Sat, Jan 1: Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” Peter replied, “Surely not, Lord! I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” The voice said to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” – Acts 10:13-15 I do not want to eat pork. MNKs, as all good Muslims, are taught from childhood to abhor pork. They may tolerate the presence of pigs in towns where Catholics (who “eat pig and drink alcohol”) reside, but given the opportunity, they chuck rocks or other projectiles at them with great abandon. There is a wide-spread perception among MNKs that eating pork is a requirement of Christianity because some in the Christian community use it as a litmus test of sincerity of the believer. Pray for MNKs to see that it isn’t any particular food that spoils our relationship with God; rather it is what we do with our minds and hearts.
Sun, Jan 2: Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise. – Proverbs 20:1 I do not want to drink alcohol. Within the worldwide Christian community, there is much debate over the consumption of alcohol. As with the pork issue, some Christians who live and work among the MNK want believers to drink wine to “prove” themselves; some denominations insist on serving wine at communion. MNK elders especially dislike the changes they see in their young people who frequent the bars and discos. Pray for MNKs to see that anything, including alcohol, which brings sin into your life is not of God.
Mon, Jan 3: The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” – Genesis 2:18 I don’t want my wife’s parents to take her away from me. This is a common practice among all the tribes in this part of the world. If a Muslim becomes a believer, his wife’s family can come and remove his wife from his home. After all, he purchased her as a Muslim, in the Muslim way, and is now breaking that contract; leaving Islam leaves his wife with no guarantor for heaven. Pray for MNK men to be able to withstand the pressure that comes from their wives’ families; pray for God’s strength and joy to be sufficient in their lives.
Tue, Jan 4: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. – Ephesians 5:25 I don’t want my husband to divorce me. The whole concept of a husband loving his wife selflessly is foreign to MNK marriages. Women have very little to say in the matter of who they marry, as marriages are arranged between her parents and the man. The wife has specific responsibilities in MNK society: cook, clean, be respectful, and bear many children. She stands to loose everything if she leaves Islam. Even her own father might refuse to take her in. Pray for MNK women to be open to the moving of the Holy Spirit in their lives and courageous enough to act upon His prompting; pray that MNK women will desire to know the God of Love.
Wed, Jan 5: Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among the Israelites; they bit the people and many died. Then Moses prayed for the people. The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” – Numbers 21:6,8 Tonight’s radio lesson, #43, is entitled The Bronze Snake. As MNKs listen to this lesson, they may believe the power to save the Israelites was in the snake, rather than in God’s promise. Pray for MNKs to hear clearly the words of this lesson, understanding that it is the poison of sin which keeps them separated from God, a poison healed if only they will look to Him.
Thu, Jan 6: Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. – Colossians 3:19 I don’t want my husband to beat me. In Islamic MNK society, beating a wife is permissible if she refuses to do what she is told by her husband or an elder. While on the face of things MNKs appear to live in harmony with one another, frustration, anger, bitterness, and jealousy lie just below the surface. It doesn’t take much for these emotions to emerge. The sheer embarrassment a man would endure if his wife left Islam would be enough to justify a serious beating. How can faith in Christ be worth that? Pray for MNK women to desire Christ and His love over the relative physical comfort of living in harmony with Muslim family members.
Fri, Jan 7: Jesus said, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” – Matthew 8:20 I do not want to be kicked out of my compound. If a man owns his own compound, he is less likely to be driven from it than a man who rents a room. Great community pressure is brought to bear on landlords to evict Muslims who convert. This is the case for many MNK young men who come to the city to look for work and find Christ instead. There is no civil liberties court among the MNK. Pray for MNK men to be able to truly trust the Son of Man who Himself had no place to rest His head.
Sat, Jan 8: Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. – Psalm 127:3 I don’t want my children taken away from me. In MNK society, children belong to the husband. He decides, among other things, what they are taught, where they will live, and who they will marry. If a Mandinka woman becomes a follower of Jesus, she stands to loose everything...her home, her husband, her children, everything. Yet if she remains in Islam, she will also loose her soul. Pray for MNK women to help one another with these difficult decisions.
