Feb 1: To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better
than the fat of rams. – 1 Samuel 15:22 Most religions
in the world utilize sacrifices as a manner of appeasement.
For followers of Christ, Jesus Himself was the perfect, therefore
final, sacrifice. Even the Old Testament prophets spoke of
honoring, obeying and heeding God as being more acceptable
than the sacrifice of the fat of rams or goats or pigeons.
Pray for MNKs to desire to please God with their hearts and
lives over their sacrifices and self-denial.
Wed, Feb 2: The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the
other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak,
for your servant is listening.” – 1 Samuel 3:10
Tonight’s radio lesson, #47, is entitled Samuel. Thus
begins Part Two of the Way of Righteousness radio series: The
Psalms and the Prophets. MNKs know about the prophets and the
Qu’ran quotes portions of the Psalms. But the stories
in the Qu’ran about the prophets are incomplete and not
consistent with the Scripture. Pray for MNKs to grasp the truth
about the prophets, especially God’s personal calling
on an individual’s life.
Thu, Feb 3: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting
Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6 These verses, penned
by the prophet Isaiah 700 years before the birth of Christ,
herald the promised Messiah. For MNKs the idea that God could
or would have a son is unfathomable. That would mean one of
two things. Either God had a child out of wedlock or He took
a human wife. Pray for MNKs as they hear about Jesus, the only
Son of God, to listen with minds that will accept God’s
fulfillment of the promised Messiah.
Fri, Feb 4: My knees give way from fasting; my body is thin
and gaunt. – Psalm109:24 Muslims worldwide observe a
month of fasting, known as Ramadan. From sunup to sundown,
they consume neither drink nor food. The MNK cannot completely
explain why they perform this ritual, except to say how difficult
it is, how it is obligatory, and how their salvation depends
upon it. Still, for the devout, their knees certainly do give
way and by the end, their bodies are indeed thin and gaunt.
But then comes the feast day. Pray for MNKs as they consider
how they “celebrate” the month long fast; pray
for Christians who fast throughout the year to be steadfast
and always prepared to give an answer for the hope that you
have (1 Peter 3:15).
Sat, Feb 5: On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise
him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before
he had been conceived. – Luke 2:21 A naming ceremony
is the first big event in the life of every MNK child. On the
7th day, as the Islamic prayer leader announces the child’s
name, the baby’s head is shaved clean. This demonstrates
their first act of submission, albeit unavoidable. To a Muslim,
submission and being a servant of God is everything. Pray for
MNK believers, as they have children, to find culturally appropriate
ways to celebrate the birth and subsequent dedication of the
child to God.
Sun, Feb 6: On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in
Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples
had also been invited to the wedding. – John 2:1-2 An
MNK wedding, to the uninformed eye, looks like any other MNK
party. Lots of people; lots of food; lots of music; lots of
very nice clothes. The focus is on the party, not the wedding
ceremony, which may or may not include the bride at all. Yet,
the party, her “coming out” is a significant event
in an MNK woman’s life. Who is invited is noteworthy.
Pray for MNK believers, as they find believing spouses, to
make certain the first guest invited to their wedding, and
all subsequent events in their lives, is Jesus Christ, the
Mon, Feb 7: “Why do you look for the living among the
dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you?” – Luke
24:5-6 Luke records these words of the angel who spoke to the
women at Jesus’ tomb that Sunday morning...why do you
look for the living among the dead? This is the crux of Easter!
Yet MNKs are not oblivious to the secularization of this holiday...Easter
eggs, Easter bunnies and Easter baskets. Try to explain THAT
one! Pray for those of us who live and work among the MNK to
remain focused on the foundation of Easter: the death, burial
and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Tue, Feb 8: When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for
they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street
corners to be seen by men. – Matthew 6:5 The neighborhood
is excitedly preparing for tonight’s all-night Qur’anic
readings. An important Islamic teacher from far away is coming;
the men will kill a sheep in his honor and the women will cook
a wonderful meal. The teacher will sit there all night, along
with all the men of the neighborhood, listening as his pupils
recite the Qu’ran; he will correct them and of course,
he will recite large portions of the Qu’ran in Arabic.
