Editor’s Note: The prayer guide for the Muslim World during Ramadan this year comes from the Ministry of <<30 Days of Praying for the Muslim World>> (for website, please click HERE ).
“The 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World prayer guide is produced in many languages each Ramadan and distributed from regional or national offices around the world. Millions of Christians have joined together in prayer, across denominations, languages and cultures to pray for the Muslim world since we began.”
30th Day (5/12) Pray for Damascus, Syria
Damascus is famous in Christian history as the place where the Apostle Paul encountered Christ supernaturally, became a follower of Jesus and began his world-changing ministry to share the Gospel with those who had not heard it.
Damascus is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world, settled around 2 B.C. The United Nations has declared it a World Heritage centre for its unique historic and cultural significance. Not only is it important in Christian history, but Damascus was a key centre in the Muslim struggle against the Crusades and was the capital of the Ummayad Caliphate, one of four Caliphates established after the death of Islam’s founder, Muhammed. A caliphate is a type of government under an Islamic spiritual leader who claims to be a successor of Muhammed.
Today, the population of Damascus is around 2.1 million. The city saw rapid growth at the beginning of the 21st century, mostly with young people coming to the city for work and education. More recently, many have also left the city, fleeing the civil war. Most of the current residents are Syrian Arabs, but there are also some Kurds and even a small community of Palestinians. The Christian population is slightly higher in the city, compared
to the nation as a whole, about 15-20% in Damascus, compared to 10% overall. There is also a small but ancient Jewish population.
Christians and Muslims largely live peaceably in Damascus – they have bigger struggles that they face together, as Syrians, facing war. Still, as a minority, they face persecution and the ongoing threat of danger as the war continues.
How to Pray
- The Christian community in Damascus is made up of several, mostly Orthodox denominations. Pray for them to have unity and to serve one another in love. (Galatians 5:13)
- Pray for peace in Syria so this ancient city can rebuild and prosper in safety. (Acts 9:31)
- Pray for many Muslim residents of Damascus to encounter and turn to Christ as the Apostle Paul did many centuries ago. (Acts 9:1-22)
29th Day (5/11) Pray for Tripoli, Libya
Hassan made his way to one of Tripoli’s newly opened cafes. Although Tripoli has many options for getting coffee, he liked the more spacious and modern design of the newer cafes as opposed to the cramped and noisy cafes in the older parts of the city. The new cafes were also more likely to be frequented by young people… even young women.
Hassan was meeting a group of friends, international students he had met at university. They met up at their favorite café regularly to talk about politics, sport, and religion. Several of them were Christians and Hassan was interested in their beliefs, having never met a Christian before. He was intrigued by their experiences and their descriptions of Jesus’ teaching and wanted to know more.
Cafés play an important part in the culture of Tripoli. Coffee is a socially significant ingredient throughout the Middle East, present at times of joy and sorrow, personal and business meetings. It is a symbol of generosity and hospitality.
In Tripoli, cafés are the places where the elderly and the young meet to socialise, gossip, argue and plan. They are a place people go to exchange ideas and get to know new people. This makes them an ideal environment for discipleship.
There are less than 100,000 Christians in Libya, but there are an estimated 1500 believers from a Muslim background. As the largest city in Libya, and the most diverse, Tripoli is full of opportunity.
How to Pray
- Islam is the state religion in Libya. Pray for greater freedom, socially and legally, to talk about different faiths so people can learn about Jesus. (John 16:33)
- Tripoli remains always on the edge of conflict, with ongoing violence from civil war and extremist groups surrounding it. Pray for peace in this city. (Psalm 2)
- Pray for cafes to become centres of discipleship, with many more Muslims coming to follow Jesus. (John 8:31-32)
28th Day (5/10) Pray for Banjarmasin, Indonesia
The city of Banjarmasin was founded on 24 September 1526, when an Islamic procession was carried out symbolizing that Islam was officially entering South Kalimantan, a province on the island of Borneo, Indonesia. Ever since then, Islam has been the majority religion in South Kalimantan. On this same date every year, local Muslims visit the grave of their first sultan (ruler) and then worship together in the large mosque. They also sacrifice a goat or cow for the caretaker of the cemetery of the sultan.
Every year, the Banjar celebrate the end of Ramadan with large open trucks caravanning throughout the city with fireworks, shouting, and loud horns. They then spend 1-2 weeks visiting friends and family to continue the celebration. Believers are often invited to eat a meal with their Muslim friends and family at this time. This is an excellent opportunity for them to share the Good News.
The Banjar language is widely used as a common language across South Kalimantan and is considered a “gateway language” for other related languages. So, once the Banjar have a complete Bible in their language it can be a helpful aid in producing Bibles in other local languages.
Although there are 28 churches in the city of Banjarmasin, most church members are from other ethnic groups. And even though more than 4 million people speak Banjar, there is still no church yet that worships God in the Banjar language. Let’s pray for this to change!
How to Pray
- Pray for discipleship movements to grow in this influential city and for thousands of fellowships to emerge that worship God in the Banjar language. (Acts 2)
- Pray for believers in this city to become bolder in sharing their faith with Banjar Muslims. (2 Corinthians 2:14)
- Pray for the ongoing work of translation in this gateway language. (Psalm 119:105)
27th Day (5/9) Pray for Accra, Ghana
Islam is a minority religion in Ghana, which is over 70% Christian. Yet each year, thousands of Muslims from the rural north make the journey to what is perceived as the richer urban areas in the south. Among them are often young girls between 14 and 16 years of age who migrate to big cities like Accra to work in markets or on the streets as load carriers known as Kayaye. There are an estimated 180,000 Kayaye in Accra alone. These ladies eat and sleep by the roadside or in lorry stations and marketplaces, exposed to vices such as fraud, rape and theft.
Habiba, for example, left home because her parents could not afford the school fees she needed to complete her education. During the day she carries loads on her head, eats little and tries to save as much as possible. The Kayaye are often looked down upon by others in the city. Without education, wearing poor clothing and with no room to sleep in, people’s attitude towards them tend to be disrespectful.