Sun, Jan 9: Jesus said, “Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.” – Luke 12:33 I don’t want to loose my business customers. MNK businessmen depend upon their neighbors and friends to frequent their shops and businesses. A craftsman testified that, since becoming a follower of Jesus, many old customers now direct their work elsewhere. This is not uncommon, and in an Islamic community, such actions make life very difficult. Pray for believing MNK businessmen and craftsmen as they stand firm in their community and demonstrate how God takes care of His faithful.
Mon, Jan 10: And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus – Philippians 4:19 I want my father to continue paying for my education. One piece of leverage a father has to show his displeasure with an offspring leaving Islam is to cut off all support. Often this means suspending the monies used to pay for school fees and books, essentially destroying dreams and future prospects for a “good” life. Now what? The new believer may be able to make adult decisions in certain realms, but he is not yet prepared to be completely out on his own. Pray for young men and women to not allow the fear of financial isolation to keep them from following Christ; pray for those who shared Christ, and for the church, to understand their responsibilities in this.
Tue, Jan 11: Jesus said, “But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:44-45 I do not want to loose my friends or my standing within the community. MNK society is extremely interdependent. Everyone is somehow related to everyone else and living in harmony is paramount. A believer remarked that as family and friends came to understand that he was no longer a Muslim, they stopped “greeting” him, they stopped dropping by his house to chat; in other words, they stopped associating with him. The typical MNK response is to retaliate, but that behavior is contrary to Jesus’ commands. Pray for new MNK believers to stand up under this type of insidious, wearing persecution; pray for hearts that will love and be filled with the complete joy available only through salvation.
Wed, Jan 12: The Lord said to Moses, “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account.” – Deuteronomy 18:18 Tonight’s radio lesson, #44, is entitled Moses’ Final Message. This lesson ends the study of the Torah, or first five books of the Old Testament. Many MNKs listening will assert that this prophet declared by Moses was Mohammed. To say otherwise is to risk embarrassment. Pray as MNK men and women listen to this message to hear the Truth contained in it and to understand that the righteous Redeemer Moses spoke of is Jesus Christ.
Thu, Jan 13: Jesus said, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:33-34 Who will bury me when I’m dead? A hindrance to becoming a believer is the concern of what will happen to the body of a dead believer. Within MNK Islamic society, burial is incredibly important. Tremendous care is taken with the ritual washing and preparation of the corpse; white cloth is purchased and carefully wrapped around the body; as it is laid into the ground on its side facing Mecca, specific words are spoken to help ensure the person’s entrance into heaven. This process is so engrained on MNKs that there is real fear if these practices are not carried out. With the believing community being so small, just locating a place to bury the body is a challenge. Pray for the God of the living and the dead to enable MNK believers and seekers to trust that God is not only aware of this concern, but will take care of the situation one way or another; pray for sensitivity on the part of non-MNKs to this hindrance to salvation.
Fri, Jan 14: Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2 Who will help me work my fields when I get sick? This is a very common concern, which is part of the larger concern of loosing community. When a convert becomes ill (and he will!) during important farming times of the year (preparing, planting, weeding, harvesting), and he is isolated from his neighbors for turning his back on Islam and hence his community. Consequently his fields, his crop, and therefore his family, will suffer. Pray for many MNK families to come to know Christ and thereby become a new community.
Sat, Jan 15: And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7 Who will marry my children without first forcing them to become Muslims? Because the believing community is so small, finding MNK life partners, men and women of faith, is very difficult. If an MNK man remains unmarried, he is given grief by his family and friends. If an MNK woman remains single, it is a tremendous shame on the family, and it is difficult for a woman to refuse to marry the man her father has chosen. Yet, marrying outside of God’s will is also wrong. Societal pressure to marry is incredible. Pray for MNK men and women who are believers to rely upon God to provide their spouses; pray for patience and wisdom as they seek God’s life-mate.
