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The “Night of Power”

Ramadan
Iraqi child at a Ramadan feast

This month, Muslims have been celebrating Ramadan, a month-long fast from food and drink during daylight hours. One of the final nights of Ramadan is the “Night of Power.” Muslims may be more open to dreams, visions, and revelations on the Night of Power.

Pray that Muslims who seek the truth during Ramadan will come to know Jesus who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).

Learn more about Islam from Learning About Islam, a 60-page spiral bound book for readers ages 8 and up, available for free download on this site.


Libya: Pray for Bible Smugglers, Part 2

Libyan Muslims praying

The previous post told about Brother Hannu, a Christian from Finland who planned a trip to Libya with Christian friends. He was not happy when he realized that his friends intended to smuggle Bibles into Libya, a Muslim country. Read below what happened next.

Brother Hannu wondered how he could get out of the situation. He was too fearful to smuggle Bibles into Libya.

He decided he would let his friends carry their suitcases full of Bibles, and he would just pray for them while they tried to get their Bibles past the officials at customs. [“Customs” is the place at an airport or other point of entry into a country where officials check incoming luggage.]

“Yes, that was my strategy,” said Hannu on VOM Radio. Then, unfortunately, one of the guys said, ‘Hannu, my suitcase is very heavy. Could you please help?’

“I prayed, ‘God, You have to help. You understand, I have a wife, I have a son, and I am a pastor in a church.’” But he helped his friend carry the suitcase. As they approached customs, the official said, “Welcome!” They passed through customs with no problems. “I was happy!” said Brother Hannu.

But his happiness ended later that night. At 1 a.m., his hotel room phone rang. “This is the police!” said a voice when Brother Hannu answered the phone. “Come to the lobby! We will arrest you. You have brought illegal books into the country!”

“I almost had a heart attack,” said Brother Hannu. “I knew that another group had been put in a Libyan prison for smuggling Bibles the week before. So I was very scared. I hung up the phone, and they called again and shouted the same words. I was in a state of shock.

“I got on my knees in the hotel room, and I said, ‘Jesus, please forgive me. I don’t love Muslims. I don’t like them. Lord, You see how they are treating Your people in many places. But, Jesus, I can love them because Your Word says in Romans 5:5 that the love of God has been poured out in our hearts. So I will open the tap, and it will flow. I will love them. I promise to preach Your Word to these people.’

“I was just surrendering my life to God….and then to my big surprise, the telephone was silent. Nothing happened. We had a good trip to Libya.

“When I went back to my church in Finland, a woman asked me, ‘Hannu, what happened [on a certain date] at 1 o’clock in the night?’ It was the same night when the police called me. ‘I was deep in sleep,’ the woman continued, ‘when suddenly I woke up, and I saw your face. You were in danger. I started praying for you. I prayed for a long time that you would be happy again.’”

[Note: Finland and Libya are in the same time zone, so when it is 1 a.m. in Finland, it is also 1 a.m. in Libya, except when Finland is observing Daylight Saving Time.]

Since that trip, Brother Hannu has had many opportunities to love Muslims and to share the Good News of Jesus with them.

He requested prayer for himself and other Christians working among Muslims. “In Ephesians, Chapter 6, while he was in prison, Paul said, ‘Please pray for me, that I will preach the Word of God boldly.’ Fear is paralyzing many Christians in the tough Muslim areas. They need the power of the Holy Spirit; they need boldness. The Apostle Paul said to please pray for him; I need this, too. Also, ex-Muslims and Christians in those countries really do need this, to preach the Word of God in boldness.”

(Source: VOM Radio. Edited for clarity, length, and age appropriateness.)


Libya: Pray for Bible Smugglers

Brother Hannu is the leader of The Voice of the Martyrs office in Finland. He recently talked to Todd Nettleton at VOM Radio about some of his past Bible smuggling adventures. Brother Hannu had taken Christian literature hidden in special underwear into a hostile country, and his youth group wrapped videos about Jesus in gift wrapping paper to smuggle them into another country. But he still hesitated when he felt God calling him to share Jesus among Muslims. “We had practically no Muslims in Finland,” he said on VOM Radio.

A Vision
“I’m not one who dreams dreams and sees visions,” Brother Hannu said. “I was not raised like that at all. But one day I saw in front of my eyes a curtain opening….There were faces of people shouting, ‘We need help!’ I understood that the people were Muslims.”

Brother Hannu shared the vision with his pastor. He hoped to convince the pastor that he had not seen a vision. “You know I have a very lively imagination,” he reminded the pastor. The pastor wasn’t convinced. “I feel that God is calling you to the Muslim world,” he said.