He will be paid an exorbitant fee for his presence at this
event. In the morning, everyone will say how wonderful it was
and how God must have been honored at the recitation of the
Qu’ran. How very sad, though, that only one or two persons
were able to understand the words spoken. Pray for MNK hearts
to desire to not just recite words in Arabic, but to know the
heart of God through the hearing of His word in a language
Wed, Feb 9: Samuel replied to Saul, “Because you have
rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.” – 1
Samuel 15:23 Tonight’s radio lesson, #48, is entitled
Samuel and David. This is a difficult lesson because it teaches
how God moved His spirit from Saul to David because of Saul’s
disobedience. It is one thing to think about this as just a
story of men who lived 3,000 years ago. It is another to consider
how God deals with disobedience. MNKs spend their entire lives
trying to please God through their own efforts. Pray for MNKs
to desire to please God through a clean heart, living in His
Thu, Feb 10: On coming to the house, they saw the child with
his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then
they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of
gold and of incense and of myrrh. – Matthew 2:11 A common
question around Christmas time by MNKs is, “Where is
my Christmas?” In other words, “your tradition
is to give gifts at this holiday, so where is mine?” As
Christians, the mandate is ours to ensure our cultural traditions
do not in any way water down the truth contained in this verse...that
the wise men worshiped him and gave him gifts. They weren’t
looking for a gift in return. Pray for those who work among
the MNK to reflect all year long the tremendous gift given
to us by God on Christmas – the gift of Jesus, the Messiah.
Fri, Feb 11: God said to Abraham, “Every male among you
shall be circumcised.” – Genesis 17:10 MNKs practice
circumcision, but the physical act is actually secondary to
the teachings which follow. Every MNK child participates in
this ritual, living in the bush for up to a month, learning
songs that teach them what it is to be an MNK. They learn how
to behave towards elders, members of the opposite sex, those
of the same age, as well as those younger. A huge celebration
accompanies the boys’ return from the bush. The Islamic
elders are there, offering prayers on behalf of these new young
MNK men, and the women are there dancing and singing. It is
difficult to separate the culture here from religion, so MNKs
just blend the two and accept it as truly Islamic. Pray for
MNK men and women to desire to know the foundation of their
religion; pray for them to come to know the truth of God.
Sat, Feb 12: Jesus said, “For where your treasure is,
there you heart will be also.” – Luke 12:34 Gambling
is explicitly prohibited in the Qu’ran, and MNKs, like
so many others, are being swayed by the ways of the world.
Nearly every place an MNK resides in the world has a lottery
system of one kind or another. Prior to major Islamic holidays,
raffles and the like abound. While not “gambling” by
definition, MNKs are nevertheless tempted to use specific products
or services in the hopes that they might win the Tabaski ram
or the Ramadan foods. They understand all too well the costs
incurred in making the required sacrifices. Pray for MNKs to
discover what the true treasure is and desire to follow that
Sun, Feb 13: Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death,
is your sting? Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through
our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 15:55,56 MNK Islamic
funerals are bleak and painful gatherings. Wailing, uncontrolled
thrashing, and abject hopelessness are just a few of the emotions
manifested. How can a follower of Jesus bring any sense of
comfort into that situation? Pray for those of us who live
and work among the MNK to find constructive and appropriate
ways to share the hope that is found in a personal relationship
with Jesus Christ, while at the same time sharing the pain
of this death.
Mon, Feb 14: The angel said to the women, “Do not be
afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was
crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come
and see the place where he lay.” – Matthew 28:5-6
As Christians worldwide prepare for Easter, MNKs struggle with
the concept of a risen Savior. Yet how many believers also
wrestle with the fact of a bodily resurrection, three days
post death?! Part of sharing Christ with MNKs is being absolutely
certain of what we believe...things we can prove and things
we hold based on faith. Islam is not a faith-based religion.
Pray for MNKs as they hear of the life, death, burial and resurrection
of Jesus Christ to accept that God may choose to work outside
the boundaries comprehensible by the human mind.
