What We Know
Many Christian women would agree that we need to pray more for Muslim women, but most of us don’t know enough about them to pray effectively. Informed intercessions are key to moving God’s heart for them. They are also key to growing our love for Muslim women. The more effectively we pray, the more we yearn to live our lives with them and personally love them like Jesus does.
From the onset, we can relax knowing that although we might not know a lot about how their beliefs and faith practices differ from ours, Muslim women are women, period. So, rather than begin with what we don’t know about them, it seems good to start with what we, as Christian women, do know about God. If we were to narrow all we know about God down to four brief statements, what might they say?
In the midst of an extremely trying time, one young mother figured out the answer for herself, and probably for a lot of gals like her. “This is what I know,” she said.
- I am God’s child. (1 Jn. 3:1)
- He loves me unconditionally. (Jn. 3:16, 1 Jn. 3:16, Rom. 8:38-39)
- He is coming back for me. (Jn. 14:1-4)
- Things may get tough, but I can always trust him. (Is. 41:10, Ps. 28:7, Ps. 91:2, Ps. 112:7, Prov. 3:5-6, Rom. 8:2, Deut. 31:6)
Our personal relationships with Christ--what He has proven Himself to be in us, by his Word and in relationship with us--will inform the way we pray for Muslims. We for whom this four-lined confession exudes life-giving and life-sustaining truth, can approach our intercessions gratefully, worshipfully, with certainty for all that is to come, trusting in a God who never fails or leaves us. These things we know well reflect God’s manifested mission to all of humanity from the beginning of time, but they are truths that most Muslims have never even once heard proclaimed.
What Muslims (and thus, Muslim Women) Know
Allah has no children (Qur’an 112:1-4).
To Muslims Allah is God, but not father. He has no sons or daughters. A Muslim’s relationship with Allah is more like that of a servant to a master who can be quick to punish. Muslims strive with their deeds to earn Allah’s approval and the ultimate reward of paradise. Allah is as near to the Muslim as his jugular vein (Surah 50:16), but he is transcendent and unknowable.
Allah loves the Muslim who does good deeds (Qur’an 2:195). Allah does not love the sinner (Qur’an 2:190).
Based on these verses, we see that Allah's love is not unconditional. Islam’s salvation lies in the value of the Muslim’s own good deeds. If a Muslim woman’s good deed credits outweigh her bad ones on the balance of Judgment Day’s scales (mezan), and if on that day Allah is merciful to her, paradise might be her reward. Paradise is a place where comforts and pleasures abound, but eternal fellowship with Allah does not. There exists no atonement for sin in Islam. Judgment is based on deeds. Islam’s Jesus is a great prophet, born of the virgin Mary, but he is not the Son of God who died on the cross for humankind’s sin. Islamic texts deny that Jesus died on the cross, as such a death would signify defeat. Allah provided a substitution for him on the cross, and raised him to himself. (Qur’an 4:157-158)
Jesus will return to Earth prior to judgment day, where he will be key to world Islamization. (Qur’an 43:61, 4:159, numerous Hadith)
Islam tells Muslims that Jesus was a great Muslim prophet, and that He will come back to Earth at Allah’s appointed hour. Muslims anticipate His return as a sign of the end times, because of all he will accomplish for the sake of Islam prior to Judgment Day. Jesus will carry out Allah’s will on Earth for his remaining years here. He will marry, kill Islam’s end-times deceiver, defeat Christianity and die a human death.
Allah pre-destines every aspect of a person’s life. (Qur’an 3:26, 6:59, 14:4, 69:2)
Muslims seek to align themselves with the will of Allah by obeying his commands and practices. When things go well, Muslims might feel it is God’s favor; if things don’t go well, it could be the punishment of Allah for a wrong-doing. It’s less about trusting the character of Allah, and more about one’s own obedience and good works. There is no Holy Spirit to provide guidance, but there is a demonic spiritual realm that entraps many Muslims who need help for life’s felt needs.
Our Starting Point
For the sake of this introductory prayer guide we anchor our supplications for Muslim women in the awareness of these basic, very real differences. There are more differences, of course—but the dire sum of them all is that we get to know Jesus, and without our participation, they don’t. We pray because it is God’s will that every Muslim (thus, every Muslim woman) know the truth about Jesus.
