To understand what Ramadan is we have to start with the five pillars of Islam. These are the five essential practices observed by faithful Muslims around the world that have been practiced in the same way for over a thousand years. Essentially, the more faithful a Muslim is in keeping these practices, the better chance they will have of entering paradise. The pillars are the confession that “there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet”, ritual prayers performed five times a day, fasting during Ramadan, the giving of alms to the poor, and a pilgrimage to Mecca.
Ramadan, the third pillar, is the name of the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is a month set aside for daily fasting. This year Ramadan is from June 28-July 28. During Ramadan, Muslims are not allowed to touch food or water from sunup to sundown. All Muslims are expected to observe this month and the most devout Muslims will not even swallow their saliva so as to keep the fast pure. As soon as the sun sets each day during the fast, food is prepared for a feast to end each day. Ramadan is the greatest expression of faith for a Muslim and they are very proud of this expression. For them it is a great distinction and sign of superiority from all other religions of the world. It is all done for potentially earning a place in paradise.
How can we pray for Muslims during Ramadan? One way to pray, as Muslims around the world right now are seeking God through praying and fasting, is that he would reveal himself to them. Muslims genuinely want to do what is pleasing to God. Pray that they will see that there is nothing they can do to please God apart from the redeeming blood of Christ. Another way is to pray for relationships. For Muslims, Ramadan is all about relationships. The daily breaking of fast is a huge celebration with friends and family. Often times Christians are invited to these celebrations. Pray that missionaries and believers in Muslim contexts would have opportunities to share the hope of the gospel with Muslims they have relationships with. Pray that God would do a mighty work in drawing these people to himself during the month of Ramadan.
In Christ, Nathan