Tue, Feb 15: Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your
God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all
your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All
the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. – Matthew
22:37-40 New Year’s Eve and Day are well publicized within
MNK society. Worldwide celebrations are broadcast through television
programming and radio stations have the standard “Best
of...” programs, stories, and songs. Fireworks are found
in the MNK world from before Christmas until after New Year’s.
This is the Islamic year 1426. Instead of singing Auld Ang
Sine, MNKs speak to everyone in their family, their friends
and their neighbors saying, “Forgive my sins against
you.” This is the only way an MNK believes he can receive
God’s forgiveness for sins committed against another
person...if the person wronged forgives first. Pray for MNKs
to seek forgiveness from the only one who is able to completely
forgive and forget.
Wed, Feb 16: But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider
his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The
Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at
the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” – 1
Samuel 16:7 Tonight’s radio lesson, #49, is entitled
David and Goliath. The recounting of David and Goliath is found
in the Qu’ran, but it is not as complete as in Scripture.
David’s desire to please God, his desire to know God,
and his imperfect humanity are explicitly detailed in Scripture.
MNKs find this interesting, that the Bible discusses all aspects
of man’s nature as he attempts to relate to the God of
Creation. Pray for MNKs to catch something of David’s
faith as he walked with God into the battlefield against Goliath.
Thu, Feb 17: Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert
to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty
nights, he was hungry. – Matthew 4:1-2 MNKs are want
to ask, “When is the Christian fast?” A number
of Catholics in West Africa keep fast during Lent. Some fast
as the MNK Muslim fasts, sunup to sundown. Others fast day
in and day out, consuming only water. Others allow themselves
to drink water during the day and eat only at night. They will
keep this fast for the 40 day period from Ash Wednesday until
Easter Sunday. Still, it is ritualistic at best. MNK Muslims
need to see men and women of God fasting and seeking the face
of God, on a regular basis. Pray for those of us who work among
the MNK to fast in a manner not only honoring to God, but exemplary
Fri, Feb 18: Elizabeth exclaimed to Mary, “Blessed are
you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!” – Luke
1:42 Mary is highly revered in Catholicism, considered holy.
It is not uncommon, especially at Christmas, for Catholics
to voice prayers in her name. This causes MNKs confusion as
they understand Mary to be the third person of the Trinity.
At the celebration of the birth of Christ, of course Jesus’ mother
plays a prominent role. Pray for MNKs to have opportunities
to hear, experience and study the Word of God so they can understand
for themselves the Way of Righteousness.
Sat, Feb 19: Jesus replied, “This kind can come out only
by prayer.” – Mark 9:29 Prayer feigns to be paramount
in the lives of MNK Muslims. All good Muslims pray five times
every day, as well as attend Friday prayers at 2:00 PM at the
local mosque. Entire city streets are blocked off as men stand
shoulder to shoulder reciting the obligatory rote prayers.
This is prayer to the MNK Muslim. So-called Islamic prayer
days are little more than expanded Fridays. Prayer to the believer
is not only speaking to, but listening to God, personal communion
with the God of the Universe. Pray for MNKs to desire to listen
to and speak with the God of all Creation; pray for followers
of Jesus to be living examples of this kind of personal communication.
Sun, Feb 20: Jesus said, “She has done a beautiful thing
to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can
help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.
She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand
to prepare for my burial.” – Mark 14:6-8 Burial
rituals are very specific for Jews, as they are for MNK Muslims.
When someone dies, a specific person is called to perform ritual
cleansing and preparations of the body. Specific words are
whispered into the ears of the dead person, and others are
spoken over the body as it is laid on its back in a grave,
head to the north, feet to the south, face turned towards Mecca
(east). Pray that MNKs will desire for their hearts and souls
to be prepared to meet God face to face, rather than worry
about the position of the corpse; pray they will allow the
dead to bury the dead.
Mon, Feb 21: When the centurion and those with him who were
guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened,
they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the
Son of God!” – Matthew 27:54 Jesus’ death
on the cross was an incredible occurrence! Scripture records
that even the Roman guards were convinced that Jesus was indeed
the Son of God. MNKs, however, deny this; they deny Jesus died
on the cross, and they certainly deny that He was resurrected.
