It happened during Ramadan. Fatima suddenly had a vision of Jesus. She has never forgotten how lovingly He looked at her and said, “Come, follow me!” Never before had she experienced such a deep sense of peace. Secretly she began to do some research—and thus the young woman from a strict Muslim family in Saudi Arabia discovered that she was not the only one who had experienced transformation. In fact, she found that there were even Saudis who unashamedly appeared on television as Christians.
Change is taking place in countries across the Middle East. Increasingly, people are put off by extremism and do not want to have anything to do with oppressive expressions of religion. They long to know God, and through Christian media, dreams or visions they find Jesus, and even in the face of intimidation and death threats they dare to follow Him.
But following Jesus is not always met with immediate acceptance in existing Christian circles. Just like the apostle Paul: “When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple.” (Acts 9:26) Security concerns in nations that do not have freedom of religion, fear, and mutual lack of trust raise the question whether it’s more effective to enfold Muslim-background believers (MBBs) into existing churches or whether they should be encouraged to plant and develop their own churches.
WAYS TO PRAY
- Pray for established churches to value MBBs and welcome and enfold them into their fellowships
- Pray for MBBs to connect with mature Christians and to grow as followers of Jesus.
- Pray for new churches and initiatives to emerge that effectively enfold and equip Christians from various backgrounds and offer them a shared sense of family.