Ramadan Observed

As we cross over from March into April, those who practice Islam are in the midst of celebrating Ramadan. Named for the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar, Ramadan is considered holy to the Muslim people because it is the month they believe the Quran was sent to the lowest heaven and gradually revealed to the prophet Muhammad.

The Celebration Of Ramadan

Throughout the month of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate with fasting and extra prayers. Their fasting takes place from dawn to dusk and is considered one of the five pillars fo Islam. It includes, of course, a fasting from food but also from certain sins like lying and stealing. During one particular night of Ramadan, known as the night of power, many Muslims pray through the night. They believe that on this particular night their dedication to prayer will be rewarded as though they had prayed for an entire lifetime. 

Why Muslims Fast

As we look at Ramadan from outside the Muslim faith, it’s interesting to consider the differences. While both Muslims and Christians are called to fast, the motivation is very different. Fasting during Ramadan is required of all healthy Muslim adults as an observance to one of the five pillars and an attempt to reinforce gratitude when compared with those less fortunate than themselves. There is no assurance from Allah, no relationship there, meaning that Muslim’s fast in hope to gain favor and never know whether or not their attempts were successful. While the Bible certainly assumes Christians will fast, it is never set out as a requirement in the New Testament.

Why Christians Fast

Christian fasting has a variety of motivations from drawing closer to God, developing spiritual strength, seeking His direction, or reminding ourselves of our dependence on Him. However, one thing is always true: fasting is a part of a two way relationship between redeemed man and a loving God where we have full assurance, confidently approaching the throne of grace and knowing that we will be heard and are already saved and loved (Heb 4:16).

Whenever a Christian fasts it’s always a loving response to God, never a required chore. In fact, the Bible actually condemns fasting as a religious obligation, pointing to the Pharisees who fasted simply to be seen fasting. God loves the individual quietly forsaking something to seek Him, denying the flesh in a posture of desire, not in a desperate or fear motivated begging. He is a personal God, moved by our sacrifice and drawing close to us as we seek Him- fulfilling His promises that if we seek Him we will find Him (Jer 29:13).

We Know God Hears Us

Additionally, when we look at the Muslim commitment to prayer during Ramdan, we see again the differences in the God that we serve. While Muslims pray through the night to hopefully be heard more and have more prayers counted to their credit, Christians are actually encouraged to keep our prayers short and clear (Matthew 6). God is near, loving and personal- He hears our every prayer: even the simple, desperate groans too deep for words.

If we choose to pray through the night, it is a love response with the assurance that He has heard us and not an attempt to be recognized as one who prays. In contrast, Allah is distant and unpredictable. His heart is not tender towards or moved by humanity. Imagine the frustration and fear Muslim’s live in: dutifully participating in religious action after religious action, never sure if they have done enough to be accepted let alone loved.

Pray and Fast

As the Islamic world prepares to celebrate Ramadan, it’s the perfect time to consider our own faith and the loving, personal God that we serve. Like those Paul observed in Romans 10, we can admire the zeal that they carry while recognizing that their need for Jesus and the truth of the gospel is desperate. What would it look like if we committed to spending Ramadan fighting in prayer for the lost of the Muslim world- with fasting and late night prayers that come not from obligation, but from love for the lost and assurance that the God of the universe hears us?

Pray with Us

Take action this Ramadan season by joining our prayer team as we faithfully pray over the course of the holiday. Below are some prayer points that you can join in intercession with today.

Lord, we praise You and thank You that we have been blessed to come to know You as the One and Only, True and Living God. Above You there is no other. Thank You Abba Father for sending Your only begotten Son to die for our sins to be forgiven so that we can enter into Your presence at any time and enjoy a deep and intimate relationship with You while still living in this earthly realm. “Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere” Lord (Psalms 84:10) 

Jesus You died so that all should know You as Lord and Savior, and that none should perish. We lift up the people of the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa as the 2023 Ramadan season is about to begin. Lord have mercy on them as they worship other gods. They have been deceived into believing false teachings that are leading them away from You.

We ask You to honor the fact that many, in their hearts, truly do want to know God and to purify themselves of sin. Draw them to Jesus by the power of Your Spirit Lord; prepare their hearts, even now as we pray, to receive the Good News of the Gospel and open up the eyes of their understanding that they may know the Truth and the Truth will set them free! 

Give them a holy discontent with their current beliefs and lifestyles; may they come to feel these are empty and meaningless and do not satisfy. Give them a hunger and a thirst for You God, and only You!

Holy Spirit have Your way in the hearts and minds of the people of the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa as they observe Ramadan these next few weeks! Visit them in dreams and visions. Stir their hearts in ways that only You can! Give them a new vision we pray!

We know that the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few (Luke 10:2). Lord, we bless and give great thanks for Your laborers in these nations; we ask for a very powerful anointing upon them and that many signs and wonders will be performed in Your Name! Send more workers into the harvest Lord!

Oh that men would praise You Lord! Oh that Jesus You will receive the glorious and bountiful inheritance that You died at Calvary to receive. We love You Lord. Maranatha.

Woman praying. Visual image of the season of Ramadan.

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We believe the Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are inspired by God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct. (2 Timothy 3:15-17, 1 Peter 1:21)

We believe that there is one God, eternally existent who has revealed Himself as embodying the principles of relationship and association as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Deuteronomy 6:4, Luke 3:22)

We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father where He intercedes for us, in His present rule as Head of the Church, and in His personal return in power and glory. (Matthew 1:23, Luke 1:31)

We believe in the creation of mankind in God’s image, and the fall of man, resulting in universal guilt and total depravity; and the necessity, therefore, of redemption and restoration; that all men and women are lost spiritually and face the judgment of God, that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation, and that repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ is necessary for regeneration by the Holy Spirit. (Genesis 1:26-27, Genesis 2:17)

We believe salvation is received through repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, being justified by grace through faith, man becomes an heir of God, according to the hope of eternal life. (Luke 24:47, John 3:3)

We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; the saved unto the resurrection of eternal life in the presence of our Lord, and the lost unto the resurrection of damnation and eternal punishment. (Matthew 25:46, Mark 9:43-48)

We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ and that all true believers are members of His body, the Church, which has the duty to preach the Gospel to every person. (Ephesians 1:22-23, Ephesians 2:22)

We believe that we must dedicate ourselves to prayer, to the service of our Lord, to His authority over our lives, and to the ministry of teaching, preaching, the prophetic, the apostolic, and evangelism. (Ephesians 4:11-13)

We believe in upholding the ordinances of the church of water baptism and holy communion.

The ordinance of baptism by immersion is commanded by the Scriptures. All who repent and believe in Christ as Savior and Lord are to be baptized. Thus, they declare to the world that they have died with Christ and that they also have been raised with Him to walk in newness of life. (Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:16, Acts 10:47,48, Romans 6:4)

The Lord’s Supper, consisting of the elements—bread and the fruit of the vine—, is the symbol expressing our sharing the divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:4), a memorial of His suffering and death (1 Corinthians 11:26), and a prophecy of His second coming (1 Corinthians 11:26), and is enjoined on all believers “till He comes!”