ramadan: Praying for Protection and Salvation
Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 455 | Wed 16 May 2018
RAMADAN: PRAYING FOR PROTECTION AND SALVATION
— an extended RLPB for Ramadan
by Elizabeth Kendal
CFF Director of Advocacy
‘Today, after centuries of decline and decades of weakness, Islam is back, and back with a vengeance. Islam is back, and with it, invasion, conquest, and colonisation, including predatory migration. Subjugation is back, and with it, the repression and persecution of non-Muslims and the inequity and injustice of dhimmitude which includes the demand for jizya (protection money as mandated in Quran 9:29). Sharia law is back, and with it, barbaric, cruel and inhumane punishments, including death for blasphemers (be they in Pakistan or Paris) along with lashings, amputations, beheadings, crucifixions, and burnings — all live on Twitter for our entertainment and edification. By July 2014 the Caliphate was back, and with it, the mass slaughter of men, the enslavement of women and children, ethnic-religious cleansing and genocide.’ (Quote from After Saturday Comes Sunday, p59)
Islamic expansion is back, threatening Central African Republic, Nigeria’s Middle Belt, Sudan’s Nuba Mountains, Bangladesh’s Chittagong Hills Tracts, Indonesia’s Papua, and even Western Europe. Subjugation and Sharia are back, as is evident by the drive for Muslim dominance and insistence on Islamic rule as well as by the frequency and severity of violent Islamic pogroms over accusation of ‘blasphemy’ or other alleged breaches of dhimma status particularly in Egypt and Pakistan. Islamic slavery is back; and while the Islamic State’s slave markets and Boko Haram’s mass abductions attract media attention, the routine abduction of Christian girls by Muslim gangs in Pakistan and Egypt goes largely unremarked. Coptic Christian Vivian Adel Youssef (18) had been married for just two weeks when she went missing on 2 May. Her priest describes her as a devout and active Christian really happy to be getting married. In its report, World Watch Monitor lists seven Coptic Christian girls who likewise disappeared in April alone, along with one attempted abduction. Once abducted, these Christian girls are forcibly married off to Muslim men for what is nothing other than sexual slavery and human trafficking across religious lines.
While Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his Caliphate in Mesopotamia might both be dead, the dream of a Caliphate is still well and truly alive, not merely among the ‘radicalised’ Muslim masses, but among Muslim leaders such as al-Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Increasingly, former and would-be jihadists are embracing the call to attack at home. On Sunday 13 May suicide bombers struck Catholic, Protestant and Pentecostal churches in central Surabaya, Indonesia’s second largest city, killing 13, wounding 40. A day earlier, a French national of Chechen origin shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ (Allah is greater) as he stabbed pedestrians in the neck in central Paris, killing one, wounding four. Stratfor Global Intelligence ‘anticipates an increase in the tempo and intensity of attacks during Ramadan this year’.
However, whilst Islam is back, Islamic revival is not the only religious trend unfolding before us. Along with the phenomenal growth of Evangelical Christianity in the non-Western world — a trend that has seen Christianity become (uniquely) a truly global faith — we are also witnessing the unprecedented trend of Muslims leaving Islam.
Since the Islamic uprisings of 1979, Islam, though it promised much, has delivered little. Increasingly, Muslims are feeling not merely harassed and helpless, but disillusioned. Breaking into this context is the Gospel of Jesus Christ which is now increasingly available in translation for download to a device. Also available in translation is the Quran, which many Muslims are reading in their own language for the very first time. Though in reading it some Muslims are ‘radicalised’, many recoil and reject Islam outright. Over and above everything is the growth of organised, strategic prayer for Muslim peoples. As mission scholar, David Garrison, observes, ‘We are in the midst of the greatest turning of Muslims to Christ in 14 centuries of Muslim-Christian interaction. More than 80% of all the Muslim movements to Christ in history have occurred in the past two to three decades, a time period that coincides with the modern prayer movement for Muslims. At the heart of this modern prayer movement is 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World.‘ [Note: Garrison defines a ‘movement’ as a turning to Christ which results in at least 1000 baptisms or 100 new worshipping communities.]
Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, commenced on 15 May and will continue through to 14 June.
You can participate in 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World by purchasing a prayer guide booklet, either as hard copy or as a downloadable PDF. You can also participate by visiting the 30 Days of Prayer website where ‘Today’s Prayer Theme’ is posted daily. If you would like to receive a daily reminder to help you remember to pray each day, you can subscribe to the 30 Days of Prayer social media pages for updates and reminders. See Facebook or Twitter or Instagram.
PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT GOD WILL:
* comfort the Indonesian believers who lost loved ones in the 13 May terror attacks; may he also heal the wounded, strengthen the fearful, and guide the leadership. May the Lord protect Indonesia’s churches this Ramadan.
* intervene on behalf of all Christian girls abducted and trafficked into sex slavery / forced marriage by Muslim criminal gangs and terrorists with the co-operation of Muslim authorities. Lord, every Christian girl along with every Christian who has ever been a parent or had a sister beseeches you: please rescue and restore these girls.
* send out more workers into his harvest field (see Matthew 9:35-38). May the Lord bless every believer who accepts this call, and every facility that trains believers to witness to Muslims; may God provide their every need and keep them safe.
* raise up more intercessors committed to praying for Muslims and ministry/witness to Muslims.
FOR, ‘they will do these things [persecute and even kill you] because they have not known the Father, nor me’ (from John 16:1-3 ESV). (emphasis mine)
‘And there is salvation in no one else [but Jesus], for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.’ (Acts 4:12 ESV)
SUMMARY FOR BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
PRAYING FOR PROTECTION AND SALVATION DURING RAMADAN
On 2 May a newly married Coptic Christian girl aged 18 disappeared in probably another Islamic abduction. On 12 May a French national of Chechen origin shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ as he stabbed pedestrians in the neck in central Paris, killing one and wounding four. On 13 May suicide bombers struck churches in Surabaya, Indonesia, killing 13, wounding 40. Pray for comfort. Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, commenced on 15 May and continues through to 14 June. Stratfor Global Intelligence ‘anticipates an increase in the tempo and intensity of attacks during Ramadan this year’. Pray for protection. For decades now, Christians worldwide have been praying for Muslims during Ramadan, resulting in the unprecedented trend of Muslims leaving Islam, with many turning to Christ. To participate, visit https://www.30daysprayer.com Pray for salvation.
Elizabeth Kendal is an international religious liberty analyst and advocate. She serves as Director of Advocacy at Canberra-based Christian Faith and Freedom (CFF), and is an Adjunct Research Fellow at the Arthur Jeffery Centre for the Study of Islam at Melbourne School of Theology.
She has authored two books: Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today (Deror Books, Melbourne, Australia, Dec 2012) which offers a Biblical response to persecution and existential threat; and After Saturday Comes Sunday: Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East (Wipf and Stock, Eugene, OR, USA, June 2016).