What is Ramadan?
The Ramadan season, May 15 through June 14 this year, is fast approaching. It is a special time for Muslims around the world to fast (during daylight hours) and pray. During this time, even the most nominal Muslims focus on their spirituality. Missionaries working among Muslims debate about whether or not Ramadan is a good or bad time to share the gospel with Muslims. Some believe Muslims are edgy and non-receptive when fasting, others point out the benefits of engaging Muslims when their minds are focused on their spirituality.
Why Should Christians Care about Ramadan?
Two days ago, I knocked on the door of a Pakistani Muslim living in SW Houston. We had a discussion on the reliability of the Injil (the Gospels). He quickly concluded that the Gospel of Luke I placed into his hand had not been changed or corrupted as most Muslims argue. I asked him if he would read it. He replied, “Ramadan is a time we Muslims think on spiritual matters. The Injil is one of our holy books, so, yes, I will definitely read and reflect on this holy book.” He also said that he must investigate and research spiritual books because of his age (67).
From sunrise to sunset during Ramadan, Muslims should think about and pray to the God of Abraham. At sunset, they break their fast with a snack called, Iftar. This is not a full meal. Rather, it is just enough food to satisfy their hunger pain. Later in the evening and throughout the night, larger meals are served.
The night of the 27th day of Ramadan (Sunday, June 10th this year) is called, the Night of Power. Many Muslims stay awake to pray throughout the night, because they believe angels are especially attentive in hearing and submitting their prayers to God. Missionaries traditionally use the Night of Power as a time to pray for Muslims to have “Jesus dreams.”
How to share the gospel this Ramadan
Begin with prayer. Not only should we pray that God would work in the hearts of our Muslim neighbors but also that God would send laborers to share the Good News (Luke 10:2). The 30 Days of Prayer booklet is an excellent resource to help pray for Muslims around the world. Internet programs such as Bless Every Home (free) or Pray for Every Home (free) gives the names of people in your neighborhood. As you come across Muslim names in these programs, pray for them. Muslim homes in Houston can be typically identified by prayer beads hanging from the rearview mirror or Arabic writing over their front door.
Just get out and share. Unlike many people in the US, Muslims in Houston love to talk about God and religious matters, even with strangers. As long as your words communicate respect, they will listen. Based on the overwhelming reports from present-day missionaries, this is the best time in history to share the gospel with Muslims. More Muslims have come to faith in Christ in the last 2 decades than all of Islamic history combined. Missionaries report incredible numbers of Muslims open to hearing and responding to the gospel.
Begin a conversation, acknowledging a Muslim’s dedication to prayer and fasting. Ask, “What special activities or traditions does your family do during Ramadan?” So that you can pray specifically for them, ask if their family has any special needs they have related to health, education, or employment.
Make Iftar snack packets and offer them to Muslims for when they break fast at sundown. Offering a snack touches the heart of a Muslim; your kindness communicates your respect for them and will earn you the opportunity to engage them in conversation.
Bring up the topic of the Injil (Gospels). As a shared holy book, the Gospels provide a great bridge to sharing the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Work on pronouncing the Arabic word, “Injil” (in-jeel). Ask your Muslim friend if he or she knows the English meaning of the word “Injil.” Most Muslims do not know the answer, so you can tell them that the word means “gospel” or “good news.” Muslims respect the Injil and claim that a person cannot be a true Muslim if they do not believe in the Injil.
Tell your Muslim friend that you have read the Injil and discovered that when we die, we will stand before God on Judgment Day. On that day, we will receive either good news or bad news. If a person wants to receive good news on the Day of Judgment, they should read the Injil. Since the majority of Muslims in Houston read and understand English, offer your Muslim friend an English Bible and point to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, making them aware that these books represent the Injil.
Point out that the good news found in the gospels is summed up in one verse, Romans 6:23, which demonstrates that God placed our punishment of sin on Jesus. Since Muslims continue the practice of sacrificing an animal every year, tell them that God made the last and final sacrifice for us. If God arranges and performs a sacrifice for us, then we can have confidence that our punishment of hell is paid for and cleared. The good news becomes yours if you believe the story of the Injil.
Are You Ready?
Although any time is the best time to share the gospel with Muslims, Ramadan provides a unique opportunity to demonstrate love and respect to Muslims. Because their minds are especially attentive to spiritual matters during Ramadan, we should offer them a loving presentation of the gospel. Since 2016, the Global Gates team of missionaries working in Houston has shared the gospel with more than 2500 Muslims. Of them, 34 have responded with faith in Jesus as the only way to Heaven.
Since the year 2000, there have been more than 69 documented large-scale movements of Muslims leaving Islam and becoming followers of Jesus. These movements are defined as 1000 or more baptisms in a specific geographic location. Global Gates director, David Garrison, in his book, A Wind in the House of Islam, points out that before the year 2000, only 13 movements of Muslims becoming Christians occurred in the 1400 years of Islamic history.
Muslims are more responsive to the gospel today than any time in history. Are we giving them something to respond to?
Kevin Greeson, Texas Hub Leader for Global Gates.
Interested in knowing more about joining the Global Gates Houston team or how Global Gates missionaries can equip your church for engaging Muslims? Contact Kevin at firstname.lastname@example.org.