Open Doors USA, a persecution watchdog organization, is urging Christians to pray during this year’s Ramadan, which will be observed by millions of Muslims around the world.
“During the season of Ramadan we need to lift up in prayer our brothers and sisters in Christ who live in Islamic-dominated nations; strengthening them, empowering them, comforting them and encouraging them. Also, pray for Muslims. There are millions of Muslims who have never experienced real peace and joy in knowing a loving God and having Jesus as their Savior,” said Open Doors USA Director of Ministries Michele Miller in a statement Wednesday.
Ramadan, which is an annual fast and one of the five pillars, or basic acts, of Islam, runs this year from July 9 to August 7. During this period, Muslims are expected to practice humility and submissiveness to Allah by abstaining from eating, drinking, and any immoral activities from sunrise to sunset, choosing to focus on spiritual reflection instead.
Open Doors, which also called on Christians to participate during last year’s Ramadan, is urging followers of Christ to pray in one of the names of Christ while using scripture on each day of the month-long period. For example, the group offered the passage in 1 John 2:1, which calls Jesus an “advocate”: “But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”
A number of countries on the persecution watchdog group’s 2013 World Watch List, which features the world’s most oppressive regimes and governments, happen to be Muslim-dominated nations, where Christians face danger due to their faith. During last year’s Ramadan observance, Open Doors noted that those Christians often face heightened persecution because they do not fast or participate in the Islamic tradition.