How You Can Pray for Muslims During Ramadan
Think about it: What you be willing to do to get into heaven, if it all depended on you? I mean, seriously, would there be any sacrifice too great in a lifetime of seventy to eighty years to earn an eternity of bliss?
I grew up in a country where almost everyone fasted for one month each year. From the time in the morning when you could begin to tell the difference between a white thread and a black thread in the dawn light, until the time you could no longer tell the difference at twilight, Muslim people would neither eat nor drink. If they were being really good Muslims, they would not even swallow their own saliva.
Why Is Ramadan Important to Muslims?
Why would they do that? Imagine fasting from 4:30 in the morning until 8:30 at night; still going to work, but with no food or drink all day long in the hot summer. Why?
Again, we would do just about anything to get into heaven, right? No price is too high to pay. And that is the core reason why Muslims will endure long fasts during Ramadan. Muslims essentially believe that if their good works outweigh their bad works on the Day of Judgment, they’ll get into heaven. What do they believe is one of the best ways to accumulate good works during this life? By observing the monthly fast of Ramadan every year.
Occurring during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan’s specific start varies each year. The first night of Ramadan fluctuates as it always falls on the day when the new moon is first observed over Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Then, during the subsequent month, Muslims all over the world do not eat or drink during daylight hours, having a pre-dawn meal called a sehri and an evening meal called iftar.
From personal experience, I can attest to two things: (1) Most Muslims are sincerely religious people who know the value of heaven and (2) fasting from food and drink all day for twenty-nine days in a row is hard. That is why I learned while living in Pakistan, that you would not want to be on the road around sunset during Ramadan, as drivers would get increasingly eager to get home or to a restaurant to break the fast!
By comparison, the Christian faith seems so easy. As Christians, we believe that heaven is a gift. We believe that grace is free—that’s what makes it grace. It does seem easy. . .except it’s not. As followers of Christ, we must give up our very lives to follow Jesus. It’s something that Jesus himself made very clear:
“Then Jesus told His disciples, ‘If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me’” (Matt. 16:24).
But once we take up our cross and follow Jesus, the gift of eternal life is free.
Why Pray for Muslims During Ramadan?
Why should we pray for our Muslim friends and neighbors? And why should we especially pray for Muslims during Ramadan? The answer is because the month of Ramadan is a time when Muslims are particularly open to seeking God. Fasting, for the thinking Muslim, is not just about not eating and drinking. It’s about denying physical needs and pleasures so that they can purify themselves and focus on spiritual matters. Muslims sincerely want to draw nearer to God during the important month of Ramadan. What better time to share the love of God and the free grace of salvation in Jesus with those who are striving so hard to earn their own way into heaven?
How to Pray for Muslims During Ramadan
I hope this article has given you some insight into why Ramadan is so important to Muslims and how it can be an excellent time to pray for and witness to those who are Muslim. As we approach Ramadan, I encourage you to focus your prayers on the 1.8 billion Muslims around the world.
One great way to put this into practice is by utilizing the 30 Days of Prayer Guide. You can purchase a physical copy online or utilize the digital resources starting on April 2 (the first day of Ramadan). For those of you who attend College Park Church, we will have physical booklets available for free. I encourage you to pick up a copy of the Ramadan Prayer Guide. The guide is designed to shed additional light on the thinking and practices of Muslims and help you pray more knowledgeably for them during this whole month. Then, be ready to share your own faith and the joy of your salvation in Jesus at the right time!