Project Prayer: Ramadan 2024

Project Prayer: Ramadan 2024
Gary Fallesen
/ Categories: Project Prayer

Project Prayer: Ramadan 2024

30 Days of Tea

 

By Gary and Elaine Fallesen, Climbing For Christ

We are coffee people. We have a coffee bar at our house – the Climbing For Christ Home Office – adorned with several signs. One, a gift from a friend, says: “A day without coffee is like … just kidding, I have no idea.”

We take coffee seriously. Gary always says – only half-jokingly – that he doesn’t trust mountain climbers who don’t drink coffee.

But we also drink more than our fair share of tea.

If one poured together all the cups of tea consumed on Climbing For Christ’s trips, it would easily fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

Joye Cantrell was a teammate on Mission: Ararat 2014, one of 11 trips to a country whose culture is steeped in cups of hot tea. She was so enamored with the daily doses of tea we drank that she photographed each day’s servings and made them into a book which she sent to us as a gift.

From endless city streetside cafés where the stools and backgammon tables overrun the sidewalks and hug the curbs too closely for comfort, to Kurdish nomad tents that dot the mountainsides of southeastern and eastern Turkey, tea is being brewed and served 24/7.

Taking time for tea – or coffee or a meal – provides an intimate setting for building relationships and trust, turning strangers into friends, and opening the door to sharing the Word.

We are going to take time each day during Ramadan for a cup of tea, a short reflection, and a prayer for those in the Muslim world.

First cup (Monday, March 11): Islam means submission. A Muslim is one who surrenders to God (Allah). We believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world reconciling all people who believe in Him to God (see John 14:6, Acts 4:12, and 2 Corinthians 5:18-19). Pray for this truth to penetrate the Muslim world as we drink our first cup of tea together and with our future brothers and sisters in Christ.

Second cup (Tuesday, March 12): During Ramadan, Muslims fast daily from sunup to sundown. No food or drink, including tea, until nightfall. This is called “Sawm” (fasting), and it is one of the five pillars of Islam. Fasting is done to remind followers that they need God. We know we need God for everything (see Colossians 1:16, Romans 11:36, and Psalm 55:22). Pray for recognition that the God of the Bible is the Creator, Provider, and Sustainer for all people.

Third cup (Wednesday, March 13): On the Indonesian island of Lombok, green tea is the favorite. Green tea is not dried and fermented like black tea. Lombok is majority Sasak people, and 99.98 percent of the 3.4 million Sasak in Indonesia are Muslim. Pray for Jon’s Paradise Villa and Resto, a tourist destination and café where tea and the love of Jesus will be served (see John 3:16, 1 John 4:19, and Romans 5:18).

Fourth cup (Thursday, March 14): Indonesia is the country with the largest Muslim population in the world (83 percent of the country’s 277 million people) and tea is the favorite drink of many – although (personal bias) Indonesian coffee is tremendous. Indonesia is one of the top eight tea producers in the world. The types of tea are black, green, oolong, white, jasmine, and kayu aro. The latter is produced at the foot of Mount Kerinci, the highest volcano on Sumatra, another island that is majority Muslim (in this case 87 percent). Pray for the Lord of the harvest (see Matthew 9:38) to send workers to bring in a crop, not only of tea, but of Muslim background believers on and around the volcanic mountains of Indonesia.

Fifth cup (Friday, March 15): Kashmir is a disputed territory in the mountains between India, Pakistan, and China. The union territory of Kashmir, India is majority Muslim. “The Gospel is restricted,” our ministry partner there said, “but through personal relationships one can hear about Jesus.” Those relationships usually involve the drinking of Kashmiri kahwa, a green tea prepared without milk and using local spices such as saffron, cinnamon, and cloves. Pray that through these relationships, the love of Christ may be shared (see Proverbs 17:17, 1 Peter 4:8, and John 15:13).

Sixth cup (Saturday, March 16): 

Joye’s chai in Delhi, India. (Photo by Joye Cantrell)

Our sister Joye recently spent some time in India. “The chai in India is amazing,” she reported. “Coffee, not so much!” We concur. Joye talked about being “lonely” as a Christian in a country of nearly 1.4 billion non-believers, including nearly 200 million Muslims (13.6 percent of the population). Muslims, like Christians (which make up 2.3 percent of the population), are under attack by Hindu nationalists. We are called to pray and love, not attack others (see Luke 6:27-28 and Matthew 5:43-44). Pray that the small Christian population can show support and love to Muslims and through this exchange see doors open to sharing the Gospel.

