Since the time our family lived and ministered among Muslims in Lebanon, my passion for the Muslim world has never waned—in fact it has intensified. I have traveled all over the world, and preached to many thousands on this topic. But when I have asked how many of my audience have ever prayed for Muslims, few—if any—ever admit they have.
Twenty-eight years ago when I asked that question in Abujan at a meeting of African leadership, an Assemblies of God superintendent fell at my feet afterwards. In African cultural fashion, he began to embrace and kiss my feet to ask forgiveness. He confessed to me that the only prayer he had ever prayed for Muslims was, “God turn their guns on their own heads. Slay them.”
The Holy Spirit got hold of his heart that day. But tragically, his former attitude still prevails in many quarters today.
But is that the way God sees Muslims? Is writing their destruction the only merciful thing He could do? If that were the case, we would all be dead, as we so richly deserve. Yet even terrorists—those you may want to hate, and may feel justified in doing so—even they are His children and He died for them just the same as He died for you and me! Instead of cursing them, declaring them evil and worthy of hell, our hearts should be broken. Broken for the blindness and deception with which Satan has firmly bound them. And as the people of God our prayers should go out day and night: God, open their eyes. God, set them free. Merciful Jesus, reveal yourself to them!
A New Vision
In part 1, I spoke of the lack of vision and the apathy that has for so long run deep in the Church towards Muslims. Yet that is changing, and I have never been more excited or encouraged than I am right now.
Three decades ago, a good friend named Dave Irwin, who shared my vision for reaching Muslims, began a movement within the Assemblies of God then called Center for Ministry to Muslims. Today, it has grown into a worldwide organization that trains people in the nuances of reaching and ministering to Muslims.
Knowing that Muslims fast every Friday at prayer time, we wondered what would happen if Christians would fast Fridays at noon and use that time to pray for the Muslim world. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of people worldwide in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the U.S.A. who during their noon time pray for Muslims. It is called the Jumaa Prayer Fellowship, and in this day and age of technology it has never been easier to get involved.
I recently heard about a Muslim sheik in Saudi Arabia who accepted Christ. His fellow Imams heard about his conversion and went to his house to take his life. But when they arrived, the Lord Himself was standing there in front of the house with His hands outstretched. Those who came to murder fell at the feet of Jesus and they accepted Christ! I challenge you to pray for even the persecutors—that miracles would happen in their midst, as they are every day.
I asked another Muslim-turned-Christian what request I could take back to the American Church to cover in prayer. He said, “First of all ask them to love. Ask them to love Arabs and Jews.” Now that’s a Christian!
When was the last time you prayed for a terrorist? Even those who are blinded by Satan, along with their evil organizations? Even for them, may we intercede and pray with a confidence. The God who took a religious, but murdering and hateful Saul of Tarsus and transformed him into the greatest apostle of all still has the power to reach out, to reach down, and to touch anybody—anywhere and at any time—with power to transform and to change and to make them shining lights in the midst of darkness.
God proclaims that His Gospel will go into the entire world, to every creature, in every language, among every people group. It is not only possible that the Muslim world is going to be reached; it is inevitable. God will not return until His Gospel has been presented to all. When I read the story of Pentecost, I am convinced it wasn’t accidental that Arabian was the last people group on the list. I believe it is significant, and have long felt that the last great spiritual movement the world is going to see will be within the Islamic world.
May it be, and may we be blessed to play a part in ushering Muslims into the Kingdom of the true God.