Duncan originally wrote this post in 2013, but we want to reflect again this year on prayer and faith as a community.
Ramadan is here again, the time when Muslims go for 30 days without food as they pray and give to the needy, a way of worshipping their God. It is at this time that the Muslims nourish their faith by being prayerful and doing what their faith calls on them to do.
I always find this very challenging for me as a Christian, as it is the time we Christians decide to pray for Muslims to know Christ. This is ironic, to say the least, and the reason this time challenges me. Fasting for a few days or even one day seems to be a great deal for us as Christians, yet we want to go in prayer and convert a people who fast for 30 days for what they believe in. This, then, begs the question- is this really realistic? A lot of prayer and fasting should then go in to this …not only in the month of Ramadan but throughout the year.
Why do we as Christians wait until the Muslim people go into strengthening their faith in order to pray for them? We look vulnerable to them more than they do to us. Our biggest time of reflection and strengthening our faith tends to be Christmas, where in reality it should be Easter. Whichever the case, there seem to be no major preparations that go in to these seasons before the big day or even after, apart from the Catholics who go without meat during lent, weeks before Easter.
Being a staunch Christian, you can be sure I’ll not convert to Islam in the near future or ever for that matter. My worry is that we as Christians have taken a back seat and are not preaching in our deeds, actions and neither in our words. What is our Christian calendar, when do we take time to strengthen our faith, when do we take time together to go in prayer /fasting? Isn’t it ironic then that we should try and convert those who are so united in faith and practice? We need to rethink our fellowship. If anything, we should also commit to a month of fasting in which all Christians embark on prayer since we also believe in the power of prayer and fasting.
Muslims will always pray at specific times of the day regardless of where they are, who they are with and what they are doing and they do it by kneeling at a secluded place. For most of us Christians, we pray when it is convenient for us and in some cases we don’t even pray at all. When it comes to fasting, nothing will stop a Muslim from fasting for the whole month unless he/she is sick, in which case they will pay back for the days they didn’t fast even if it will be way past Ramadan. For us Christians, very few of us fast, and even when we do, we tend to forget and eat, not to mention we hardly remember to repay back the days.
As Muslims fast through the remainder of Ramadan, my plea is not for us as Christians to pray for their conversion, but to pray for us to be better Christians whose work and words can be seen and heard as a living illustration to pull closer the non-believers. My prayer is that we think, reflect and pray for our community to be strong and committed in our faith.