International (MNN) — ISIS has called on its followers to wage “all-out war” on the West during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, sparking fears of new attacks.
Muslims worldwide observe the month as one of prayer, fasting, and growing closer to Allah. It commemorates the revelation of the Quran to the prophet Mohamed and now serves as one of the five pillars of Islam.
Anthony Rhodes, a spokesman for the Voice of the Martyrs Canada, explains, “For the common Muslim, it is a special time. But I think for radical Islam or militant Islam, it is a time for them to rally together and really advance the cause of Islam.”
In fact, in the days leading up to the beginning of Ramadan on Friday, May 26th, the terror group has claimed a cluster of brazen, violent attacks: England, Egypt, the Philippines, Tunisia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and more. Violence is nothing new during Ramadan, especially corresponding to the rise of ISIS.
However, as more headlines scream alarm over security concerns, condemnation of the carnage, and general coverage of the mayhem, Rhodes urges us not to lose sight of the main thing: the hope of Christ.
A real problem, a real solution
What we’re witnessing is spiritual warfare, and there are ways to deal with it. “As we think about security issues and we think about the threats that are being launched by radical Islam, our best weapons are in prayer. It’s so important to remember to pray for our persecutors because that’s what Jesus has called us to do.” He asks, “What better way to love our enemies than to pray for them — to pray that they would find Christ?”
When believers seek God’s face in confidence, they grow bolder in their prayer. As more Christians pray, God answers in increasingly amazing ways. It sounds unbelievable, but things similar to the conversion of Saul to Paul are happening more and more frequently.
“We see that happening today as well — where persecutors of the Church, where former Taliban, former ISIS soldiers are coming to Christ. Often, it’s through the testimony of those they are persecuting. But often as well, it’s through direct contact, through dreams and visions, where Jesus will appear to them in their dreams and make Himself real to them.”
The right tools for the right job
Tools like the Ramadan Prayercast Challenge can make a difference. “This is where we really see the Gospel advance, through people that really take the time to pray and ask the Lord to intervene.”
Support for the grassroots Church also makes a difference. “One of the best ways to combat persecution is raising up mature disciples of Jesus Christ. These are people then in the country who will continue to be a witness for Christ in the midst of some difficult situations. I think supporting groups and missionaries that are active, in practical ways, is key.”
Read the news. Pray over it. Ask for boldness and guidance as you pray. Pray for the fighters who are creating havoc around the world. Ask God to get hold of them, whatever it takes. Pray for courage for the believers who remain behind to continue in Gospel work…and you might be surprised how God will change the hearts of everyone involved.