“Muslim-background believers are sensing the wind of God’s Spirit blowing through their communities. They are discovering that God is doing something extraordinary among their people. The knowledge that God has Muslims on his heart has emboldened new believers to share faith with family and friends.”
So says David Garrison in his book A wind in the House of Islam where he reports on six years of research from North Africa to Indonesia where more Muslims are changing allegiance to Jesus than at any time in church history.
What’s amazing is the fact that this phenomenon has gone hand-in-hand with an unprecedented global movement of prayer for Muslims.
When I came into mission leadership (25 years ago) we were just a handful, trying to champion the message that the logistics of reaching Muslims would get out of control as birth rates increased along with radicalisation which would soon mean Christian mission couldn’t keep up.
Then God stepped in and Muslims went into diaspora (dispersion). Thankfully visionary bands of brothers and sisters were developing in parallel to us in several other Western countries. All were working hard to reverse Christian negativity against people from a Muslim background and national movements for a grace and truth response towards Muslims emerged.
A significant contributor to all this has been a global movement of prayer for Muslims during their fasting month of Ramadan. This is now known as '30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World' and is engaged with by millions of Christians. Ramadan begins tonight (26 May) and ends on 24th June.
Angelic visitations, healings, dreams and appearances of Jesus are happening
It’s not rocket science to link the increased prayer (a cause) with Muslims changing allegiance to Jesus (an effect).
As David Garrison reports, "Aisha, a Muslim-background believer from the desert sands of North Africa, was once asked to account for the reason so many Muslims in her land are now coming to Christ, 'I believe,' she said, 'that the prayers of people all over the world have been rising up to heaven for many years. In the heavens, these prayers have accumulated like great clouds during the monsoon season. And now they are raining down upon my people the miracles and blessings of salvation that God has stored up for them.'"
A highlight of Ramadan is the last Friday night 'laylat ul-qadr' (Night of Power) when many Muslims believe Muhammed was caught up to heaven on a white stallion and divine favour was extended to him; and all who seek God that night. This makes it an auspicious night where even Muslims who don’t pray will try to pray in order to gain special 'baraka' (blessing).
Needless to say – since the 30 Days prayer movement started – supernatural in-breakings are reported around the Muslim world as Muslims look for divine help. They simply get more than they bargained for as angelic visitations, healings, dreams and appearances of Jesus happen.
This was the case for Yasmin (not her real name), a Jesus follower from a Muslim background. This is a part of her story:
Lying in a hospital bed, about to give birth to my third child, I had an out-of-body experience. I could see myself on the bed and heard the voices of the medical staff saying: “We’re going to lose her”. I was haemorrhaging badly but I felt a deep peace – the kind I had desired to know all my life. I saw a figure in dazzling white and I was drawn towards him. I couldn’t see his face but I knew it was Jesus. I came back into my body just as my son was born.
I didn’t share this experience with anyone at first. I know I couldn’t tell my husband or family as I would have been disowned. The first person I told was a Christian health visitor who understood what I was saying and helped me find a church. For a while I was a secret believer, like many Muslim ladies I work with. When I decided to be baptised I told my family and – sadly – what I feared came true. I was cast aside by them and I lost everything. I went into hiding and moved away from my home town.
Now I have been called to help Muslims who are hungry for the truth, especially the young. They are seeking and they ask Allah every day to show them the true path. I have the chance to show them that Jesus is ‘the way, the truth, and the life.’
Steve Bell, married to Julia, is the Director of Ministries at Interserve GB & Ireland. A mission leader, trainer and author, Steve is a recognised cross-cultural communicator with 35 years’ experience in 100 countries. Steve is author of Friendship First, Grace for Muslims and Gospel for Muslims.