Tue, 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 Messiah.
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 they understand.
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 Holy presence.
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 unabashedly.
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 to MNKs.
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 of God.
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 of grace.
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.