Prayer is a practice common to both Christians and Muslims. Followers of both faiths pray for similar reasons: to engage their minds on the ways of God; to gain understanding of His will and find the strength to pursue it; to seek comfort and help; as a means of sharing the deepest thoughts of their hearts with the One in whom they put their trust. So, why do we pray for Muslims?
1. We Pray to Change Our Hearts
We develop our understanding about those who are different from us in different ways. We gain our understanding of Muslims through what we experience and what we hear. Yet our experiences and knowledge will be limited. For some, experiences and knowledge will lead to a view Muslims with fear or animosity, while others will view them with warmth and concern, and yet others with indifference.
When we pray for others as Jesus taught us to, we begin to see who we pray for through His eyes. 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World began with a group of Christians praying in the Middle East and repenting as we realized that they had not been seeing the people of that region in the way God does. Many of our readers over the years have identified with this, testifying that the prayer guide has caused them to recognize the need for a change in the way they understand Muslims.
The first command of Jesus was to love others as He loves us. To love Muslims we must be willing to allow God to direct our understanding of who they are and to see them as He does. So we pray to gain an understanding of God’s heart for Muslims the world over.
2. We Pray to Change the World
Christians also believe that through prayer we can affect change in the world. We believe God works with us to accomplish His will and that in prayer we can encourage miraculous things to happen.
Many of the articles in the 30 Days prayer guide focus on the needs of Muslim people. Muslim people come from enormously diverse cultures and societies and their needs are varied and unique. From immigrant families struggling to adapt to a foreign culture to rural tribesman who have never been outside of their remote village; wealthy businessmen to illiterate fishermen; refugee women desperate to protect their families and restless young men wanting their voices to be heard. Prayer helps us to understand these needs and how to respond to them. We pray for the needs of Muslims because that is one way we can love.
We pray also for Muslims to gain a greater understanding of Jesus. We realize that as His followers, we often fail to represent Jesus well. Therefore, we do not pray for Muslims to become like us – we pray for them to become like Jesus. We pray that they will join us on the journey towards experiencing that abundant life of which Jesus spoke and towards establishing His Kingdom of peace on earth.