Seventh cup (Sunday, March 17): When our Muslim friend arrived in the United States from Tanzania on his first visit, Gary met him at a local coffee shop and bought him a large chai. He knew this friend drank chai, not coffee. But the chai came in a mug the size of a kiddie pool. Our friend sat with wide eyes staring at the drink. Welcome to America. This friend and several others are Muslims we pray will one day be welcomed into the kingdom of heaven (see Matthew 25:31-34, Matthew 6:33, and Luke 21:27-28). Pray for salvation for Muslim friends and neighbors.

Eighth cup (Monday, March 18): The Pare people of Tanzania are about 60/40 Muslim and Christian. While most Tanzanians did not drink tea before the British introduced it to East Africa, the Pare use a handmade machine to squeeze the juice out of sugarcane. That is mixed with water and lemongrass to make their version of tea. The Pare, the Chagga (93 percent Christian), and some Maasai (65 percent follow folk religion) work on and around Mount Kilimanjaro. Our Kilimanjaro Chapter guides and porters are conducting outreach (see John 15:5 and 2 Timothy 2:2). Pray for fruit to be produced through Climbing For Christ training.

Ninth cup (Tuesday, March 19): A story from the mission field…

Sean Ranger was an honored guest in Berber homes in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, where they allowed him to make the tea. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)

In 2013, we met a brother in Christ who will forever be known as Sean Ranger. Sean had been a Climbing For Christ member for two years when we made our first expedition to Morocco. He was working there full-time. Now a C4C Canada Board member, he called our visit his favorite memory of C4C’s first 20 years.

"We were able to explore new areas in the Atlas Mountains and ultimately established a new route based on our reconnaissance,” Mr. Ranger recalled.

While exploring new routes, we fell in love with the Berber people whose hospitality in the mountains included abundant amounts of very, very sweet, mint tea.

“In Morocco, they serve gunpowder green tea, which is these tightly rolled balls of tea that unfold when they’re placed in hot water,” Sean Ranger explained. “They boil a small amount of water and then add the tea and let it boil again. Usually, they would then pour off the water to remove the bitter flavors, and then boil it again.

“Everyone had their own style, and some folks would even add a little more water and pour that off, too, to remove the bitterness. There were also those who never poured off anything and their tea often would be quite bitter.

“Once the tea had boiled, they would add copious amounts of sugar. Really to the point where if the tea cooled down, it would be closer to a syrup than tea. Again, the amount of sugar is a personal preference, but it was the rare exception that someone didn’t add a lot.”

Finally, mint – or any number of fresh herbs – would be added to make the final brew. This native mint tea inspired the Moroccan Green Mint teas found on grocery store shelves worldwide.

The tea was so strong and so plentiful, Sean Ranger would need to buy soda (and he didn’t normally drink soda) when he returned to the city to ween himself off the sugar dependency – or else he would suffer incredible headaches.

“If they created a Cheers for North Africa,” he said, referring to the popular U.S. sitcom set in a Boston bar, “the setting would be a room where tea was constantly being served. Tea is one of those hubs for socialization for them.”

It was also where the sharing of the Gospel would happen during hours of tea consumption and conversation. Pray for the use of this social time and that cheers would be heard from heaven (see Luke 15:7) as Muslims come to faith in Jesus.

Tenth cup (Wednesday, March 20): “Pakistan has a very rich tea culture, and we call it ‘chai’ in our local language,” said a brother in Christ. “Almost all Pakistani people love chai, and they make it with tea, sugar, and lots of milk in it. In Pakistan, after every few kilometers, people can easily find small tea stalls or shops for chai. In my region, people drink a lot of green tea as well.” Tea or chai is a common ground for Pakistani people. Religion is not. Pakistan is one of three Islamic Republics in the world and a country where Christians are badly persecuted and blasphemy laws are often levied against believers resulting in prison sentences. Pray for those persecutors (see Matthew 5:44, Romans 12:14, and 1 Peter 3:9).

Eleventh cup (Thursday, March 21): A Climbing For Christ member who was one of our Mission: Morocco team members saw the “Ninth cup” post and emailed: “I am actually drinking Moroccan tea at work right now (in the United States).” This C4C member said a Moroccan student “brought it for me when he found out how much I enjoy it. What a great little time to pray for our Berber brothers and sisters.” A tea prayer break! Pray also for those in Morocco (99.6 percent of the 37.5 million) who are Muslim, like the student who gifted the tea.

