“Babe, listen to this.” I read the message on the Nextdoor app to my husband: We are a Muslim family and moved in to this neighborhood last year. At a time there is a lot of focus on differences, we wanted to take a step to get together with people around a table. We would like to extend an invitation to our neighbors to join us for a fast breaking dinner.
Sometimes we plan and pray for outreach opportunities. Sometimes they just fall into our lap.
We responded to our neighbors’ hospitable request and enjoyed a lovely evening together. Along with my mom, I attended another two Ramadan dinners that month—Muslims are astoundingly hospitable—and got to share the gospel at the last one.
It’s gotten me thinking… maybe Christians should start participating in Ramadan too.
Ramadan Opens Doors to Proclaim the Gospel
We pray for “open doors” to share about Christ. Ramadan doesn’t just open the door, it breaks down the wall. During this month-long observance, Muslims intentionally extend hospitality to celebrate the end of their daily fast. This gives us a compelling context to share meals and build relationships with them. More importantly, it’s an opportunity to interrupt their spiritual striving with news of our Savior’s finished work.
While they pray to a god who cannot hear, we can intercede to the God who has power to save. While they hunger for food, we can lead them to the Bread of Life. While they search for spiritual intimacy, we can share that Jesus loved them so much He died on their behalf.
Our Muslim neighbors are seeking and we can tell of the One who saves. Throughout Ramadan, I prayed frequently that my Muslim friends would feel empty—that their faithful observance of this holy month would only emphasize the gaping hole in their hearts—and that through that pain, they’d be driven into the arms of Jesus. He’s the only one who can meet their deepest need and fill their greatest longing.
Ramadan Paves the Way to Build Friendships
If we are faithful to reach out during Ramadan, there’s a good chance we’ll build friendships that carry on afterwards. This is important, because while God can and does work through one-time encounters, He usually works through relationships.
Shortly after Ramadan, we started a book club comprised of several Muslim and Christian women (including my mom) in our area. About every six weeks, we gather at a different house and fill ourselves on both laughter and food. Though the books we read are secular, a few have created opportunities to share more about Christ.
Genuine friendships have been forged and God is working through them. Just last month, a Muslim friend invited my mom to speak from a Christian perspective on “women of faith who paved the way” at an event primarily attended by Turkish Muslims. My mom shared about the sinful women with the alabaster jar who found forgiveness at Jesus’ feet (Luke 7:36-50) and underscored what we all share in common with her—we all need forgiveness of sins and we’ve all been offered it through the loving sacrifice of Jesus.
God is Still at Work… And He Wants to Work Through Us
When I first read my neighbors dinner invitation last year, I never would have imagined all that God would do afterwards. But then again, I shouldn’t be surprised.
We are here today because God’s work isn’t finished. He is still seeking and saving the lost. He is still chasing down the one. He is still transforming hearts of stone. He is still adopting sons and daughters. Our Muslim neighbors aren’t more lost than any other person who doesn’t have faith in Christ. Their commitment to Islam can’t overpower God’s pursuit of them. The One who holds the world in His hands can dethrone the false god of their hearts. And He graciously invites us to play a part in His work.
So today, pray for your Muslim neighbors as they observe Ramadan. And consider sharing a fast-breaking meal together this month too—who knows how God will use it?