Christian groups offer services such as education for porters with children, medical services for the sick and injured, and basic health education which has contributed towards making life better for some Kayaye in Accra. The economic crisis from the impact of Covid-19 gave opportunities for Christians to demonstrate compassion and generosity. One group recently distributed over 2300 food packages to women and children sleeping on the street.
How to Pray
- Pray for the Kayaye women of Accra to have more opportunities to improve their lives. (Psalm 31:19)
- Pray for Christians who are reaching out to Muslims, that their good works would bring glory to God and many Muslims would come to faith in Christ. (Matthew 5:16)
- Pray for recovery from the losses caused by the pandemic, and for growth in the Church and in their outreach to Muslims. (Acts 2:42-47)
26th Day (5/8) Pray for Hamburg, Germany
arim, a young man from Pakistan is waiting for me at the door of the ‘Fazle-Omar-Mosque’ in Hamburg, Germany. It is the oldest mosque in the city, opened in 1957. He shows me around and explains to me the history of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, an Islamic reform movement founded in Punjab, India, in the late 19th century.
The founder of the Ahmadiyyas claimed to be a prophet commissioned by God, sent to reform Islam. His claim was very controversial and soon his followers in South Asia were persecuted. For this reason, many fled to the West and some came to Hamburg.
Karim explains that the current spiritual leader of the Ahmadiyyas delivers a Friday speech to the whole community by satellite. The motto of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is: “Love for all. Hate for none” and they demonstrate this actively in Hamburg society. Every New Year’s Day they clean up the rubbish left from fireworks in the inner city. Blood donation events and tree planting ceremonies are all part of their effort to bless the host nation where they live.
There are no known followers of Jesus in Germany who come from the Ahmadiyya Movement and not much interaction with followers of Jesus. Let’s pray this changes soon!
How to Pray
- Pray for the Ahmadiyyas in Hamburg to build strong relationships with Christians who will boldly and clearly share the Good News with them. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
- There are about 40,000 Ahmadiyyas living in many cities across Germany. Pray for them and for Muslims from other traditions living in Hamburg. (John 3:16)
- Pray for believers in Hamburg to have insight into who the Muslims in their city are, that they may pray with insighreach out. (1 Corinthians 13:12)
25th Day (5/7) Pray for Sanaa, Yemen
The Old City area in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a is known for its rich history and magnificent buildings. Sana’a has been inhabited for more than 2,500 years and some of the current buildings date back to the pre-Islamic era. Made of clay, these ancient skyscrapers reach up to 14 meters, with elaborate decorations and stained-glass windows. More than 100 mosques, among them one of the oldest in the world, are also found here.
Yet the Muslim residents who live in these beautiful houses face great suffering. The Yemeni civil war started in 2014 and has evolved into the biggest humanitarian crisis worldwide. 3 million people suffer from acute malnutrition and four-fifths of the entire population requires urgent humanitarian assistance. The Covid-19 pandemic has made the situation even worse.
Although the people of Sana’a are used to suffering, many are now struggling to simply survive. Ramadan is celebrated in a very traditional way in the Old City of Sana’a, but it is challenging for many to find the resources to have something like a typical Eid party to celebrate as most wish they could.
Officially the religion in Yemen is 100% Islam, but more people are turning to Christ in these times. The very few local followers of Jesus are bold in their witness when it comes to showing the love of Christ by supporting the people around them and speaking about their eternal hope.
How to Pray
- Pray for the many suffering people in this city and that the Lord will have mercy on them. Pray for political and practical solutions to the long-lasting conflict in the city and the whole country. (Isaiah 26:1-4)
- Ask God to reveal Himself through dreams and visions to the Muslim residents of Sana’a. (Job 33:14-15)
- Pray that the few believers in the city would have the boldness and resources to witness about their hope through word and deed and see many in Sana’a come to faith in Christ. (Philippians 4:4-7)
24th Day (5/6) Pray for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Usually, Aminah would have taken the elevated train with her roommates but she was running late and didn’t get breakfast before she left for school. So, she stopped at the fresh orange juice machine at her station and paid with an app on her phone. She didn’t have to worry if the drink was halal or not, as you could watch the oranges being squeezed through the window.
Aminah felt so privileged to be on a government scholarship and she wanted to make her family proud; so she would make sure she wasn’t late again, and she would stick with her housemates to avoid the dangers of travelling on the train alone.
Malaysia is officially a Muslim nation although it is also ethnically diverse, with about 61% of the population identifying as Muslim. Kuala Lumpur (locally known as “KL”) has a population of just under 8 million and Aminah is one of almost 500,000 university students in the city. She is a Malay, from a village in another state. Many new students are more open to the Gospel when they are learning and exploring new ideas away from home.
Malaysia now has 4 universities in the global top 150, so young Christians can come from anywhere and be a blessing to Muslims at universities in KL, while getting a degree at about one-third of what it costs in many Western nations.
How to Pray
- Pray for Christians in KL to reach out across barriers of religion, race, and language to share about Jesus with Muslims. (Romans 8:38-39)
- Pray for legal barriers to sharing the gospel in Malaysia to be diminished. (Proverbs 21:1)
- Pray for student ministries in KL and for Christians in the universities to be a good testimony of Christ. (Jeremiah 1:7-8)
23nd Day (5/5) Pray for Dhaka, Bangladesh
Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Many residents came to Dhaka from rural areas with the hope of finding work and education. There is work, but the working conditions are extremely tough.
Editor’s note: We have included two articles about Dhaka in the 2021 edition, because of how large and strategic this city is for your prayers.
Maliha is one of the countless workers in Dhaka’s clothing factories. Even during Ramadan, she sets off for the factory at 7:00 a.m., where she works 12 to 14 hours a day. For most of the time, she sits at the sewing machine and turns pieces of fabric into t-shirts for a western fashion label. When she comes home tired in the evening, she breaks the fast and says her prayers before resting for a while. Maliha is looking forward to the Eid at the end of Ramadan when she and her family will welcome many guests into their small home, as is tradition among Bengali Muslims.