A Trip
Brother Hannu decided to visit a Muslim country, Libya, to see what one was like. “I had heard about the threat of Islam and terrorists. So I had fear,” he said. [Islam is the religion of Muslims.]

He planned to visit Libya with a group of Christians. “I thought it was a nice, small trip,” he said. “We’d get to know how is the food, what is the weather like.

“But then I found out that this group was packing their suitcases with Bibles. I was shocked. I said to them, ‘Hey, what are you guys doing? This is dangerous. You understand this is very dangerous. You should not do that.’ They said, ‘Don’t you understand, Brother Hannu, they need Jesus in Libya.’ In fact, I heard at that time there was not a single known Libyan Christian in the country. There were some other from other countries, but not Libyan Christians. I thought, ‘Oh my goodness what kind of fanatics am I with right now?’ I was not so happy, but I could not return home because the church paid my trip.

Read the next post to find out what happened to Brother Hannu in Libya.

(Source: VOM Radio. Edited for clarity, length, and age appropriateness.)


Amy Carmichael’s “Scraps”

Amy Carmichael freed many children from captivity in Hindu temples during her time as a missionary in India. You can read more about her life in India here.

Before she moved from her home in Ireland to a continent across the world, Amy helped care for her six younger siblings. One of her projects was a family magazine called Scraps. Amy and the other kids wrote and illustrated the magazine.

(Source: On Asking God Why by Elisabeth Elliot)

VOM volunteer Ashley L. created a “Scraps” booklet with the theme of prayer. You can use or adapt the following instructions to make your own magazine or book.

Needed
*Sturdy paper, and thinner paper for tracing
*Scrapbook paper or other decorative paper
*Photos from The Voice of the Martyrs publications or other sources, or drawings you create
*Scissors
*Tape and a glue stick
*Markers or crayons, or watercolor paint
*Stapler
*Stickers, buttons, ribbon, missionary prayer cards, stamps, or other items for decoration

Instructions and Suggestions
1. Cut out four or more pages, measuring about 5 inches by 7 inches, from sturdy paper.
2. Glue words and photos from VOM publications to one or more pages.


3. Ask an adult to search online for a map of a country where Christians are persecuted. Place thin paper on the phone screen or computer. Gently and lightly trace the outline of the country on the paper with a pencil. Color in the outline with markers, crayons, or watercolor paint.


4. Write prayer points for the country on one page of the booklet. (Enter the country’s name in the search box of this site to find ideas for prayers.)
5. Write a prayer for persecuted Christians on separate paper and tape it to another page.
6. Add additional pages if desired. Choose a theme and title for your book, and write it on the cover with markers or crayons. Staple the pages together along the left side of the booklet.
7. Share the booklet with family and friends.


Pray with Kids in the United Kingdom

Release International, located in the United Kingdom, is a member of The Voice of the Martyrs’ family of missions. (Read more about VOM’s family of missions around the world here.) Release International encourages kids to pray for Christians in countries where followers of Christ are persecuted. Read some of their recent suggested prayers below, and choose one to pray today.

Pakistani girls

Pakistan
Ask Jesus to be very close to Christian girls in Pakistan who are kidnapped and taken away from their families. They are often forced to marry Muslim men and even become Muslims themselves. Ask God to rescue them and get them back to their families. Pray that the girls will know Jesus’ love with them night and day and to know He is looking after them. Ask God to make their families brave and strong. Pray that teenagers Rimsha and Riffat, who were kidnapped, will know God’s love and peace and return home safely.

 

Afghan girl with a Bible

Afghanistan
Pray for a girl who has been persecuted at a school in Afghanistan. Her family moved to a different city to find a new school for her. However, her old school will not send her reports, so the new school will not allow her to start. Pray that God will give great love and peace to her family. Ask Him to give them hope and strength not to give up. Pray that God will provide a new school where the girl can learn, make new friends, and be happy.

 

 

Leah

Nigeria
Keek praying for Leah Sharibu, the 15-year-old girl who was kidnapped in Nigeria. Boko Haram, the radical Muslim group that took her away, said they will keep her as a slave because she will not stop loving Jesus. Pray for God to show His love in powerful ways to the kidnappers so they will let her go. Pray that another captive, Alice Ngaddah, and all other women and girls held as prisoners, will also be set free. Ask God to show them and their families His great love and to give them courage and hope.

 

 

Egyptian boy

Egypt
The following is a prayer for a boy in Egypt.
Dear God, thank you for protecting an 11-year-old boy who was nearly kidnapped by two men in Egypt. They wanted to take him away from his Christian parents just because they follow Jesus. Thank you for the person who rescued the boy. Please give the boy, his mom, and his family strength, peace, and healing. Help them trust You to keep them safe. Please look after the children of people who are helping Christians. Thank You. Amen.