Sun, Jan 16: For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. – Genesis 2:24 I believe everything you have taught me about the Bible and God, but I want to take a second wife. In MNK society, the father often chooses the first wife for his sons. The subsequent wives are chosen by the man himself. If a woman is barren, unhealthy or disrespectful, the husband is within his rights to take a 2nd, 3rd, even a 4th wife. Men who reach a certain social position or financial level are expected to acquire a 2nd wife. If the man is listening to the radio programs, or other Gospel presentations, and he wants a 2nd wife, what is he to do? Pray for MNK men to see that God provides all that is necessary in your family, including your spouse, if you will but rest and trust in Him.
Mon, Jan 17: Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6 Islam is the religion of Africa, the religion of the Mandinka! Most MNKs believe this! They believe they have always been Muslims and that Islam is the religion of Africa! They believe that the westerner brought slavery and hardship to Africa. At least, that is what they say publicly! Truth be told, MNKs know better than that. They know from their own traditional histories that they were warring and enslaving other tribes long before the westerners came. The hardest thing for them to recognize, however, is that Islam came to this region only 150 years ago by the sword, and rejection was not an option if they wanted to survive. Pray for those who live and work among the MNK to shed western culture and present only Jesus as Savior, not Christianity as religion.
Tue, Jan 18: Another disciple said to Jesus, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” – Matthew 8:21-22 I don’t want to embarrass my father. As with this disciple, MNKs do not wish to alienate their elders; in other words, they want to bury their dead. “I’ll wait until my father is dead,” or “I’ll become a Christian when it will not be offensive to the men in our family.” In an Islamic society, when will it ever be acceptable to become a Christian? Pray for MNK seekers to be able to stand as strong Mandinkas who desire to follow the Righteous Way.
Wed, Jan 19: After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua, sun of Nun, Moses’ assistant: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to you. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. – Joshua 1:1-5 Tonight’s radio lesson, #45, is entitled Joshua and the Land of Canaan. MNKs enjoy the stories of the prophets, especially those with battles and intrigue. But the point of this lesson is to demonstrate God’s faithfulness in keeping the promises He made to Abraham long ago. MNK men will voice that they believe God, but they cannot trust God’s Word. Pray for MNK women to put their whole trust in the God of Abraham, Moses and Joshua...the God who never changes and keeps every promise.
Thu, Jan 20: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. – Deuteronomy 6:4 I do not want to worship three Gods. Many within MNK society believe that Christians worship three gods: God, Jesus, and Mary. Their misconception of the Trinity is fed by the long-standing Catholic presence in West Africa. One of the five pillars of Islam is the recitation of the creed, There is one God, Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet. In response, believers often quote this passage from Deuteronomy. Pray for MNKs to understand God’s triune nature and believe.
Fri, Jan 21: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. – Romans 3:23 God will not punish me for sin that is not my fault. A major MNK Islamic belief is that sin is not a personal responsibility. God made humans this way, so if sin occurs, it’s really His fault anyway! Personal accountability is basically non-existent to the MNK Islamic way of thinking. Unfortunately knowing God involves accepting personal responsibility for your actions, whether tried by God, tempted by Satan or indulging the desires of the flesh. Pray for MNK men and women to be able to see that the One True God’s way is not difficult; acceptance of sin is the first step towards forgiveness.
Sat, Jan 22: The angel Gabriel said to Mary, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.” – Luke 1:30 Women are not equal with men in God’s eyes. MNK women are taught from the time they are very young that they are of lesser importance to God than men. Therefore when discussing religious matters with women, their minds may wander as religion is not a day-to-day concern for them. Their ability to get into heaven is heavily dependent upon the works their husbands perform. Pray for MNK women to grasp that they are a precious part of God’s creation, and like Mary, they may find favor with God.
Sun, Jan 23: Isaiah said, “This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard.” – Isaiah 37:6 I was born a Muslim; my parents were Muslims; my children will be Muslims; obviously this is God’s desire. MNK men and women call themselves Muslims. The majority do not understand Arabic, nor are they able to read, so they do not know what the Qu’ran actually says. Everything they understand about Islam they learn from their parents, their elders, and their community. And they are taught that if they leave Islam, they will be put to death. Pray for MNK men and women to be able to make an informed choice about the differences between Islam and Christianity.