Twelfth cup (Friday, March 22): “When serving the tea,” a co-worker in North Africa explained, “they would pour tea into small glasses, often raising the pot high above the glass, which had the effect of creating bubbles in the tea. I’ve been told in places like Mauritania they would repeat these high pours until the glass was mostly filled with bubbles or froth.” The Apostle Paul wrote, “As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God” (2 Timothy 4:6). He declared that he had “fought the good fight … finished the race, and … remained faithful.” Christians today must remain faithful as some have declared the “race” to deliver the Good News to West Africans has been lost to Islam. Islam dominates a territory from West Africa, through the Middle East and Central Asia, down to Indonesia. Islam grew from 12.3 percent of the world’s population in 1900 to 24.3 percent in 2020. In Africa, there are 230 million Muslims north of the Sahara. Muslim missionaries are now working in nearly every country in Africa. Pray that Christians in Africa prioritize demonstrating the love of Christ with Muslims throughout Africa.

Thirteenth cup (Saturday, March 23): In many Muslim cultures, it is common to take a sugar cube and hold it in your mouth as you drink the tea. This is a practice Gary has adopted when in the proper setting. The Apostle Paul explained, “When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. … When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ. When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings” (1 Corinthians 9:20a, 21-23, NLT). When we are in a Muslim culture, we drink 13 or more cups of tea each day – even if we do not like that much tea (or would prefer a nice cup of coffee!). We do everything we can to spread the Good News of Jesus to people who need to hear it. Pray for ears to hear and hearts to receive throughout the Muslim world. May they, like the prophet Ezekiel, let all the words we speak sink deep into their hearts (Ezekiel 3:10).

Fourteenth cup (Sunday, March 24): When ministry partner Save Pakistan rescues someone, usually a child, from the modern-day debtors’ prison that is brick factory slavery in Pakistan, they celebrate with mango juice. We have paid the debts of 189 Christians (147 children and 42 adults) since 2016. The Climbing For Christ member who founded Save Pakistan said the juice is a celebration of coolness and sweetness. “A slave’s life is very hot and tough,” he said. “That’s why after freedom we celebrate the cool and sweet mango juice drink.”

Two children – a brother, Shani (left), and his sister, Mahak – were freed last week from slavery in a Pakistan brick factory. (Photo by Save Pakistan)

The mango juice is a triumphal toast. Freedom. Christians around the world are celebrating Palm Sunday today – Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (see Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-40, and John 12:12-19) on His way to His sacrificial death on the cross for all humanity. Freedom.

Mango juice doesn’t get drunk every day in Pakistan. Tens of thousands of Christians are enslaved. “As you know, Christians are very poor in Pakistan,” our brother said. “Muslim people don’t give good jobs to Christians. That’s why Christians become slaves and die in poverty.”

Pray for more brick factory slaves to experience freedom in this life and Muslims to find real freedom forever.

In between mango celebrations, our brother in Christ drinks his fair share of tea. “So much,” he said. “I drink black tea just to refresh myself. But at a sunrise meeting with all of our church congregation we will drink green tea.”

Fifteenth cup (Monday, March 25): This is Holy Week in Christendom as well as the middle of holy month in Islam. A collision of worlds. Like coffee drinkers and tea drinkers. For Muslims, it is an effort to gain God’s favor and forgiveness. For Christians, it is a time to observe what Jesus did for us. It is works (Islam) versus grace (Christianity). Pray that the message of grace would flood the Muslim world. “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from god. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it” (Ephesians 2:8-9, NLT).

Sixteenth cup (Tuesday, March 26): Treats are often included with tea. Something sweet to eat. There is nothing sweeter than the Word of God. Psalm 119:103 says, “How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey.” Pray for Muslims to hear these sweet words, written by Paul in his first letter to Timothy: “This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’ – and I am the worst of them all” (1 Timothy 1:15). May our witness in humility and weakness show the power of the cross.

Seventeenth cup (Wednesday, March 27):

Turkish tea.

In the north, west, south, and central parts of Turkey, people drink Turkish tea that is grown in the Black Sea area. In the Kurdish southeast, tea from Sri Lanka is drunk. However, much to a co-worker’s chagrin, cafés in eastern Turkey often serve Iranian tea. It is scented and our brother states emphatically, “I don’t like it at all.” (He usually says worse things about it.) This is a man who drinks 20-to-30 cups of tea a day; he knows his tea. He also knows how to share the Good News, having led about 75 Kurds to Christ in recent years. Where once there were no believers now many villages have at least one Muslim-background family that is part of our Family. Pray for growth of the Church where the early church began (see Acts 2:47, Acts 9:31, and Ephesians 4:11-12) in a country that is now 96 percent Muslim.