More than half of the population lives in poverty in this rapidly growing mega-city. Many women like Maliha earn very little in the sweatshops. The chance that they will hear about Jesus is small, because there are very few efforts to share the gospel in Bangladesh, and only about a quarter of them are focused on Muslims, although they make up 90% of the population. It is estimated that there are less than 1000 believers with a Muslim background in Dhaka.
How to Pray
- Pray for courage and opportunities for the small number of believers in Dhaka, especially those of a Muslim background, to share their faith. (2 Timothy 2:1-7)
- Pray for more church planting efforts in Dhaka, with organizations putting resources into this massively strategic city. (Romans 10:13-14)
- Pray for business and factory owners to hear the Good News and become those who influence society and improve the situation for factory workers. (Matthew 19:16-30)
22nd Day (5/4) Pray for Sydney, Australia
Muslims account for less than 2% of the Australian population, but approximately 40% of the Muslim population lives in the modern, multi-cultural city of Sydney. Muslims in Sydney are ethnically, linguistically, and culturally diverse, having come from more than 120 countries.
Ali is from a strongly Muslim nation but has found refuge and work in Sydney. A friend invited him along to a home fellowship, where he knew followers of Jesus gathered for prayer and Bible study.
Ali had been warned about ‘churches’ all his life and would certainly not want to be seen entering a church building. This city seemed to be filled with endless cultural centers, places of worship, and places of debauchery. And Ali steadfastly avoided them all. But this seemed different. These were mostly people from his own country, or countries nearby. Ali was both interested and sceptical and went along with his friend to see what it was about.
Ali enjoyed the meal and was intrigued by the group’s sincere desire to follow Scripture. Impressed by the way everyone loved and respected one another, despite different ages, genders, jobs, and nationalities, Ali kept coming to the meeting and eventually came to know and love Jesus too.
The house fellowship meetings included familiar elements of his home country’s hospitality and language, but the love of the community was radically different, and Ali heard and believed the gospel in an environment of community, respect and love.
How to Pray
- Pray for many Christians in Sydney to be willing to show Christlike love to immigrants, students, and visitors from Muslim countries. (Ephesians 2:19)
- Pray for Muslims in Sydney to understand and be transformed by the love and life of Christ. (Romans 12:9)
- May God continue to use the movement of people around the world to bring those from “closed” countries into contact with the gospel for His glory! (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)
21st Day (5/3) Pray for Basel, Switzerland
Here in the church, it began when a Kurdish footballer got saved. He joyfully and passionately passed on the message of Jesus to his family and friends. Through him, a friend, his sister, his girlfriend, his cousin and another colleague came to Jesus.”
The metropolitan area of Basel is home to 1.3 million people and extends across the three countries of Switzerland, France and Germany. The “Biovalley” on the Rhine owes its economic strength to the chemical and pharmaceutical sector and to medical, nano and biotechnology. This life science industry attracts many foreigners to the Swiss city.
About 10% of Basel’s population are Muslims. Many came first as guest workers and later as asylum seekers. Two-thirds of them are from Turkey. Most of the 8,000 Turks and 10,000 Kurds who live in the Swiss city of Basel are officially defined as Muslims, but are deeply disappointed by the situation in their homelands. They had to leave their countries (Iraq, Syria, Turkey) for political and economic reasons.
To build relationships and trust, believers have long offered German lessons and children’s clubs in some of the migrant neighborhoods in the city and the outlying districts. After decades of prayer, the positive reactions of second-generation Kurds are now very encouraging for the communities in the region.
How to Pray
- Pray that God would reveal Himself to many Muslims in Basel and through them will reach their circles of friends. (Acts 2:40-42)
- Pray that Swiss and migrant believers would live together in unity and live out a powerful witness for Muslims in migrant neighborhoods. (Psalm 133:1)
- Pray for the challenges that immigrant Muslim families face in Basel from moving to a very different culture and raising children who grow up in that culture. (Psalm 20:1-5)
20th Day (5/2) Pray for Nairobi, Kenya
Nairobi is the capital of Kenya, with a population of over 4.3 million people. The Muslim population in Nairobi is largely immigrant: the Nubi in Kibra (Kibera) who came to Kenya around 1850, the Swahili Muslims who came from Mombasa and Kenya’s coastal counties, and the Somalis from Somalia.
Inside the Eastleigh suburb in Nairobi exists the third largest population of urban Somalis in Africa outside their homeland. Somali Muslims in Nairobi are conservative both in culture and religion. Their group is a majority among Muslims in Nairobi but a minority in the city compared to Christians. They are influential in business and perceived as hardworking, but hostile and conservative by other communities. However, some younger, educated Somalis are more secular and engage more with non-Muslims.
Somalis are the largest unreached people group in Kenya but because their people are associated with extremist groups, many Kenyan Christians are afraid to engage with them. Some Christian workers, however, have been courageously offering the gospel through their witness, community assistance and hosting public meetings with Muslim scholars, to discuss their faith.
Abdi became a follower of Christ at university. His Muslim family refuses to have anything to do with him, and he has also found it difficult to connect with Christians in Nairobi, who are suspicious of him. He and a few other Somali Christians have started meeting privately with a local pastor to pray about starting a Somali fellowship that reaches out to their own people.
How to Pray
- Pray for young Muslims in Nairobi so be increasingly open to talk about faith with Christians in the city. (Romans 10:17)
- Pray that Kenyan Christians would be bold in their witness and prepared to talk with Muslims about their experience of Christ. (Romans 10:14-15)
- Pray for many Somali Muslims in Nairobi to follow Jesus and establish new fellowships among their people. (1 Peter 3:15).
19th Day (5/1) Pray for Karachi, Pakistan
Located on the coast of southern Pakistan, Karachi is known as the economic hub of the country. The residents of Karachi are very diverse. Over the years, immigrants from various parts of the country have arrived in the city in search of better work opportunities. Nearly all the over 400 unreached people groups in Pakistan are represented in Karachi’s population. Additionally, large groups of refugees from Afghanistan and Bangladesh now call Karachi home.
