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Ramadan offers Christians challenges - and opportunities
13 June 2017
We are now some halfway through Ramadan - the Muslim month of prayer and fasting. Ramadan is a celebration for Muslims, but for many Christians these days can be a struggle. In some places Christians can experience increased persecution and discrimination, not least because they stand out more during this month.
Yet Ramadan can also present Christians across the Muslim world with some surprising positives. In Pakistan one of our partners describes how Ramadan actually provides a welcome relief for Christian children.
"They are relieved they do not have to be in school for Ramadan," he says. "They are not under the constant pressure of being watched.
"Christian kids in schools here have so little joy. Pray with us!"
'An opportunity to show love'
"While this month is a difficult one for Christians because of the increased discrimination and persecution that usually takes place during this month, it is also a month in which they have the opportunity to show love to their neighbours," says an Open Doors source in Egypt.
In recent years, some churches in Egypt have hosted street 'breakfast' tables offering food to Muslims in their neighbourhoods for the hours when they break their fast. But after dreadful attacks of Christians in Egypt, the authorities have banned this practice in some areas, because of the security risk.
"The security situation could make us passive and scared," writes our source, "but a few days ago, a group of Christians in a southern Egypt city decided to take risks! They thought, if people can't come to our breakfast tables, we will go to them!"
They gathered together 100 boxes, each including basic food items and some toys for young children. They took the boxes to a small remote village and visited the homes of the Muslim villagers one by one, offering them the love gift box.
As well as having friendly conversations, the team were able to pray with the families for healing from sicknesses, for a job to a father or son, and for any other reasons.
Maged* was one of those who helped with the distribution of the boxes. He says: "In one of the homes, the husband said to us: 'You are good people. I don't understand how you come to help us although we are different than you. You show us a love and respect that we don't see from anybody else.' People are every open for prolonged talks. They feel safe with us when we visit their homes". Maged added: "When we go and visit these people and show God's love to them, we feel the heart of Jesus."
'I pray for millions of Muslims'
Also in Egypt, a Christian describes how Ramadan gives him time for prayer.
"The call for sunset prayer announces permission for fasting Muslims to eat and drink after a long fasting day," he writes. "The first hour after the sunset prayer call is always a very quiet hour throughout the country. Streets are nearly empty, there is no public transportation, all shops are closed and every public activity is put on hold until everyone has had their long awaited breakfast.
"I sometimes use this time to go out to our small balcony to enjoy the rare quiet moments of the overpopulated busy capital. This is when I enjoy the evening calm and pray for all the millions of Muslims. I pray that God will hear those who are truly keen to know and serve the true God. I pray that those who have a true desire to reach out to God will find Him reaching out to them through the love of Jesus reflected in the lives of shining Christians throughout the country of Egypt."
Find out more
Find out how you can pray for the Muslim World this Ramadan using the free resource, 30 Days of Prayer. And watch the video below for more about what Christians in Muslim countries can expect during Ramadan.
Source: Open Doors
- That Christians across the Muslim World would be protected from increased hostility this Ramadan
- That this period would also offer opportunities to share the love of God with others.
*Name changed for security reasons