Eighteenth cup (Thursday, March 28): A story from the mission field…

Gospel bracelet: yellow, black, red, white, and green beads tell the Bible story from the beginning to the happy ending.

One the final nights of Elaine’s second trip to Turkey, Mission: Ararat 2015, she found herself the only one left at the café table on the street with our cultural guide. At the time she could never have guessed what God had in store for his future with Climbing For Christ – how he would accept Jesus and go to work for C4C. She was just worried that she might never see her Muslim friend again.

“In my pocket I’d been holding onto my last Gospel bracelet. We had spent hours and days with Kurdish families throughout the trip stringing the five different-colored beads onto leather cords and tying the Bible-in-a-bracelet onto wrists of young and old. After two years of listening to me explain to nomads what the five colors on the bracelets represented, our lead guide had memorized the Bible story from creation in Genesis to Jesus’ return in Revelation. We would get to a point in a tent visit where he would say, “Okay, we can do beads now,” and he would often translate the whole story for me. Which was kind of funny, seeing as he was also a Muslim.

“But I wasn’t sure (our friend) had ever really listened to the story. And at the time, I didn’t realize he was struggling with his Muslim beliefs. I’d been waiting and asking the Holy Spirit for the right moment to share the bracelet with him. As the team left the table to head back to their rooms – and Gary and our other guide wandered off – just ‘B’ and me and our tea were left. The moment was now.

“Taking the bracelet out of my pocket, I handed it to ‘B’ and told him there was a chance I would never see him again. And in case I didn’t, I wanted to give him this gift and share with him my hope for the future, in the God of the Bible who loved him more than he knew.

“I explained the beads as I had done so many times:

“The yellow bead represents Creation, how God created a perfect world and everything in it, including Adam and Eve, the first humans. They were made in God’s image and had a perfect relationship with Him.

“The black bead stands for sin and death, which entered the world when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and broke apart the perfect relationship they had enjoyed with their Creator. But God still loved them and sought to restore that relationship with His creation. He sent His Son into the world to live the perfect life that we couldn’t, and to rescue humanity from eternal damnation by taking on everyone’s sins and dying in our place.

“The red bead is for Jesus’ blood which He shed on the cross to pay the price for our sins. He died and went to hell for us, and then rose from the dead, and in so doing …

“Cleansed us all from our sins, making us white as snow, represented by the white bead. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross restored humanity’s relationship with God. When we repent of our sins and believe in Jesus Christ as the Way, the Truth, and the Life, we are saved for eternity.

“Finally, the green bead stands for our growing faith when the Holy Spirit lives in us. We want to grow closer to Jesus and become more like Him every day. We want to tell others the Good News about our Savior and what He has done for them. We look forward to one day living forever in heaven with the Lord.

“I told our friend the bracelet covered the Bible from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. He didn’t need a printed Bible. He could wear it on his wrist or keep it in his pocket. I just wanted him to have a reminder of how much God loved him.

“And the rest of our friend’s story is HIStory in the making. Well worth however many cups of tea it took.”

As the Muslim world continues Ramadan and the Christian world tonight celebrates the Last Supper of Jesus with His disciples (see Matthew 26:17-30 and Luke 22:7-38), be reminded that our time is short. Pray for opportunities not to be wasted and the Gospel to be shared throughout the Muslim world.

Nineteenth cup (Friday, March 29): Dale, a participant in several Climbing For Christ expeditions to Turkey, said: “I love sitting down to tea with Turkish and Kurdish people. I know it’s important to them and it opens doors for beginning to build relationships.” Today is Good Friday. We know that Friday is Good because Resurrection Sunday is coming. That is the hope – life overcoming death eternally thanks to our crucified Christ – that we get to share with new and old friends over tea in the country that consumes more tea than any other nation. We love to share about Jesus. “As Nesih said about ‘those Americans,’” Dale recalled, “‘They valued us, drank our tea, joked and played games with our children, and made us very happy.’” Pray that happiness, a temporary emotion, can be turned to eternal joy in the hearts of Muslims everywhere.