Even though Islam’s beliefs and practices differ greatly from ours as Christians, Muslim women are more like us than we think. When we pray, we don’t pray from atop a pedestal that doesn’t relate on personal levels. We purpose to pray humbly (2 Chron. 7:14, Ps. 25:9), specifically (Jn. 17) and empathetically (Heb. 2:16-18), asking the Lord to reveal any areas in our own lives that might need His special touch as well.
An important part of our being informed about intercessions for Muslim women entails a basic awareness that Islam’s gender-specific practices generally make it more appropriate and effective for Christian women to outreach to Muslim women. Most people are vaguely aware that this dynamic exists. As we grow closer to Muslim women, we learn more about how this works, and we experience the doors that God opens when we pray for and love Muslim women genuinely, in Christ-like friendship. In the meantime, for prayer purposes, we’ll focus on some real ways that our prayers for Muslim women might bless them, ultimately, in a way that leads them to Jesus.
The prayer list that follows is a good place to start when we consider how God wants us to pray for Muslim women. As a list, it befits our prayers for one Muslim woman or vast groups of Muslim women, anywhere and everywhere. In a way that focuses on the answers God has for her, the list encompasses the Muslim woman’s need for Jesus and the probable fears and hindrances that she faces on her journey toward Him.
It is not a comprehensive list, rather an attempt to kindle some sparks that the Holy Spirit’s wind and our personal practice will fan into flames which light others, for the sakes of all the Muslim women God loves and privileges us to love. Because he loved FIRST, and because he loves ALL.
- everywhere she exists, she becomes a seeker of Truth. (2 Cor. 3:18, John 8:32, 14:6)
- wherever she is, God would raise up friends for her—Christian girls who will lovingly share faith in the context of Christ-led friendships.
- wherever she is, the church would outstand in its efforts receive her and patiently invite her to belong. (Is. 43:1, I Cor. 3:23)
- her experience with Christians would typify the hospitality God extends to all of us. (Eph. 2:12, Jn. 13:34)
- she would find the God who is always near and knowable, who sees her and loves her unconditionally. (Ps. 119:151, 145:18; Heb. 10:22, Acts 17:27)
- God would melt her fears of deity into hunger for God’s presence. (Ps. 119:81, Jn. 6:35)
- she will know God loves her. (Rom. 8: 35-39, I Jn. 4:7-20, Ps. 139:1-18)
- she will know God hears her. (Gen. 21:14-21, story of Hagar)
- she would knowledgably identify as God’s daughter. (Luke 8:48, 2 Cor. 6:18)
- as she draws closer to Jesus, she would not fear rejection from her community. (Jn. 15:18)
- her journey to Jesus would compel other Muslims to seek Jesus. (“Christ in [her], the hope of glory” Col. 1:27)
- she would understand the error of Islam and be drawn to the Word of God. (Ps. 119:60, Jn. 17:17)
- she would no longer fear death and hell, but draw close to the One who has conquered the grave. (Rev. 1:18, 2 Tim 1:10)
- wherever she is, Christ would visit her in dreams and visions, and draw her to himself with signs and wonders. (Acts 2:17, 22)
- that she will receive Christ’s perfect-love gift of eternal life, and be freed from her fear of Judgment Day’s mezan (scales that measure deeds and determine punishment and condemnation for this life and the next). (Eph. 2:8-9)
- she will know Jesus as Father, Redeemer and Coming King. (Is. 63:16, Job 19:25, Acts 1:11, Heb. 9:28, Rev. 1:5)
- she will believe that all power and authority are found in Jesus Christ. (I Jn. 3:8b, Heb. 2:14-15, Jesus’ miracles)
- she will understand that magic, omens, sorcery and divination are Satan’s domain, and that he is ready to use it all against her. (Deut. 18:9-14)
- she will not fear evil spirits or the evil eye and other curses; rather, that she will experience the Holy Spirit’s power to overcome the enemy’s schemes. (Is. 41:10, Luke 10:18, Romans 8:38-39,)
- she will find God trustworthy so that she can live by faith and not by sight. (Wilderness journey in Ex., Ps. 78:19-20)
Special thanks to Joy Loewen, author of “Woman to Woman: Sharing Jesus with a Muslim Friend” for informing this article.