Ramadan Guide Intro: How to Love and Engage Muslims with the Gospel
This morning marked the start of Ramadan, the annual 30 days of fasting for Muslims around the world. This morning, 1.8 billion men, women, and children started their day worshipping a false god — hoping and praying they can somehow earn the favor of Allah. Depending on their level of commitment to the Qur’an and Islamic tradition, they will fast from sunrise to sunset for the next 30 days, asking Allah to reveal himself.
In an article on the IMB website, Mike Edens provides some deep insight into the root desire behind Ramadan, one of Islam’s 5 Pillars:
“The focus of this month is not primarily abstinence or fasting but a concentration of a Muslim’s energy and mind on an awareness of God and on the life of pious worship.” – Mike Edens
What does Ramadan have to do with Christianity?
- Ramadan is a prime time to have spiritual conversations with Muslims. As Christians, we have the ability to exhibit true love toward followers of Islam. Most Muslims are very sincere in their faith, and simply just want to better worship and honor Allah. Anyone who fasts for 30 consecutive days is serious about what they believe. So, pray and prepare yourself to engage Muslims around you with humility, friendship, and confident faith in the risen Christ.
- Islam is growing worldwide, specifically in North America. If current trends continue, Islam will be the majority world religion by the end of this century. In 2016, there were 3.3 million Muslims living in the United States. By 2050, that number is expected to double. Rather than insulating ourselves and “protecting the church” from outsiders, let’s rejoice that God is bringing unreached people groups to our neighborhoods! If we trust our Bibles, then we can be confident that Jesus is working His plan to bring some of them to saving faith in Him. We need to invest time learning their culture and perspective, but most of us don’t even know where to start.
- Muslims are created in the image of God. May we never forget that every man, woman, and child is created in the image of God. Regardless of skin color, clothing choice, or language we speak, “the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). The triune God of the universe purposed in His heart to create man in His own image, and He has set about on a rescue plan that involves His children carrying the Gospel across all types of cultural barriers. Christ has broken down all dividing walls, but we must take the message of Jesus to them! (Romans 10:8-17).
“Do you have a strong desire to be around your unbelieving Muslim friends and neighbors on an ongoing basis? If not, then ask God, who desires for all people to come to salvation (1 Tim 2:1–5; 2 Pet 3:9), to place his desires in your heart so that your desire (Ps 37:4) will be to see unbelievers have an encounter with the gospel that results in faith in Christ.” – D.A. Horton
“And they sang a new song, saying,
‘Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.’” (Revelation 5:9–10)
What can you expect from Snowbird this month?
Over the next 30 days, look for a daily Ramadan post with challenging content that will help equip you to faithfully walk out your faith (and communicate it) with Muslims in your community. We’ve pooled resources from our camp pastors, missionaries, and former staff in order to bring you a well-rounded perspective of what it looks like to love and engage Muslims with the Gospel.
Don’t expect magical evangelistic tools. Sharing the life-giving truth of Jesus with someone who thinks you’re a heretic against the one true God is difficult. But, it’s a glorious picture of how we follow in the footsteps of Christ—entering suffering and confusion, and serving others so that they might be reconciled to God.
Instead, you can expect basic info on the history of Islamic beliefs, personal stories, daily prayer points, and practical tips for authentically engaging Muslims.
As Paul wrote in Colossians 1:27-29, our goal is to help “present everyone mature in Christ.” Mature Christians who abide in Jesus daily, and know His Word, will have everything they need to befriend and engage Muslim neighbors with the Gospel. This is our goal.
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Where do we start?
How can we grow in our love, compassion, and ability to engage with Muslims? We’ll be posting several articles each week, and each day will close with a specific prayer point and practical challenge for immediate application. But, looking big-picture, we encourage you to implement these spiritual disciplines on a consistent basis over the next 30 days:
- Pray daily. – Pray that God will open the eyes of Muslims to see Jesus as who He really is. Set aside time at either sunrise or sunset, and invest time pleading for the Holy Spirit to draw Muslims to salvation — both here and overseas. Pray for opportunities to meet Muslims in your area that can lead to deep, long-term relationships.
- Fast weekly. – Choose a day each week that you can fast along with Muslims. After all, it’s not merely an Islamic thing. Rather than fasting to please God, fast to worship God and to keep the lostness of the Islamic world in the forefront of your mind.
- Introduce yourself, and begin a friendship. – As you pray for opportunities to meet Muslims, anticipate that God will answer your prayer and place people in your path. Commit yourself to genuinely learning their story, and offer to pray for them during Ramadan. Love them with the genuine love of Jesus, and they will be open to hearing the stories of Jesus.
- Read the gospel accounts. – This is the perfect time to refresh yourself on the stories, parables, miracles, and teachings of Jesus. Pick one of the four gospel accounts and read it straight through this month. Make sure the words of Christ are on your mind and heart so that you can naturally share them when given the opportunity.
“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing…” (2 Corinthians 2:14-15)
What is Ramadan, and Why Should Christians Care? – International Missions Board (IMB)
What to Know About Ramadan – SEBTS