The city boasts a population estimated at 15 million and is 95% Muslim. Of these Muslims, many different sects may be found with views that range from tightly conservative to very liberal. A small Christian minority resides in the city, but they are often persecuted and looked down upon. Most do not have an interest in reaching their Muslim neighbors.
The desperation, disorganisation, and poverty that brought the bulk of immigrants to Karachi is also evident in the culture of the city. Complaints are common about poor infrastructure, economic disparity, corruption in leadership, crime, and gender inequality. On a more personal level, Karachiites speak of on-going family quarrels, betrayal in friendships, domestic violence, emotional blackmail, and only being able to trust themselves.
Residents who have given up hope for change will say, “This is Pakistan,” in a fatalistic tone. They are resigned to the brokenness of their city, but change is possible.
How to Pray
- Pray for the Church in Karachi to live in the opposite spirit of confusion, disorganisation and corruption and show the way to the truth and the life of Christ. (John 14:6)
- Pray for Muslims in Karachi to have dreams and revelations of Jesus. (Acts 2:17-18)
- Pray for more Christian workers in Karachi, to bring the light and love of Christ to the city. (1 John 1:1-7)
18th Day (4/30) Pray for Berlin, Germany
As Bernd rides the subway home, he thinks about meeting his friend Murat. Murat is Yemeni Arab who came to Berlin as a businessman. After setting up a successful trade in ethnic jewelry, he was able to invest in an entire building. Murat turned part of the building into a popular Arabic restaurant and in the other part of the building, he has set up a mosque, decorated in traditional Yemeni style.
About 200 men come for the midday prayer on Friday, filling the room. Bernd is impressed by Murat’s commitment to be a good Muslim, even sacrificing space in his business. Bernd has been to Murat’s mosque many times. Murat, as head of the mosque, has assured Bernd, “The doors are always open for you. You are no stranger here.”
Together the two men sit on the floor of the mosque. First, they talk about their families, then Bernd tells Murat a story from the Bible. Murat knows the Quran very well, but he finds the stories from the Old Testament very interesting. Bernd learns a lot about Islam from Murat as well.
Bernd hopes to move from telling Old Testament stories, to sharing stories of Jesus. He prays with Murat, for his family and business, finishing his prayers by stroking his hands over his face, in the same way Muslims do and is cordially invited to return.
How to Pray
- There are 50 unreached Muslim ethnic groups in Berlin. Pray for them to hear the good news of Christ and for fellowships of believers to start. (Isaiah 56:6-7)
- Pray for the Church in Germany to be a blessing to their Muslim neighbours and share their faith, like Bernd. (John 3:1-15)
- Pray for the Yemenis in Berlin, to hear the gospel and share it among their networks in Yemen, where it is harder to reach. (Romans 10:14)
17th Day (4/29) Pray for Toronto, Canada
The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is known as the most ethnolinguistically diverse metro area in North America and possibly the world. It is a present-day example of what Paul said in Acts 17:26-27: “[God] made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth…”
At least 500,000 Muslim individuals live in the Greater Toronto Area, which makes them a significant minority in a city that is a global hub. There are around 220 mosque communities in GTA. Many Muslims immigrated to Toronto due to wars, privation, poverty, disappointment with Islam, better educational opportunities, and persecution. The majority of Canadian Muslims have come from countries where they have had no opportunity to discover Jesus Christ.
Mohamed, a Muslim from Syria, is pursuing his college degree in Canada. He said, “Generally speaking, Muslims would love to hear you mention them in your prayers.”
Muslims desire to be in paradise with God. But they must see that eternity with Him only comes through knowing Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Mohamed added he is thankful for Christians who ask how they can pray for their Muslim friends. Such a simple act can be a profound demonstration of Christ’s love.
How to Pray
- Pray for immigrants, adapting to the climate, culture, and changes of life in Toronto. (Deuteronomy 10:18-19)
- Pray for the Holy Spirit to draw Mohamed and others like him to faith in Christ, so that they can show other Muslims the beauty of the gospel. (Matthew 25:35-40)
- Pray that Toronto’s Muslims become friends with Christians and have positive experiences with the Canadian church. (Acts 17:26-28)
16th Day (4/28) Pray for Doha, Qatar
While chatting after work one day, David invited Khalid out for coffee at the Doha business where he had recently been transferred from England. Khalid accepted enthusiastically. David was new in Doha, but very friendly, and seemed interested in getting to know the Qatari residents of the city. Most of the residents in Doha are not actually from Qatar, but are migrant workers, mostly from south or southeast Asia. Khalid was also curious about David’s faith, as he had heard David talking with another colleague about where to find a place for Christian worship in the city.
Priya came to Doha two years ago from India, to work in a hotel so she could send money to her family. The coronavirus pandemic caused many migrant workers in low-paid jobs to go without salaries for a time. Priya relied on food donations and support from members of the expat church she attends every Friday, which is the day of worship in Muslim Qatar. Some of Priya’s fellow workers from India and Nepal saw the help she received from the Christian community and began to attend with her.
There are an estimated 150,000 Christians in Doha, most of them Catholic migrant workers. Expats like David and Priya have opportunities to discreetly share their faith with others in the city, which is the largest population center in Qatar. Christians are allowed to practice their faith, but it is illegal to proselytize so it is important to be sensitive and respectful, but it is possible.
How to Pray
- Pray for the safety of migrant workers in Doha, who work long hours in uncertain conditions. (Psalm 91:1-16)
- Pray for Christians in Doha to be bold but wise in their witness. (Matthew 10:16)
- Pray for many residents of Doha – Qatari and expat – to come to faith in Jesus. (John 14:6)
15th Day (4/27) Pray for Samarkand, Uzbekistan
Samarkand is a beautiful, almost mythical city, made famous as a crossroads on the Silk Road trading route. The city boasts three historic sections: the ancient 7th century city destroyed by Genghis Khan in the 13th century; the medieval city of the 14-15th centuries when Islamic art and architecture were very influential; and the 19th and 20th century developments built by Russians.
Most of Samarkand’s population identify themselves as ethnically Tajik, which is a Persian culture, as opposed to Uzbek, which is a Turkic people group. Cultural differences between these groups can sometimes cause tension. Uzbekistan is almost entirely Muslim, but Samarkand has a small Christian population consisting mostly of Russian Orthodox Christians, Catholics and other denominations who appeared in the city after the independence of Uzbekistan in 1991.
