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Pray for a Change of Heart

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The Quran is the Muslim holy book. Chapter 4, Verse 157 of the Quran says, “[They claimed]…’We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Apostle of God,’ but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them…” (Sura 4:157, Yusuf Ali translation).

So Muslims do not believe that Jesus was crucified. During the Easter season, pray that Muslims will understand that Jesus died, rose again, and conquered death. Pray especially for radical Muslims who persecute Christians.

We know that persecutors can repent and become followers of Jesus. Read the following story about a Muslim in Nigeria who had a change of heart.

Saul of Nigeria
[Teacher suggestion: Before reading the story below to students, arrange in advance for one student or assistant teacher to interrupt your reading of the first paragraph of the story several times. They might ask questions like: Where did you say Nigeria is? What’s a holy book? How did he memorize the whole book?

Either answer the questions or say, “Shh.” Then explain that the story is about a Muslim who was trained to rudely interrupt Christian sermons like your helper did. Then start the story over again with no interruptions.]

Saul was the 10th of 16 children from a family in northern Nigeria. He carefully studied the Quran from an early age. The Quran is the Muslims’ holy book. By age 10, Saul could recite the entire book from memory. (The Quran is about the same length as Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts combined.)

Saul went to college to study more about Islam, the faith of Muslims. He was specially trained to argue with Christians. One night, a Muslim leader sent him to a Christian meeting to interrupt it. His job was to interrupt the sermon by asking one question after another.

Saul did his job well. He interrupted the sermon many times. But he felt no peace in his heart. Saul wondered if the God he heard about at the Christian meeting could help him. After the meeting, Saul prayed to God, “If you are there, give me courage.” Muslims in Nigeria who become Christians are often harshly persecuted.

The next day was Sunday. Saul went to a Christian church and told the pastor, “I have come to meet Jesus.” God gave Saul the courage he prayed for. But some of the people inside the church were afraid. They feared that radical Muslims would attack them if they thought the Christians had led a Muslim to Christ. Many of the people in the church ran away. A few bold Christians stayed.

Muslims had seen Saul go inside the church. A large group of the Muslims began to surround the building. The Christians were outnumbered! “Lock the doors,” the pastor said to Paul. “We will stay with you. We are ready.”

The police came and stopped the Muslims from attacking that day. But when Saul went home, he found that Muslims had gone to his house and destroyed all his belongings. He knew they might attack him next. So the pastor took Paul to a safe hideout.

Even though he was outnumbered as a Christian, Saul finally had the peace of Jesus in his heart. He became a pastor and shared his peace and joy with others.


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