As Muslims pray and fast, ideas for sparking discussion
March 2021

By a member of SEND’s Diaspora | North America team — Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, starts on April 13 this year. I say “this year” because the start date of the Islamic month moves forward in the western Gregorian calendar by 10-11 days each year, because the Islamic calendar is lunar and the Gregorian calendar is solar. This can make planning for future events a bit more complicated to calculate, a bit like the date for Easter (always the Sunday after the full moon that occurs on or after the spring equinox on March 21), but I digress. 

Ramadan is a very important month for Muslims because it is one of the five pillars of practice required for all Muslims worldwide. The benefits that they believe they achieve from the self-sacrifice of denying themselves food and drink during daylight hours are only part of the equation. They also believe that prayers said during this month are worth more than prayers said at any other time of the year. Prayers said in a mosque during this month are even more weighty. And in fact, prayers said in a mosque, during the last ten days of this month are even better. And finally, prayers said in a mosque on the 26th or 27th day are the weightiest of all. 

Truly devoted Muslims will spend these two nights in the mosque praying to get the best and fullest blessing and credit for their prayers. I have visited mosques during Ramadan and have seen people still stretched out on the floor, huddled asleep in their blankets, and been told that these faithful men have spent the night in prayer and thus are now spending the day sleeping. 

All this begins to make sense when one considers that in Islam, one has to earn one’s own salvation. I would think that most of us, if we thought that our salvation depended on our own efforts, would try to do the same thing to try to make up for our shortcomings through the rest of the year. 

There are great discussion topics related to Ramadan for you to talk about with your Muslim friends, colleagues, or neighbors. First, you could ask them why they fast and then talk about why you fast. You could bring up Old Testament passages like Isaiah 58, where God uses the prophet Isaiah to challenge the people to not just fast with the body, but to consider their hearts and attitudes as well. You can’t fast and at the same time ignore the needy and disadvantaged in your community. You can’t fast and think that just humbling yourself before God is all it takes to earn God’s favor. God wants us to surrender to him body, soul, and spirit.   

Second, since prayer is so important in this month of Ramadan, you could ask them if they know that Jesus talked about praying and even taught his disciples to pray. You could discuss what Jesus says in Matthew 6 about people who pray to be seen and heard by others vs. praying to be heard by God. What do they think about that? 

You could mention that in Matthew 6:7, Jesus says, “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this … .” And then quote or read the Lord’s Prayer, breaking it down into sections and asking what they think about it.   

One other thing to remember for Muslim women: Their access to the mosque is often quite limited. If Muslim men feel a burden to earn God’s favor through fasting and prayers, just think of how the women feel. Islam leaves Muslim women at a distinct disadvantage in terms of opportunities to pray in the mosque, even during times when such prayers are thought to carry more spiritual value. 

Our prayer for Muslims this Ramadan is that as they try to fast this coming month, they come to realize that there is nothing that they could ever do to earn God’s love. And that, instead, they understand for the first time that God’s love is a free gift to them, to all who believe and trust in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  

Resources to help you pray 

Prayercast offers many prayer videos on their website and you can sign up to receive a new video each week during Ramadan. You can watch the video below to get a sense for the quality of their videos.

Prayercast | Tajikistan from Prayercast on Vimeo.

Order a 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World guide, produced by You can order printed copies or download a PDF. This prayer guide offers a different topic or people for prayer for each day during Ramadan.  

This month’s prayer points
  • 10/10 Prayer Initiative: Continue to pray for 10 percent of the Muslim world to come to Christ in the next 10 years. Many Muslims will be praying more this month. Pray for God to speak to them in dreams and visions and to shatter their understanding of who God is. May they come to know that he loves them with an everlasting love. 

  • In this past year, Muslims, like Christians, have felt many restraints as COVID has restricted public gatherings. Pray that Muslims will be inspired to search and find Christian services online!

  • Pray for Christian workers living in Muslim countries as life in these countries can become very difficult during this month. Pray that they would have unique opportunities to share God’s truth and grace. 

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