During the 1990s, Uzbekistan’s government opened the previously closed nation up to the rest of the world following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Business and tourism were encouraged, enabling foreign workers to enter cities like Samarkand, including Christians who taught English and shared the gospel. Local fellowships of consisting of new believers from a Muslim background were established.
In 2006, this freedom ended, and foreign workers were expelled. Along with this the persecution of Christians began. However, the church in Samarkand and other parts of Uzbekistan had been discipled well and the indigenous church grew, and it remains small, but strong. Christians of both Tajik and Uzbek backgrounds meet in house churches and reach out to other Muslims in their personal networks.
How to Pray
- Christianity was introduced to Samarkand even before Islam, and though it has been suppressed repeatedly, it keeps growing. Pray for freedom of religion in this city and this nation. (Matthew 5:44)
- Pray for believers and fellowships in Samarkand to grow, be strong and be a bold witness. (Colossians 1:3-6)
- Pray for many in Samarkand to hear the gospel and respond to it. (Matthew 7:24-25)
14th Day (4/26) Pray for Yangon, Myanmar
Tourists in Myanmar’s former capital, Yangon, are often impressed with the sight of golden Buddhist pagodas and thousands of monks in red robes. Few visitors notice the many mosques which stand witness to a long and rich history of Muslims in Yangon. Today, officially 5% of Yangon’s population are Muslims, around 350,000. An estimated 10-20 % of them are Rohingya from Rakhine State, but most are from Indian, Burmese, or even Chinese ethnic backgrounds.
Many Rohingya in Yangon today fled there for safety. Many still have family members in Rakhine State, where a decades-old conflict has led to the loss of basic rights and widespread violence for many. Other Rohingya in Yangon have their family spread out, becoming refugees across the world, but often in neighbouring Bangladesh.
Editors note: Since writing this article, there has been a coup in Yangon and the military has been harshly cracking down on protesters. Please take time to read more via OMF International.
Rohingya children in a refugee camp | By Peter Biro, European Union via Flickr CC
Traveling to see these distant family members is often not possible. “I haven’t seen my mother in over 20 years. I miss her!” one Rohingya man recently told a friend. Prejudice, discrimination, and persecution, however, are not limited to Rohingya, but extends to Muslims from other backgrounds as well.
There are no known believers among the Rohingya, and very few from other Muslim groups, in Yangon. There is very little outreach to Muslims by either international workers or local believers. Some within the Burmese church have made comments like “Jesus didn’t die for the Rohingya people!” and negative feelings about Muslims are present among more than a few.
How to Pray
- The situation of Muslims in Yangon seems hopeless, but we know that “The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble” (Psalm 9:9).
- Pray that Muslims who are longing for true peace and reconciliation would encounter the truth and beauty of Jesus. (Romans 15:13)
- Pray for God to give the local Burmese speaking churches a heart for their Muslim neighbours. (1 John 2:3-6)
13th Day (4/25) Pray for Paris, France
Paris has one of the largest Muslim populations in Europe. It has a diverse and growing community, largely consisting of immigrants and refugees from former French colonies in North and West Africa. In total, France has about 1.7 million Muslim residents.
Mahamadu collapses onto his bed, exhausted. He’s finished his cleaning job and has a few hours before his night shift as a security guard starts. But he cannot relax, because it is a Sunday, the day the members of his extended family visit the hostel where he lives with a hundred other Soninke immigrant workers. It is a day for discussing family problems in France and deciding how much money they need to send back to their home village in Mali. Mahamandu’s daughter in Mali is ill, so he is worried that he will not have enough money for her as well as giving his contribution towards the food for the upcoming Eid festival.
Mahamadu’s life is typical for the more than 100,000 Soninke immigrants in the greater Paris region, working in multiple low-paid jobs to earn enough to support their families back in West Africa. Most of them have never met a true follower of Jesus or heard the Gospel. Nevertheless, there are a few believers who live in isolation and experience persecution from their community.
Soninke Communities are found all over the world, particularly in France. They come from West Africa, where they have been traders for generations. The Soninke converted to Islam in the 11th century and nearly all of them are devout Muslims – proud of their 900 years of Islamic heritage.
How to Pray
- Pray that Soninke immigrants in Paris will find the work they need to do well in France and also support their families in West Africa.
- Pray for all Muslims in Paris to encounter followers of Christ in this city and for more Christian workers to come here with the goal of sharing Jesus. (Matthew 9:38)
- Pray for protection for the few believers from a Muslim background, and that many other Soninke in Paris would come to know Christ. (John 14:6)
12th Day (4/24) Pray for Kampala, Uganda
Faduma wanders with her basket through the morning crowds of the Somali quarter in Kampala. Every day, she gets up before sunrise to prepare anjero, the traditional flatbread that Somalis eat for breakfast. By selling bread, she tries to provide for her three children. For five years she has been living in “Little Mogadishu,” a slum in Kampala. Most Somalis who fled the civil war in Somalia and came to Uganda, are here. Faduma is a single mother. She has hardly any education, and does not speak any English, which is the official language in Uganda, and thus cannot find work.
An estimated 12 percent of Kampala’s 1.7 million inhabitants are Muslims. Some belong to native Muslim ethnic groups or have come from the Arab world and established themselves as successful businesspeople. In quite a different part of the city live about 20,000 Somali refugees, who have mostly settled in “Little Mogadishu”. Without schooling or vocational training, they have few opportunities to improve their lives and are often feared or shunned by their host country.
A team of Ugandan Christians has begun to address the plight of Muslims in the Somali part of the city. They want to help young Somalis in particular, offering English lessons, computer courses, or football training. At the same time, they are trying to build a bridge between Ugandan Christians and Somalis, who are almost entirely Muslim. They encourage and train Christians to get involved with the people in the Somali neighbourhoods, praying for them and sharing the love of Jesus.
