What do Muslims believe?
Are the God of the Bible and Allah of the Quran the same?
What is Shariah law?
How should we react to terrorism?
How can we witness to Muslims?
How do Christian beliefs about women differ from Muslim beliefs?
How are Christians treated in Muslim countries?
Published on July 21st, 2015
A Story from the 20th Century
The Soviet Union was a communist country that broke up into smaller countries in the late 20th century. Before the break-up, it was the world’s most powerful communist country.
During that time, Christians from all over the Soviet Union were sent to Siberia for punishment. Although there are also warm places in Siberia, it is known for being very cold. In some places in Siberia, when someone exhales, the moisture in their breath freezes solid and drops to the ground. (Source: Atlantic Monthly)
One winter, three Siberian students met secretly every morning at 6 o’clock for prayer. They rose early before school started and skied over snowy paths to a forest. They met in all kinds of weather, even when temperatures were below zero. They prayed for their country.
God gave their region of Siberia a spiritual awakening, and many more youth came to Christ. So many young people became Christians that they wouldn’t fit in anyone’s house for meetings. Soon many new believers were also skiing into the forest at 6 a.m. to pray.
(Source: Faith Despite the KGB, by Hermann Hartfield)
To Think About
- What is a “spiritual awakening?”
- The students gathered to pray for a mighty move of God in their country. Can you name some of the obstacles they faced in getting together for prayer?
- Have you ever prayed for more people to come to Christ in your country or in a country where Christians are persecuted?
- What obstacles do Christian young people in the 21st century have that might make it hard for them to get together for prayer? In what ways is it easier today than it was for the Siberian youth?
Published on July 20th, 2015
Hassan and his family had enemies. Because they were Christians in Iran, radical Muslims wanted to punish them. So Muslim attackers shot and killed Hassan’s son.
Hassan wrote a prayer for his son’s funeral. Here is what part of his prayer said.
“Oh God, we remember not only my son, but also his persecutors, because through their crime we now follow Your footsteps more closely in the way of sacrifice. The terrible fire of this event burns up all selfishness in us. It makes us see our need to trust Your love — love that makes us free of hate toward our persecutors. Oh God, when my son’s persecutors stand before You on Judgment Day, remember the fruit of the Spirit by which they have enriched our lives, and forgive. Amen.”
To Think About
The Bible tells us that Jesus (Luke 23:34) and Stephen (Acts 7:60) prayed for their persecutors. God can change the hearts of persecutors today, just as he changed the persecutor Saul (Paul) into a servant of Christ. Pray for persecutors.
Published on July 16th, 2015
Gladys Aylward was a missionary to China in the early part of the 20th century. Read more about her in the post China: Willing to Serve.
Once Gladys and a friend trekked to a remote area of China to see if anyone there knew about Jesus. They discovered 500 Tibetan Buddhist lamas (priests) living in a monastery.
The lamas eagerly welcomed Gladys and her friend, saying, “We have waited so long for you. Please come tell us about the God who loves!”
Eight years earlier, on a trip to the city, some of the lamas had found a Christian pamphlet. John 3:16 was written on the pamphlet.
Patiently they waited for a Christian to come tell them about Jesus. How did they know someone would come? Because they read that Jesus told His followers to go into all the world and preach the gospel (Mark 16:15). So of course a Christian would come to them!
To Think About
- Is someone in your town waiting for you to tell them about God’s love?
- Are there people in other lands waiting for you to obey Jesus/ command to pray that God will “send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:38)?
- Pray that God will lead you, in your life and your prayers, to those who are waiting.
- Read about the differences between Buddhism and biblical Christianity.
Published on July 15th, 2015
Pastor José and his wife Marli were missionaries in Senegal where they taught homeless children and others about Jesus. Shortly after the son of a Muslim leader became a Christian, Pastor José was arrested.
Police put Pastor José in a jail where 40 prisoners shared a 40-square meter cell. The Muslim prisoners were angry with Pastor José because he had taught Muslims about Jesus.
But after he was kind to the other prisoners and shared food with them, the Muslims changed their minds about him. Pastor José was able to hand out 350 Bibles in the prison, and some of the prisoners gave their lives to Christ.
The pastor was released from prison, but knows he might have to go back after his case is heard in court. He said if the Lord wants him to return to prison, he is ready.
To Talk About and Do
- Why did the Muslim prisoners change their minds about Pastor José?
- To learn about Christians in Senegal, use a map or globe to find the country, then go to the VOM prayer map to read more.
- Forty square meters is approximately 8 yards and 27 inches by 5 yards and 18 inches. Measure off a space that size. If you have forty people in your class or group, see if they will all fit in the space. If not, invite another class or group to join you. Share the story of Pastor José with the other group and encourage them to pray for him and other persecuted Christians.
Published on July 14th, 2015
When Idris Miah became a Christian, he was fired from his job, and his children were forced to drop out of school. But he still had joy, because he knew that Jesus was with him and his family.
Like most people in Bangladesh, Idris and his family used to be Muslims. Idris even persecuted Christians because he thought they were wrong to follow Jesus. He was so radical in his ways that he joined a mob that planned to burn down the house of a Christian neighbor named Abu.
Read below Idris’s story of what happened.
“If Abu wanted to be a Christian, he’d have to do it somewhere else. We surrounded his house, ready to force him out and burn it.
“As we got closer, we could hear him talking. ‘Had he gathered others to help him?’ we wondered. Then we could hear that he was praying for the entire village and asking Jesus to forgive us for what we were about to do! This made us even angrier, so 25 of us rushed toward his house to apprehend him. But there was an invisible force that would not let any of us to enter his house, and we were frightened away.
“When I got home, I could not sleep. I kept thinking about Abu’s prayer. Finally at 3 a.m., I went back to Abu’s house. I asked him to tell me about Jesus. After three hours of talking with Abu, I asked Jesus to forgive me, and I surrendered my life to him. I rushed to my house and shared what happened to me with my wife, and she also became a Christian, along with my children.”
(Source: Extreme Devotion, available at www.vombooks.com. Please preview the book before sharing the stories with children.)
To Talk About
If you were Abu, would you have let Idris in your house when he came to visit at 3 a.m. after trying to burn down your house?
Read about an invisible army protecting God’s people in 2 Kings 6:15–17.