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As Eid celebrations draw Ramadan to a close around the world (at different times, depending on how the local mosque follows the moon) many will be reflecting on what this month has taught them.
For many devout Muslims, Ramadan is a special time of focusing on faith and family, of making the effort to prioritize piety, charity and discipline. Around the world, Muslim families have gathered daily to break the fast with friends and neighbors. In Douma, Syria, we have seen pictures of long tables lining the street as residents celebrate together during an uncertain ceasefire.
In Mosul, Iraq, some citizens celebrated their first Eid in several years not under the rule of ISIS which allowed prayers but not festivities. Many Muslim refugees were celebrating their first Eid in a new home country, overshadowed, perhaps, by the loss of loved ones in the effort to escape.
Unfortunately, for those who have pursued an extremist view of Islam, Ramadan is a time to pursue a different agenda – that of violence and fear. Although terrorism is publicly denounced by the majority of Muslim religious leaders and the vast majority of Muslims, extremist propaganda wins over vulnerable people in too many places, devastating families and threatening communities. The fight against terrorism continues on many fronts, as you will have read about in this year’s 30 Days Prayer Guide.
As a follower of Christ, praying through the 30 Days guide, what will you take from this time? Some of our readers have told us how prayer has changed their heart towards Muslims, increased their understanding of the diversity that exists within the Muslim world and helped them empathize with the challenges faced by Muslim families. It is our calling as Christians to see others as God sees them, and not only to pray, but to live towards them as He does.
Some readers have expressed concerns that our emphasis at 30 Days on loving Muslims indicates a tolerance for evil that is done in the name of Islam. Nothing could be further from the truth! Terrorism and extremism destroy more Muslims than Christians and it is for us to stand against it with our Muslim friends and neighbors in the effort to establish peace. Love, as Christ commands it, is no passive feeling but rather a proactive pursuit of all that represents the Kingdom of God. Let us, as members of that Kingdom, be determined to pursue that Kingdom which is ruled by peace and characterized by love.
+ When you hear of violence or injustice involving Muslims on the news, stop to pray for the men and women who are caught up in it – both those who cause it and those who are victims of it.
+ Pray that God will lead you to Muslim individuals who you can love in Jesus name.
+ Pray for fellow Christians to resist the temptation to exchange hatred for hatred, hostility for hostility. Ask God to give you His love for Muslims.
We hope you will join 30 Days next year when we hope to introduce new ways of accessing the prayers! Stay connected with our Facebook page for ongoing news and prayer requests.
And thank you for praying!
The 30 Days Team