How to Pray
- Pray that many Ugandan Christians will be a witness of God’s love to the Somali Muslims in their city. (Colossians 4:2-6)
- Pray that many Somalis who are mired in the hopelessness of refugee life, encounter loving support and practical help from Christians. (Psalm 40:9-10)
- Pray that Somalis might have life- changing encounters with Jesus that they can share with their networks back in Somalia. (2 Corinthians 9:11- 14)
11th Day (4/23) Pray for Jakata, Indonesia
Jarot is a university student in Jakarta, Indonesia. He came to the capital city from a smaller town in his island nation to study engineering, but he has found it a challenge. He struggles with being so far away from his family and community.
Like many Indonesians, Jarot grew up culturally Muslim, but was not particularly devout. He made friends with a group at university who were exploring a movement called hijrah. Hijrah is an Arabic word for a journey, sometimes interpreted as repentance, and the movement encourages people to adopt a more religious lifestyle, following Islamic conduct and rituals carefully. The hijrah movement has been endorsed by several Indonesian celebrities and has become popular among young people who are looking for meaning and purpose.
Rachel is part of the Christian minority in Jakarta. Her church in Jakarta has friendly relationships with local mosques, and she sometimes takes part in inter-faith meetings that they host on the campus. She met Jarot at one of these gatherings, where he was curious to learn about the Christian idea of repentance. Rachel prays he will want to learn more.
Indonesia is a secular democracy and most Indonesians support a pluralist society with Muslims, Hindus, Christians and others living peaceably together. Some are concerned that a movement like hijrah could threaten that peace. Islam is by far the dominant religion in Indonesia, in fact, it has the largest Muslim population in the world with 225 million Muslims. Jakarta has a slightly more diverse population, with 84% of the residents being Muslim and 11% Christian.
How to Pray
- Pray for freedom of religion and peaceful co-existence between different faith communities in Jakarta. (Romans 12:18)
- One quarter of Jakarta’s population is under the age of 25. Pray for young people looking for meaning and purpose to find it in Christ. (2 Timothy 2:22)
- Pray for Christians in Jakarta, to be wise and diligent in sharing their faith. (Colossians 4:6)
10th Day (4/21) Pray for Dhaka, Bangladesh
Bengali Muslims are one of the largest unreached people groups on earth and the majority of them live in Bangladesh. The capital city, Dhaka, is home to an estimated 20 million people, which makes the city one of the world’s fastest growing megacities. Almost 90% of the residents are Muslim.
Young Muslims in Dhaka can be conflicted by the options their city offers. On one hand, the everyday life of Bengali Muslims is influenced by increasingly conservative teaching in the mosques. In recent years, these teachings have also influenced traditional Bengali culture.
For example, the Bengali “gaie holud” celebration which traditionally takes place a few days before a wedding ceremony: at this celebration, visitors color the bride and groom’s faces yellow and feed them sweets. But according to the teaching in some mosques, this celebration is labeled as, “not Muslim,” and people have stopped practicing it. This conservative influence is also seen on the streets as more and more women wear the burka in public.
On the other hand, through social media and the internet, Bengali Muslims see a free world outside of their city, with many options. Dhaka offers anonymity and subcultures to explore new ideas and lifestyles. Some Christians take this opportunity to inform seekers about the Christian faith and try to answer their questions about Islam.
How to Pray
- Pray for Dhaka’s needs as a growing megacity. It faces many overwhelming challenges with overcrowding, frequent flooding, and pollution. Pray for wise leadership and good management. (Isaiah 26:1-3)
- Pray for Muslims in Dhaka to have opportunities to learn about what it means to follow Christ. (Psalm 119:9-10)
- Pray for the physical and spiritual protection of Christians who live in Dhaka and for them to be an effective witness of Jesus. (1 Timothy 4)
9th Day (4/21) Pray for Multan, Pakistan
Suriya lives in Multan, the seventh largest city in Pakistan. Most of the 2 million inhabitants are Muslims. The city is in the province of Punjab, known as “the land of the five streams” but Multan is known for dust, extreme heat, beggars, and many graves of Sufi saints. Every day many people make pilgrimages to Rukn-i-Alam, the most famous mausoleum in the city. They hope that prayers for their needs will be answered there.
Like most women in Multan, Suriya belongs to a conservative Muslim family. Although living in a city means that many girls can go to school, parents usually arrange for their daughters to be married at a very young age. When Suriya got married her husband’s family expected her to become pregnant as soon as possible. It was also hoped that she would have a son, considered an honor and important in their culture.
But Suriya was childless. Like many other women in her situation, she suffered the contempt of family and society. Her mother-in-law threatened to send her away and get a new wife for her son. Suriya was desperate.
Eventually, Suriya learned about a clinic run by Christians that treats infertile women. The staff there want to be a testimony of God’s love to their patients. Suriya had a consultation and someone prayed for her. She returned home, comforted, and hopeful. A few months later a miracle happened, and she discovered that she was pregnant!
Will she remember Jesus, in whose name she was prayed for, and open her heart to Him?
How to Pray
- Pray for women like Suriya to experience the love and acceptance of Jesus. (1 Corinthians 1:28-29)
- Pray for health clinics like this to be light and salt in Multan and for Christians to find practical ways to bless their city. (Hebrew 13:16)
- Pray for those who seek help at the graves of Sufi saints, to have a revelation of Christ and find the help they need. (Psalm 40:1)
8th Day (4/20) Pray for Houston, USA
There are over 3,000 churches in Houston, Texas alone, and an estimated 80,000 Muslims reside in that city. God has answered the prayers of the Church for Muslim people groups to gain access to the gospel. Muslims from around the world now live down the street from many American Christians!
A few Christians in Houston understand this incredible opportunity and are befriending Muslims in their communities. A piano teacher welcomes Muslims into his class with the hope of sharing his faith with his students and their parents. Young adults move into apartment buildings that are predominantly Muslim occupied to have more opportunities to get to know their Muslim neighbors. Two Christian women involved in their church’s English language program made themselves available for Muslim English students to study the Bible outside of class. One organisation has arranged for six Christians and six Muslims to study parallel stories from the Bible and the Qur’an together for six weeks.