Mon, Jan 24: Jehoshaphat said, “Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” – 2 Chronicles 20:20 Grace and faith alone cannot possibly be all that God requires; you must do things to please God in order to curry His favor. A major stumbling block to MNK Muslims is that the religion they practice is a works-based religion. On the other hand, the Bible teaches living by faith. Keeping fast, giving alms, and praying five times a day as a means to please God, while good and commendable, is not what God desires. Pray for MNK men and women to desire to know God fully, and to pray, fast and give out of love for God, not duty.
Tue, Jan 25: John said, “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city.” – Revelation 22:18-19 The Bible has been changed, so whatever is in it cannot be trusted. One thing that is taught to every single MNK Muslim is that the Bible has been corrupted and cannot be trusted. Consequently, when workers among the MNK declare that their faith rests firmly on what is in Scripture, red flags rise up in the minds of these Muslims. Continue to pray for the completion of the Bible in MNK; pray that as it is distributed, MNKs will come to see that it is the inspired Word of God.
Wed, Jan 26: The Israelites served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and the elders who out lived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel. After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord now what he had done for Israel. – Judges 2:7-10 Tonight’s lesson, #44, is entitled Judges and Ruth. As MNKs listen to this lesson, they will hear how the Israelites forgot about God and His faithfulness, and how a woman abandoned the religion of her father to follow the Faithful God of Israel. This will be confusing indeed as they become incensed at the Israelites faithlessness and at how a woman chose to follow God. Pray for MNK women to grasp their value in the eyes of God; pray they will be able to make a stand against tremendous pressure to follow the One, True God.
Thu, Jan 27: The angel Gabriel said to Mary, “For nothing is impossible with God.” – Luke 1:37 Did God have physical union with a woman? How could He have a child? Was it out of wedlock? How can you blaspheme God in this way? These are common questions that arise when MNKs hear Christians proclaim that Jesus is the Son of God. Their minds cannot conceive of Jesus being fully God, conceived by the Spirit and power of God, and fully human, the Word of God become flesh. Pray for God to open the minds of MNKs which are clouded by these kinds of questions, authored by the master of confusion, Satan.
Fri, Jan 28: To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power for ever and ever! – Revelation 5:13 I want the rewards of paradise promised to me. The basic MNK Islamic concept of heaven is whatever pleasures on earth God has restricted, He will loose in heaven. This is particularly appealing to men. The notion of worshipping God in heaven has not entered into their thinking. Pray for MNK men particularly to desire to be eternally in the presence of the One, True, Holy and Righteous God.
Sat, Jan 29: Paul said, “You, dear children, are from God and the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” – 1 John 4:4 If I remove the amulets from my child, the evil spirits will attack and kill him. There are very few MNKs who do not wear amulets. As soon as a child is born, some female relative, normally a grandmother, will tie one onto the tiny wrist. Then as time moves on, more and more will be added, some by the mother, some by friends, some by the father. Pray that believing MNK men and women will be able to shed these protective amulets and trust entirely that God is more than able to protect and care for them and their children.
Sun, Jan 30: Jesus said, “A time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.” – John 16:2-3 Islamic law teaches that leaving Islam is an offense punishable by death. While this kind of deed is lawful under Islamic law, it is not very common, even in Islamic countries. Nevertheless the teaching is there and yet again, fear tears at the hearts of MNK men and women. Pray that the spirit of God will cast fear out of the hearts of those MNK men, women and children who are reading and listening to Scripture.
Mon, Jan 31: Paul, writing to the church at Philippi, said, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Jesus who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:12-13 Every excuse to remain in Islam, or to reject Christ, thought of by MNKs is not unique! Satan has been causing confusion and lying to mankind since the Garden of Eden. He lies to MNKs; he lies to Muslims; he lies to westerners; he is the father of lies. Pray for the hearts, minds, eyes, and ears of MNK men, women, and children to be open to the author of Truth, the Living God, the God of Salvation.