Twentieth cup (Saturday, March 30): Coffee, tea, or … Islam? Turkish Air made a rule allowing pilots and cabin crew to break for in-flight prayers, although not during so-called “critical” phases of the flight, and also to fast for Ramadan. Fasting during Ramadan is obligatory for Muslims, but there are exceptions – such as traveling. These rule changes on Turkish Air, Turkey’s national airline, are “in line with (the) policy of weakening modern Turkey’s secularist traditions,” according to The Economist. “But even airlines run by governments that are more strictly Islamic do not allow this. In August a pilot was dismissed for calling the rule a safety risk. That has raised concerns about the airline’s priorities.” Pray for Turkey to return to its Christian roots. Pray for mayoral elections this weekend and that more tolerant leaders would be put in place so the Church may grow.

Twenty-first cup (Sunday, March 31):Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it” (Matthew 28:2, NLT). Jesus was risen from the dead. He is alive! Brother B, our Kingdom worker in Turkey, shares the resurrection story with many. He and those around him in southeastern Turkey survived a great earthquake last year on Feb. 6. In the aftermath of the quake, which killed at least 60,000 people in Turkey and neighboring Syria (B says it was many times more than the official count), our brother started to visit the tent cities erected for survivors whose homes had been destroyed. More than a half-million homes were turned to rubble. Many people lost hope in the future. “Still, everyone lives in tent cities,” Brother B said recently. By “everyone” he means the Kurdish people who received little help after the earthquake. Climbing For Christ sent financial aid, which Brother B delivered along with the Good News, shared over many cups of tea. For that, he was reported by an imam and was taken to court. But the Truth shall set free the prisoners – those behind bars or in the cells of life created by autocratic governments, tragedy, or trauma. Pray that God will continue to comfort earthquake victims in Turkey and lead the lost to the safety Jesus provided by defeating death (see 1 Corinthians 15:55). May the truth of Resurrection Sunday set Muslims free (John 8:32). He is risen!

Twenty-second cup (Monday, April 1): Mike, a Climbing For Christ member who has traveled extensively, including C4C expeditions to China, Peru, and the Philippines, has drunk all sorts of tea. From black and yak butter. But one tea story sticks out in his memory. It occurred during a trip into Pakistan’s Karakoram:

“Our trip leader had forgotten his in-country phone charger so we were on foot walking to the local market. As we were heading down to the electronics shop, I noticed some kids running up to us from behind trying to flag us down. Figuring they would be speaking Urdu or Balti, I stopped our trip leader to talk with them. Surprisingly, these kids spoke English. They wanted us to come to their school and speak. With that, we were even more surprised. Obviously, we weren't going to say no.

“The kids told us to follow them, and they led us up a hill through some trees to their school. Upon arriving, we met their headmaster and his wife. He was just as excited as the kids to have us. He took us classroom to classroom to speak with the students and have them ask any questions. We even were able to share a Bible story with the students. It was mind-blowing that God was already opening a door for us to share where we least expected it.

“After hanging out and sharing with the students, the headmaster invited us to come back to his house and have tea. It was a good time to have more conversation and continue to build our new friendship with him and his wife. During our conversation, he at one point brought up the Taliban and began defending them. A little shocked, it was not a turn I saw our conversation taking with the friendly headmaster. As an American, it was certainly strange to hear someone defend a brutal group that had been our enemy for so many years. But despite all of that, God was opening a door.

“As we sipped tea together, he tried to convince us that they were not bad people. They were just misunderstood. Not wanting to get into a political debate, we pivoted and explained that Christianity is often misunderstood in the Muslim world, that many things attributed to Christians and Christianity were things Jesus never taught. People in that part of world often assume every American is a Christian and that all of the entertainment America pushes out is representative of Christianity. As we talked, we agreed that if there is misunderstanding; it is good to dive deeper to find truth. We explained if someone wanted to understand what Jesus really taught, it would be good to read about His life and teaching written down by the many who walked with Him. After thinking about it for a moment, he agreed.

“Eventually, it was time to go but having that conversation over tea in the headmaster’s home would eventually open the door for us to give him and his wife one of the first Balti Bibles ever translated and printed. I’m still amazed at how God was working that day. I’m thankful for the doors He opened with a forgotten cell phone charger and conversation over tea.”

May God use unusual moments to open doors to divine appointments. May we answer and allow the Spirit to speak through us to correct misunderstandings.

Twenty-third cup (Tuesday, April 2): Nothing can spoil a nice cup of tea like talking about a Muslim country’s leader. But God is sovereign. As a Muslim background believer says in Prayercast’s video praying for Turkey’s president, “You put kings and queens and authorities in offices and positions.” May You use those Muslim leaders to glorify Your name!