The church in Houston is being creative and determined about reaching local Muslims. One mission group delivered 2,671 contextualized Gospels of Luke to Pakistani Muslims. This led to 14 Muslims choosing to follow Jesus. A distinguished Muslim scholar walked into a Houston church to learn English. A church member befriended him, and they began to meet weekly. Today, that Muslim scholar is a seminary student. A young Pakistani man encountered Jesus in his dreams. Then he walked into a Houston church requesting baptism. As Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful…!” (Matthew 9:37) and in Houston, it is indeed ripe.
How to Pray
- Pray for Muslims in Houston, to be blessed and encouraged in friendship with Christians. (Luke 10:25-37)
- Pray for Christian groups living and working in Houston to pursue authentic relationships with their Muslim neighbours and find ways to bless them. (Proverbs 11:11)
- Pray for many Muslims in Houston to experience the love of Christ through His followers and come to faith in Him. (1 Timothy 2:1-6)
7th Day (4/19) Pray for Kolkata, India
Kolkata, the original capital of India, is known for its rich culture, famous sweets, and beautiful art. It also has a powerful history in missions – William Carey, “the father of modern missions,” established his ministries there in the late 1700s.
Muslims make up 20.6 percent of the 4.5 million people of Kolkata. Some are native to Kolkata, but many of these Muslims come from nearby states or the neighboring country of Bangladesh. While they live in close communities, their expertise in business is an important part of daily life for everyone in the city.
During Ramadan, the streets overflow with strong fragrances and excitement as people shop for new clothes and celebrate all month long. In many ways, their vibrant culture is the heartbeat of the city, but the Muslim communities in Kolkata often live in fear. As a religious minority, they are not fully accepted by the rest of the community. And there have been many targeted attacks against innocent Muslims in the name of religion. They long to live a normal life like everyone else.
But in the midst of the fear and struggles, there are small gatherings of believers woven throughout those Muslim communities. Muslims in Kolkata are slowly coming to faith in Christ. They are sharing the truth and salvation they have found in Jesus with their family and friends.
How to Pray
- Muslims in Kolkata fear government changes that could lead to more persecution. Pray that the local government would be protective and sympathetic towards minorities, so that the Muslim community can live in peace. (Psalm 112)
- Pray that as the Muslim community seeks safety and acceptance, they would find it in Christ and the fellowship of believers. (Ephesians 4:1-3)
- Pray that the believers in Kolkata would see the Muslim community through the eyes of Christ. May God give them a deep desire to see their brothers and sisters come to know the one true God. (Colossians 4:2-6)
6th Day (4/18) Pray for Athens, Greece
Athens, Greece, the “cradle of western civilization”, has long been a major influencer of world culture. It is famous for the Apostle Paul’s speech at Mars Hill where he said, “From one man He has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. He did this so they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.” – Acts 17:26-27
In recent years, thousands of Muslims have fled war-torn and poverty-stricken homelands for the relative safety of Athens. For possibly the first time in their lives, they can perhaps meet Christians who come from a Muslim background.
A church planter from Iraq said, “People in the West are afraid Europe is going to become a Muslim continent. But those of us who have chosen to follow Christ are also headed there and we are going to share our faith.”
On one occasion, an elderly Pakistani Muslim asked to be baptized after receiving Christ as his Lord and Savior. Upon leaving the beach south of Athens, he saw a man jogging down the street and said, “I feel like a young boy again, like I could outrun that man. I am a new creation. I’m full of the joy of the Lord.”
Other similar stories are happening in Athens, as more are being saved and lives are transformed.
How to Pray
- Pray for refugees in Athens who have suffered and lost much, for them to rebuild their lives and find peace. (Ephesians 2:17-21)
- Pray for pastors, church planters and organizations who are working among refugees, for their ministry to be effective and for them to have the resources to serve. (Mark 16:15-18)
- Pray for dreams and visions that will lead Muslims into conversations with followers of Christ. Pray that many Muslim refugees would find God amidst their challenges (Psalm 139)
5th Day (4/17) Pray for N’Djaména, Chad
N’Djaména is the capital of Chad, one of the poorest countries in the world and it is the only urban centre in the nation. A swelteringly hot city or the border of Cameroon, N’Djaména boasts of a population of 1.5 million, half of whom are Muslim.
The people of Chad live between the ancient and the modern: cooking on an open three-stone hob, while next door a smartphone rings. If someone gets enough money, he installs air conditioning in his mud hut. Someone who had tended goats 30 years ago could become a minister of government today. Of course, such a rapid social change is only reserved for a few: most struggle to maintain a simple livelihood for their family.
The big city offers more possibilities and freedoms. Questions are asked here which do not come up in the traditional village, such as:
“Why is my Christian neighbor such a ‘good person’?” or “Why can’t Islam change my heart?”
Individuals are coming to faith in Isa al-Masih and, for the first time in the history of the city, they are not alone: small groups are formed for reading the Bible together. Many Muslim parents send their children to Christian schools where they learn to know and love Bible stories.
Recently, thousands of digital memory cards with the gospel message were distributed. One young man loaded music over the text on his card. But later, he had the same dream three times in which he heard the words: “Why have you wiped the content from your card?” He went looking for the person who had given him the card and, as a result of his search, came to faith in Jesus.
How to Pray
- Pray for the Muslim men, women and children in N’Djaména to find abundant life in Jesus. (John 10:9-11)
- Pray for children attending Christian schools, that through the witness of their teachers and learning Bible stories they will come to follow Jesus. (Matthew 19:13-14)
- Pray for Muslim background believers to be faithful in following Jesus and experience His protection and blessing over their lives. (Hebrews 10:23)
4th Day (4/16) Pray for New York, USA
How are you? How’s your family?” Abdul warmly greets a customer buying a sandwich. After exchanging greetings, the African American Muslim customer drops change in two buckets next to the cash register which are collecting funds for new mosques in New York City and Yemen. “For the umma!” (the Muslim community) the customer says.
