Middle East (MNN) — It’s day four of Hajj, and nearly two million Muslims are participating this week in Saudi Arabia. The Hajj is the world’s single largest gathering of people, and it’s a ritual as old as time to those in the Middle East.
It’s also a time of spiritual hunger as Muslims seek the face of their god. A Christian leader we’ll call “Peter” says his prayer ministry, Cry Out, has been covering the Near East region in prayer for a decade.
During Hajj, they partner with a like-minded organization called Praying Through the Arabian Peninsula, or PTAP, to mobilize event-specific intercession.
“We continue to hear stories of Muslims who encounter Jesus during the Hajj and come back having their lives completely revolutionized.”
The Near East seems hopeless. Why should we pray?
The area Peter defines as the “Near East” encompasses Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. If your first thoughts go to war, death, and destruction when you see those countries listed, you’re not alone.
“All the news media talks about is destruction and issues and problems, so people can get quite fearful,” Peter observes. “You’ve only got to be there to experience the warmth, the hospitality, the people, and everything changes as a result of that.
“As we listen to God’s heart for this region, I think He guides us in our praying. There are many promises in the Word to pray for unreached and to pray for those who are yet to hear the Gospel.”
According to the CIA World Factbook, more than 73 million people live in the Near East region; approximately 84% of them follow Islam. Peter encourages us to remember that these are not just numbers, but individual people. God knows and cares about each one and has a purpose for the region, despite what events and headlines may imply.
“Once you meet them (Muslims) and experience their hearts and see them as ordinary people, I think God just stirs our hearts for them.”
Why Cry Out Now?
Desperate situations call for desperate action. As explained here, “Crying out to God is an act of desperation and total concentration. It is a fervent expression of faith in God and trust in His goodness and power to act on your behalf.” Events like the Hajj are perfect reminders for Christians to cry out to God and seek a spiritual awakening in the Muslim world.
“God is encountering them (Muslims) on the journey,” Peter shares. “We’re seeing God answer [prayers] in ways that we could not have dreamed about when we started 10 years ago.”
As you see headlines on Mission Network News and elsewhere, let them stir you to action.
“Use the news as [a] prayer manual,” Peter suggests. “Every time that Lebanon or Syria or Iraq or Jordan comes up on the news, just ask God to raise up laborers to go…pray for churches to reach out in their local area and to see many of these Muslim people from the Near East coming to know Jesus.
“Let’s see God bring a harvest from Syrians, from Iraqis, from Jordanians, from Lebanese.”
Header photo credit @universalxpics via Twitter.