Pray for those of us who live and work among the MNK to teach
the truth of Scripture, no matter how difficult it is for our
human minds to conceive; pray that our faith in the Son of
God will grow.
Tue, Feb 22: When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites
do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. – Matthew
6:16 MNKs hold the Islamic fast month of Ramadan. That is the
only time 99% of MNKs will fast. With no obligatory fast time,
MNKs often ask followers of Jesus, “Don’t you fast?” Scripture
gives us a clear directive; Jesus said, “When you fast...”,
not “if”. Scripture does not, however, specify
how or when to fast, or for how long. Consequently most followers
of Jesus neglect this command. Pray for MNK believers to desire
to fast, partly as an example of their faith, but mostly as
a true desire to know God more intimately.
Wed, Feb 23: The Lord promised David, “Your house and
your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will
be established forever.” – 2 Samuel 7:16 Tonight’s
lesson, #50, is entitled King David and God’s Promise.
The story asks MNKs these questions: What was God’s promise
to David? Do you know who among David’s descendants was
given the authority to establish an eternal government? Then
it answers: It was the Redeemer, born of a virgin, a virgin
who belonged to the descendants of David. Pray for MNKs as
they listen to this story to allow God’s spirit to place
new ideas into their minds, thoughts established by the Word
Thu, Feb 24: My lover is mine and I am his. – Song of
Songs 2:16 When followers of Jesus marry, their marriage must
reflect the presence of God in their union. Their commitment
to remain faithful to one another and to remain together regardless
of what comes their way presents a picture of Jesus’ faithfulness
to those who follow Him. The shared security is often looked
at enviously by MNKs who do not have this assurance in their
marriages. Pray for MNKs to desire to know the difference in
a Christian marriage and a Muslim marriage.
Fri, Feb 25: Then Jesus returned to his disciples, and found
them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me
for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into
temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” – Matthew
26:40-41 All night recitations of the Qu’ran are common
among the MNK. Loud speakers are set up and multiple persons
will either chant or sing the Qu’ran until dawn. The
belief is the power is in the spoken words of the book, not
the understanding of the words. Pray for followers of Christ
to desire to pray fervently for the salvation of the MNK, to
the point of praying all night, denying self; pray for our
spirits and bodies to be willing!
Sat, Feb 26: As Mohammed’s birthday approaches, local
television stations often air a film about the Prophet’s
life. As it is against Islamic law to portray the prophet in
any physical sense, the film was made as though looking through
his eyes. As MNKs view it, they begin to believe they are seeing
what Mohammed saw, what he did, what he felt, etc. A film based
on the book of Luke called Jesus, which covers the birth, life,
death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus has been translated
into thousands of languages, including MNK. Pray that opportunities
to show the film will be multiple and that it will be seen
as a visual form of Scripture; pray that local television stations
will broadcast the film free of charge.
Sun, Feb 27: Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the
Feast of the Passover. – Luke 2:41 Male Jews were required
to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem three times every year
for the great festivals. Many Catholics desire to make a trek
to Rome at least once in their lives. MNK Muslims are required
to make a pilgrimage, the hajj, but only once in a lifetime,
to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Upon returning from the hajj, the pilgrim “shall
return as pure from sin as the day on which he was born...the
reward of a pilgrimage is paradise...when you see a pilgrim,
salute and embrace him, and request him to ask pardon of God
for you, for his own sins have been forgiven and his supplications
will be accepted.” (Dictionary of Islam, page 158). Great
celebrations surround the return of pilgrims. Being blessed
by a pilgrim is tantamount to being blessed by God. Pray for
MNK Muslims to understand that the only pilgrimage God desires
is our daily encounter with Him, our daily trek to His throne
Mon, Feb 28: This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: Atonement
is to be made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites. – Leviticus
16:34 The celebration of Tabaski comes once every year, just
as the Day of Atonement for the Jews. And just like the Jews,
MNKs hold Tabaski as the day that will ensure their salvation,
if assurance is possible through an imperfect sacrifice. Do
Christians have a Day of Atonement? Pray for MNKs as Easter
approaches to see that God’s promise of atonement has
come through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.