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09 June 2016

Christians urged to pray during Ramadan

Christians urged to pray during Ramadan

Alliance member Mahabba Network is encouraging Christians to pray for Muslim communities during the Ramadan fast.

The third annual #LoveFast, used together with a 30 Days of Prayer booklet, encourages action and prayer for the Muslim world.

Mahabba Network works to help Christians engage positively with Muslims by facilitating opportunities to pray, learn about Islam and share Jesus with local Muslim communities.

Ramadan is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad, according to Islamic belief.

Gordon Hickson, CEO of Mahabba Network said: "Muslims are earnestly seeking God, striving in prayer, fasting and religious duty. However, the missing element is Jesus, who is the only way to the Father.

During Ramadan, which is the longest for 33 years, with the summer solstice bang in the middle, Christians have the privilege and responsibility to pray for Muslims.

This is a time when everyday Christians can pray and engage practically to the end that Jesus be revealed to Muslims who seek to come close to God.

Prayer is something we can all do, and the 30 Days of Prayer booklet is a good place to start. You can also use the Mahabba Network's daily Lovefast e-mails to engage in practical ways."

For 30 days all healthy adult Muslims will be expected to fast during daylight hours.

Christians from Muslim backgrounds are often targets of persecution, as leaving Islam can be seen as a great source of shame to families and communities. In some parts of south east Asia it is illegal to convert from Islam.

Open Doors, who works with local partners and churches to strengthen and equip persecuted Christians, shared the story of a Christian in south east Asia who pretends to take part in the fast to avoid persecution.

He said: "Being a secret believer, I have to pretend I am fasting in front of my Muslim colleagues. To do otherwise would result in suspicions and questionings. It is only when I'm alone or with other secret believers that I can be myself. It is not easy to live such a double life.

"Many secret believers like me dare not reveal our faith because if we are caught we will be sent to Islamic rehabilitation centres. I've heard stories of brainwashing, torture, and mental abuse to make believers from Muslim backgrounds recant their faith in Christ."

He fears what may happen if his faith is discovered, and how he would respond if he was sent to an Islamic rehabilitation centre. "If that ever happens to me, I don't know how I will respond to such persecution. Yet I'm terrified of denying Jesus.

"Therefore, please pray for me and my fellow believers from Muslim backgrounds, that he will give us the strength not to deny him."

You can find out more about #LoveFast and Mahabba Network via their website, and watch the secret believer's story on the Open Doors website.

As members of the Evangelical Alliance, Mahabba Network and Open Doors UK are two of 600 organisations supported by the Alliance. We facilitate members' initiatives and campaigns and offer support to increase their impact and provide training for organisations on how to engage with the local government and media.

If you would like to become a member of the Evangelical Alliance as an organisation, church or individual, you can find out more here.