Twenty-fourth cup (Wednesday, April 3): Many in North Africa have sought identity and purpose in radical Islam. But violence isn’t the answer. Pray that a spiritual door is opening in a region known for being tightly closed. Extremists from throughout the Muslim landscape use their tea breaks to plan how to terrorize a broken world – they know no other way. But there is a Way. Jesus Christ alone can break through the violence, terror, and fear. We must pray for this breakthrough to occur from Mauritania to Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and beyond.

Twenty-fifth cup (Thursday, April 4): We met the friend of a Muslim guiding us as we toured the sights of a historic location, sharing about Jesus along the way. Years later, over tea and (in our case) coffee, we learned how that day changed the man’s life. He became a brother in Christ. He also urged his friend, our guide, to listen to what we had to say. The funny thing was we did not remember meeting this brother. We will do and say things every day that might not be memorable – to us. But your words and actions could make an eternal impact on someone’s life, thanks to the Holy Spirit. Pray for your interactions with Muslims, especially during their spiritually awakening holy month.

Twenty-sixth cup (Friday, April 5): The blind man dreamed of us standing at his door holding photographs from our previous visit. We wondered how a blind man saw us in his dream. But the day after he had this dream, we were knocking on his door carrying photos of the previous visit. His wife let us in, and we were told about the dream as we drank many cups of tea together. We asked if we could pray for him, and Gary took the blind man’s hand and prayed that he would be visited by Jesus in his dreams. This man would become our brother in Christ. Pray that during this holy month many Muslims who are more spiritually awake would experience dreams and visions of the Lord. “Knock, and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7b).

Twenty-seventh cup (Saturday, April 6): It is unlikely the prophet Muhammad was drinking tea when, according to Muslim tradition, he received the first verses of the Quran from an angel. This night is said to be better than 1,000 nights of worship – called the “Night of Power” (Laylat al-Qadr). It’s a night devoted to anticipating the revelation of God. That’s our prayer, too. May the one true God be met this night by Muslims everywhere. CLICK HERE to watch Prayercast’s video about this night.

Twenty-eighth cup (Sunday, April 7): Pastor Lazarus Brown, a Climbing For Christ member in Nigeria, says before foreigners showed up “tea was not popular.” Pepper soup and herbal drinks were more the norm for moments of hospitality. Those same foods and drinks also treated fever, malaria, and other illnesses. But today Pastor Brown will join us in a cup of tea and “it’s also my prayer that the Lord Almighty rescue those that are trapped in the Muslim world.”

Twenty-ninth cup (Monday, April 8): Nigeria is 51 percent Christian and 43 percent Muslim and ne’er the twain shall meet. Unless through intercessory prayer. Boko Haram, an Islamic extremist group, and Fulani herdsmen, who are militant Muslims, conspire to make Nigeria the deadliest place to be a Christian. More believers are killed in Nigeria for their faith each year than everywhere else in the world – combined! (according to the World Watch List, which ranked Nigeria the sixth-worst most persecuted country in the world). More Christians are also kidnapped in Nigeria than in any other country. It is painful. Pray for healing for those impacted by violence. Pray for peace. Pray for Muslims to see the ugliness and hatred attached to their religion by Boko Haram and the Fulani and desire something different. Pray that they would embrace the Prince of Peace. Pray for love and the God of love to win lost souls.

Thirtieth cup (Tuesday, April 9):

Painting of cup of tea by Joye Cantrell.

Elaine met the man in the wheelchair on the mountain. It was strange to see a person from a nomadic family on a mountain in a wheelchair. We drank tea on a cloth laid outside the family tent in the sunshine of that day. Maybe it was the oddity or the Holy Spirit moving, but Elaine’s heart was burdened for this man. She carried him home with her and prayed for his healing and, more importantly, his salvation. She prayed for years and one day we received news that he had joined our family. The man in the wheelchair was our brother in Christ.

The hound of heaven does not give up on any who are lost (see 2 Peter 3:9); neither should we. Another prayer project is ending today, but we do not stop praying for those in the Muslim world. “Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18, CEV). Allow the Spirit to stir in you someone or something you have read during these 30 days. Make yourself a cup of tea – and pray. It is our hope that you will associate tea with the nearly 2 billion Muslims in the world (one-quarter of the planet’s population) and each time you smell or taste a cup of tea, you will be moved to say a prayer for them. Pray that our Muslim friends and neighbors around the globe will “Taste and see that the LORD is good,” as the psalmist wrote in Psalm 34:8. “Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” Please pray on! 

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