With the Ramadan holiday of fasting and prayer coming up and lasting from April 24 to May 23, a 30 Days of Prayer campaign is being launched globally to reach the Islamic world with the gospel.
Besides aiming to penetrate the hearts of Muslims with the love of Jesus Christ, 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World sets out to help Christians “see Muslims the way God does” by providing believers with an illustrated daily prayer guide booklet that coincides with the month-long observance of the Islamic holy day of Ramadan.
The prayer campaign is also designed to guide participants in the 30-day event on a journey through Islam around the world to help them better understand the 1.6 to 1.8 billion adherents of the world’s second-largest religion.
Spreading love, not fear and hate
Paul Filidis – the campaign’s North America event organizer – seeks to get Christians in tune with how Jesus would minister to the Muslim world.
"While media sound bites about Islamic extremism can incite anger, fear and even hatred towards Muslims, we seek to resist this temptation to generalize, and instead resolve to respond and pray with the mind and heart of Christ," Filidis explained in a press release issued Thursday by his outreach.
With nearly a quarter of the world’s 7.8 billion population identifying as Muslim from North Africa, to the Middle East, to Southeast Asia, many believe that the “fortress of Islam” is impenetrable, but many do not realize the massive number of converts who have come to Christ from Islam of late.
“Missions experts – called missiologists – today report that tens of thousands of Muslims have come to faith in Christ over the past few decades, coinciding with the annual 30 Days of Prayer event, which started in 1993 and has distributed more than 1.6 million prayer booklets in North America alone,” the outreach informed.
Researcher Dr. David Garrison – author of "A Wind in the House of Islam" – sheds some light on how God has recently softened and converted the hearts of Muslims en masse.
"We're seeing multiple movements of God in the Islamic world like we've never seen before – involving tens of thousands of people," Garrison shared. "The simple fact is that 84% of the historical movements of Muslims coming to Christ have happened over the past 20 years – and it's clear that 30 Days of Prayer has played a vital role."
Holy Spirit moving on Muslims …
Through visions and dreams today, thousands of Muslims are having personal encounters with Jesus Christ.
"God is real, and Jesus is real,” Garrison asserted. “They're not being converted just to a historical doctrine or cultural religion, but they're encountering the living Christ."
30 Days of Prayer – affiliated with Youth with a Mission (YWAM) – launched during a small gathering of Christian leaders in the Middle East – a movement that has now expanded into a worldwide event encompassing millions of participants.
Back in the 1970s, Filidis became a Christian on the “hippie trail” to Afghanistan – where he developed a love and passion for the Muslim world.
"We had no idea that this would become such a strategic event – especially since this was launched long before the 9/11 terrorist attacks," Filidis insisted.
He pointed out that most Muslims aren’t terrorists.
"In America, we're inundated with frightening images and scary news items about the Islamic world – but these do not reflect the majority of Muslims," Filidis contended. "30 Days of Prayer seeks to educate people about Islam and mobilize Christians to pray strategically for Muslims – people like you and me, searching for the truth."
The missions leader said that “the pressure is on” for devout Muslims to fast from sunrise to sunset during the month of Ramadan and to take the Islamic observance very seriously.
"Some Muslims are even preoccupied with whether swallowing their own saliva might invalidate their fast," Filidis informed. "We're asking people to pray that Jesus Christ will meet with them during this time."
Both child and adult booklets of the 30 Days of Muslim Prayer Guide educate and inspire believers to have a “Christ-like attitude” toward Muslims and “pray knowledgeably” for them.
"God is mixing the people of the Earth, and everyone probably knows a Muslim in their community," Filidis emphasized. “We shouldn't be afraid to introduce ourselves to our Muslim neighbors."
In addition, Filidis’ ministry also produces annual prayer guides for intercessory prayer movements aimed at Hindus and Buddhists.