New York City is home to one of the most diverse Muslim communities in the world. They are American, Arab, South Asian, African, European, Central Asian, and even Hispanic. Muslims have a visible presence in the city through workers (taxi drivers, street vendors, and many small business owners are often Muslim), through mosques (there are several hundred), and in parts of the city where dense immigrant populations reflect their home culture.
20 years ago, New York City faced the 9/11 terror attack which is widely remembered in the USA. Since that event, there have been efforts to strengthen relations between the city and its Muslim population. Several Christian organisations in the city have helped New York Christians form sincere friendships with Muslims. With Muslims in New York City deeply connected to their home countries and the diaspora, God has provided new gateways for spreading His Word to the ends of the earth.
How to Pray
- Pray for Christian organizations and churches in New York City, to be light and salt to the Muslim community. (Matthew 5:13-16)
- Muslims in the city are burdened by urban living expenses and the responsibility to send money home to families abroad. Pray God gives them peace and wisdom, and that He spreads His light through their influence. (Luke 12: 31-34)
- Muslims in NYC often work over 60 hours a week. Pray for creative means of sharing the gospel and discipling, like social media efforts, to bear fruit. (John 15:4-8)
3rd Day (4/15) Pray for Birmingham, England
Birmingham is the manufacturing heart of England. After World War II, a severe labour shortage in the city’s factories prompted the government to invite unskilled workers from South Asia. In 1966, around 50,000 displaced rural farmers immigrated from Mirpur, Pakistan. The city’s Muslim community has since expanded to make up around 25% of its population. They are a mixture of second and third generation South Asians, as well as many migrants and refugees from Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Faisal is a young asylum seeker from Afghanistan who travelled to Birmingham two years ago. He runs a barber shop in one of the city’s most concentrated South Asian areas. He is a hard worker, careful and attentive – his customers like him. Faisal does not have “leave-to-remain” in the UK, which means he cannot legally work. Despite this, he opens his shop for 10 hours every day, hoping the authorities won’t catch him.
Muslim ladies in England | Photo by Garry Knights via Flickr CC
Soon after he arrived, Faisal learned about Jesus from a city church that welcomes asylum seekers. He faithfully attends Sunday services and a mid-week fellowship group. His Muslim housemates don’t know about his new faith, so he hides his Bible and does not pray openly. He has lost all contact with his family in Afghanistan and longs to find out if they are OK. However, his legal status prevents him from traveling.
How to Pray
- Pray that, like the church Faisal attends, other churches in Birmingham will intentionally welcome their Muslim neighbours. And pray for God’s blessing on those believers who are are already reaching out. (Psalm 119:132-133)
- Pray that social barriers between communities in Birmingham will fall. Some areas have become ethnic and religious enclaves. (Matthew 5:14-15)
- Birmingham is a large city, with issues common to large cities. Pray that drug trafficking, knife crime and gang violence will end. Some initiatives are bearing fruit but there is still a long way to go. (Titus 2:11-14)
2nd Day (4/14) Pray for Cairo, Egypt
Cairo is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. With a population of around 20 million, it is the largest city in Africa, and about the 6th largest city on the planet. 90% of the city is Muslim, mostly Sunni Muslim, and more Muslims arrive regularly as refugees from places like war-torn Yemen.
There are estimates of up to a million Yemeni people living in Cairo. They fled their homes because of the war and are now stranded in the city. Many also came to receive medical treatment here.
“Why do you Christians help us foreigners?” is the question many Yemenis ask when they encounter Christians in Cairo.
Aisha was a ten-year old girl suffering from leukaemia. Unable to get treatment in Yemen, her parents brought her to Cairo, where they lived in terrible conditions. But many local hospitals do not treat refugees fairly and they could not afford the inflated cost of a bone marrow transplant. Thankfully, Aisha’s family met a group of Egyptian and foreign Christians who had established a network of doctors and clinics which offered treatment for fair prices and managed donations to help those in need of care. Through this group, Aisha was finally able to receive her treatment.
“Why do you Christians help us foreigners?” is the question many Yemenis ask when they encounter Christians in Cairo.
Through practical, merciful help to those in need, some Christians in Cairo are forming friendships with the Yemeni community and showing them the love of God. Pray for this to increase and bear much fruit!
How to Pray
- Pray that people of all faiths in Cairo will work together to solve the problems faced by rapid growth – such as the supply of water, food, education and housing – and help their city to prosper in peace. (Proverbs 11:11)
- Pray for the Yemenis stranded in Cairo, for their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs to be met. (Matthew 25:34-40)
- Pray for the Church in Cairo that, even as a minority, they would be a bold and powerful witness. (Acts 1:8)
1st Day (4/13) Pray for Mecca, Saudi Arabia
We could not focus our prayers on Muslims in cities without considering the most revered of Muslim cities, Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Islam’s founder, Muhammad, was born here and when Muslims pray, they bow in the direction of Mecca. Only Muslims are permitted to enter the city, although a few non-Muslims have managed it.
The city of Mecca has a population of just over 2 million and has no known believers, as you would expect. However, its population is very diverse, as people from all over the world travel here, particularly from South Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa, to see the important and sacred sites and many become residents of this ancient city.
And, of course, every year between 2 and 4 million Muslim pilgrims arrive in Mecca to take part in one of the world’s largest annual gatherings – the religious ritual known as the Hajj, which takes place this year between July 17 and 21. The Hajj is central to the economy of Mecca, with the majority of jobs in the city connected to serving the pilgrims and facilitating the Hajj.
In 2020 and 2021, the coronavirus caused the Hajj to be significantly downsized to help prevent the spread of the disease. This had a significant impact on local businesses and residents, but also fueled ideas for more sustainable ways to manage this large, annual event.
How to pray
- The residents of Mecca have no local access to the message of Christ. Pray for them to hear the gospel through media and other sources. (2 Thessalonians 3:1)
- All Muslims who are physically and financially able are expected to make the pilgrimage once in their lifetime. Pray for the safety of those travelling to Hajj this year. (Psalm 121:7-8)
- If performed correctly, the pilgrimage is believed to excuse all previous sins. Pray for Muslims in Mecca to follow the only One who can can remove our sin, “as far as the east is from the west.” (Psalm 103)