The heart of Ramadan

Man thinking and praying

Praying for Muslim seekers during the fast

As we consider the many Muslim seekers taking part in the fast of Ramadan, let’s look at some of the aspects of the fast and pray for eyes to be opened…

Doing

Doing something to please God is the core of Islam – in the vain hope that he will one day grant them entrance to paradise. Muslims believe that depriving themselves of food and drink for thirty days during the daylight hours somehow earns them favour. It doesn’t.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. Pray that the Holy Spirit would reveal this to many!

Being seen

In the honour-shame culture of the Arab world, it’s more important to be seen to be doing the right thing than it is to do the right thing. Perhaps, a not-particularly-devout Muslim might take a sip of water here and there. No harm done if no one’s looking!

But in Matthew 6:1 it says: Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. Pray that Muslim seekers would recognise this hypocrisy and seek out righteousness through faith!

Self-denial

The days are longer during summertime, and in some parts of the Arab world, temperatures can reach beyond 40 °C (104 °F). Going all day without any form of sustenance – even water – is clearly not good wise. Though the elderly, the young, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and the infirm are exempt from fasting, quite often they participate anyway.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says: Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies. Pray that Muslim seekers would come to see that they do not honour God by depriving their body of what it vitally needs.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness of sins is never guaranteed in Islam. But during the last ten days of the fast, when Laylat al-Qadr (the Night of Power) takes place, Muslims seek it more than ever. Laylat al-Qadr commemorates the Prophet Muhammad receiving the first verses of the Qur’an. Although the actual date is not known, it is said that this night is ‘better than a thousand months’. Consequently, many Muslims pray for long periods and with extra fervour, particularly for the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 1:13-14 says: For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Pray that on this night many Muslim seekers would understand that it is only through Christ that they can be forgiven and redeemed.

  • Tom Briggs

    God not only sees the heart (beliefs, thoughts and motives); but He can change the heart as well: “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might becomeheirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.” Titus 3:3-8. Salvation comes before works (even in the English dictionary).

  • Meg

    I pray that Muslims will come to recognise the futility of trying to earn their own salvation. Our good deeds are a response to God who loves us, not to earn His favour.