Day 1: Introduction to “30 days of prayer and preparation to preach the Good News to the Muslim world”
By Gary Fallesen, founding president, Climbing For Christ
Mount Ararat isn’t climbed in a day. Reaching the lost takes time, too. (Photo by Gary Fallesen, Mission: Ararat 2015)
My Muslim friend slipped out of the room we were sharing in the village at the base of Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey and into the quiet pre-dawn hours. It was time to eat. Not breakfast. He wasn’t breaking his fast. This was pre-fast.
The Kurdish man who rose early was observing Ramadan, one of the Five Pillars (or obligations) of Islam.
Ramadan is a tradition celebrated by Muslims each year at the time the prophet Muhammad is thought to have received the Qur’an from the angel Gabriel. The Qur’an states:
“Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgement (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (should be made up) by days later. God intends every facility for you; He does not want to put you to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful.” — Surah 2:185
Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection for Muslims. It is meant to take their focus off every-day life and place more emphasis on devotion and worship. The fast (called a sawm
in Arabic; it literally means “to refrain”) begins at dawn and ends at sunset. All Muslims, except children under the age of 12, pregnant or nursing mothers, the frail, aged and ill, must refrain from eating and drinking (even water). Muslims also must abstain from smoking and sexual activity.
This is a time to cleanse the body and soul, to pray more earnestly, to read the Qur’an, and to reflect on God.
The act of experiencing hunger and thirst during the day is intended to make a person more aware of the poor and the suffering, thus encouraging generosity and compulsory charity.
Because of this, those observing Ramadan eat a pre-fast meal before sunrise called the suhur. They then begin the first of five daily prayers (the Salat
) with the Fajr
(or dawn) prayer. Muslims eat again —usually with zeal — after sunset. This fast-breaking meal is called the iftar
This is a special time for Muslims. It is also a special time for Christians who desire to reach Muslims with the love of Jesus Christ.
For the next 30 days we will embark on a prayer journey. We join countless other Christian ministries praying for the more than 1.57 billion adherents to Islam.
Whenever numbers like that — 1,570,000,000
— are mentioned, many brothers and sisters in Christ recoil. They become paralyzed, thinking: “How can I, one follower of Jesus, possibly make a difference among so
many?!” It starts with our hearts bowed. It starts with each of us coming before the Lord and asking HIM to reach those many lost souls, one … at … a … time.
Like climbing a mountain, we begin with the first step. And then take another. We do not go immediately from the trailhead to the summit of any peak. It takes time and work. But the experience is worth it. In this case, it has eternal significance.
“Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” — Romans 8:39
We know that the God of the Bible does not want any to perish, “but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). So lift your voice to this merciful God and ask that our Muslim friends and neighbors would repent and acknowledge Jesus as Savior and Lord over their lives.
To help you focus on these followers of Islam during Ramadan, we are going to present 30 days of prayer and preparation to preach the Good News to the Muslim world.
Climbing For Christ staff, members and friends are going to introduce you to Islam through daily writings. We are going to put faces to those numbers, reminding all of us that each number is a soul currently apart from God. May we, during this time, be driven to see Muslims brought back to the Father the way the prodigal son was in Luke 15:20
. May we pray for it, give to it, and GO in pursuit of this amazing (and blessed) kingdom task.
“…the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate.” — Luke 15:22-23
May this fast end with much “rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God” for those who will repent.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which is a lunar calendar with months beginning when the first crescent of a new moon is sighted. The Islamic day starts after sunset. Ramadan is the month during which the Qur’an was revealed by an angel to the prophet Muhammad. The month is spent by Muslims fasting each day from dawn to sunset. All Muslims — except children under the age of 12, pregnant or nursing mothers, the frail, aged and ill — must abstain from eating food, smoking and drinking (even water) during daylight hours. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars (or obligations) of Islam. The others are: declaration of faith, obligatory prayer, compulsory giving, and a pilgrimage to Mecca.