Evangelism to Muslims: Prayer
Prayer is the biggest block and the foundation for working with any people group. To neglect this block is to take away your foundation and ignore what God wants to do in the lives of the people with whom you work. Jesus says in Luke 10, “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Jesus reminds his hearers that there is a harvest. In the time I have worked with Muslims—more than 22 years—I have been reminded over and over again that the Lord is calling out his own from among the most forgotten people groups all over the world, including people from the hardest Islamic sects and restricted-access nations. It’s noteworthy that Jesus does not ask us to pray for people in need of the gospel. Rather, he directs us to pray for more workers.
God is working in Muslim lives. We pray that God will call and send thousands more into the harvest fields of Islamic lands and even places like the U.S. and Europe, where refugees from countries where we have little to no access are coming to us. If God has placed a Muslim in your life, you have a responsibility to share the gospel with him or her. You are an answer to the prayer for laborers. It’s important to understand that prayer, as one of the five pillars of Islam, is also important to the Muslim. If a Muslim practices these five pillars—confession, daily prayers, almsgiving, Ramadan and the pilgrimage to Mecca—perfectly, he could possibly earn his way to heaven. Muslims recite a ritual prayer five times a day, facing Mecca. This prayer is called the “salah.” Many believe that is the extent of their prayers, but Muslims also pray throughout their day with supplications known as the “dua.” When praying the “dua,” Muslims hold their hands open in front of the chest, raise their eyes to heaven and make petition and praise to Allah. These prayers are offered anytime, anywhere.
Often, after eating in our Muslim friends’ homes, our friends would offer the “dua.” When we had Muslim friends in our home, we would do the same. Praying with a Muslim (offering the “dua,” not the “salah”) is one of the great acts you can perform with your Muslim friend. Offering to pray for them and to pray with them distinguishes you from other westerners and helps them understand that you’re a person of prayer who knows God.
When you pray with a Muslim, though, always close your prayer with “in the name of Jesus. ”When you pray in the name of Jesus (John 14:13-14), you pray with power, and you pray in a way that is distinctly Christian.