Elliot's Roundup: Hatred, heroism, hunger, heatwave...

image: flickr Moose

image: flickr Moose

The attack on Finsbury Park Mosque, the imam who has been hailed as a hero, fasting during a heatwave and more. 

Monday saw a 47 year old father of four from Cardiff drive into a crowd of Muslims outside a London Mosque in a rented van. One person died and eleven were injured. The man who had interest in far right groups had recently voiced hatred for Muslims. 

“This was quite clearly an attack on Muslims who looked like they were probably Muslims and they were coming from a prayer meeting,” said the Met police commissioner, Cressida Dick. “We treat this as a terrorist attack and we in the Met are as shocked as anybody in this local community or across the country at what has happened.”
— https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/19/finsbury-park-attack-suspect-named-as-cardiff-resident-darren-osborne

As the van driver was wrestled to the ground, the imam intervened to calm the situation.  

“The imam came from the mosque and he said, ‘Listen, we are fasting, this is Ramadan, we are not supposed to do these kinds of things, so please step back.’
“For that reason this guy is still alive today. This is the only reason. If the imam was not there, he wouldn’t be there today.”
— https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/19/imam-praised-for-protecting-finsbury-park-suspect-from-crowd

The imam has been widely praised for his actions  and recently visited by Prince Charles who was 'deeply impressed' by the imam's actions.  

Terrorist actions dominate the news. But daily life for many Muslims continues to be a struggle do to fasting for long hours in a heatwave. If fasting wasn't challenging enough, think of the estimated 148 million diabetic Muslims worldwide, according to the article, half of British diabetic Muslims fast.  Guidelines for managing diabetes during Ramadan are available, other Muslim diabetics have come to the conclusion that Ramadan is about fasting from the fast.  

Muslim women are also in the news this week. One article highlights the tradition of women only mosques in China. 

While Muslim women face restrictions in most mosques around the world, either being segregated by sex within the building or in some communities being banned from entering altogether, many Chinese Muslim women pray at institutions dedicated to serving their gender, a unique Chinese tradition.
— https://sputniknews.com/asia/201706221054863942-beijing-islam-female-only-mosque/

According to the article women only mosques have come about through merging of the Chinese and Islamic traditions. The idea has come about through  receiving the first Muslims in China as honoured guests and having a national culture of not barring women from public life.

Muslim women sporting pioneers have also been in the news. Dana Abdulkarim was teh first hijabi athlete to represent England- then teh first hijabi P.E. teacher.  Salma Bi was teh first Muslim woman to play cricket for Worcestershire, Anisa Ansar plays cricket for both Hampshire and England.

We have different tastes and preferences on how we live our lives and navigate our careers. Some of us wear hijabs, some don’t. Some have families who are supportive, some who aren’t and others that take a little more convincing.
— http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/get-inspired/40353279

Heroes, the hungry, Chinese, diabetic and athletic, it is clear there is no Muslim only many individual Muslims with their own interests, families and stories.

Could you be hospitable, share your interests and introduce them to your Father?

Lovefast 27: Fear

Image: Katie Chase, Unsplash

Image: Katie Chase, Unsplash

Lovefast 27: Fear

By Elliot from Mahabba Derby
Inspired by 'Protecting Muslim youth in Europe' from 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

 

Daily verse

He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honour him.
— Psalm 91:15, NIVUK
 

Thought for the day

Fear

I’m afraid of watching the news and seeing the latest atrocities.

I just don’t want to face the reality of the latest tragedy.

Whilst I write this at my desk police in London have carried out raids and arrested seven people in connection with the Westminster attack that killed a policeman, an assailant, and pedestrians crossing Westminster Bridge.

As yet no one has accepted responsibility for the attack.

Many will be more nervous on their way to work today.

Many families will also be worried that their children could be radicalised by friends, over the internet or in prison.

Let’s pray for those waging peace and for those at all levels attempting to formulate effective strategies.

Update: Since writing the above, there have been attacks in Sweden and on a bus in Germany.

 

Today's entry in 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

Inspiration for today's entry - click to open

 

Prayer for the day

Let’s pray for those waging peace and for those at all levels attempting to formulate effective strategies.

 

Daily action

Perhaps the best strategy is showing there is more to life and living a life of radically following Jesus. Watch the clip, 'How can love radically today?'

 

Your turn

Let us know how it went! Leave a comment below, or tag us on social media with #lovefast or #30dop hashtags on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Lovefast 26: Destiny

Image: nurus_salam_aupi, Flickr

Image: nurus_salam_aupi, Flickr

Lovefast 26: Destiny

By Gordon from Mahabba Oxford
Inspired by 'Night of destiny' from 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

 

Daily verse

And afterwards,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
— Joel 2:28, NIVUK
 

Thought for the day

Destiny

I love being among people of radical faith and passion!

Strangely recently I have encountered many young Muslims with that same radical passion and hunger for God.

They are longing for a personal encounter with God, or a moment of divine revelation which will change their lives.

Sadly, God seems a million miles away from them, so this Night of Power is traditionally the one night in which their earnest prayer might breakthrough to God.

“Seek and you will find” is our invitation from Jesus: and the truth is that the hunger and desperation for God among millions of Muslims, has resulted in an unprecedented release of dreams and visions, where Jesus has appeared to them.

In middle eastern cities, the word on the street is “have you seen the man in white?”.

So many have seen him, and our responsibility is to explain these dreams and visions to them!

 

Today's entry in 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

Inspiration for today's entry - click to open

 

Prayer for the day

Father, tonight I am standing in unity and agreement with millions of fellow believers, and we thank you on this special night for an outpouring of your spirit across the whole Muslim world. As they seek you, will you reveal yourself to them in dreams and visions, and may countless millions have a life changing encounter with you, where they will come to know you as “Father” and Jesus as “Isa Al-Massih” - Jesus the Messiah

 

Daily action

Get together with a group of Christians from your local churches and spend a few hours tonight praying for dreams and visions to come to many of the local Muslims. Pray that you will then have the chance to meet them and explain their dreams.

 

Your turn

Let us know how it went! Leave a comment below, or tag us on social media with #lovefast or #30dop hashtags on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Lovefast 25: Guardian

Image: barbasia, Flickr

Image: barbasia, Flickr

Lovefast 25: Guardian

By Georgina from Mahabba Cheltenham
Inspired by 'The people of Saudi Arabia' from 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

 

Daily verse

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.’
Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you say, ‘The Lord is my refuge,’
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
‘Because he loves me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honour him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.’
— Psalm 91
 

Thought for the day

Guardian

In strict Muslim communities women are not allowed to venture out of their homes without being accompanied by a male guardian.

The guardian, or mahram, is a man she is not allowed to marry because of close family ties, such as a father, brother, son or uncle.

This Islamic ruling means that women are seen as legal minors.

For example, in Saudi Arabia women cannot drive a car or make their own decisions about their health care because they are not legally regarded as an adult.

Women cannot go on pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj) without a mahram (male guardian), for which they have to pay extra.

Even at a time of heightened spiritual awareness, such as the hajj, women still have to rely on a male to protect her honour and safety.

Thank God for the promise in his Word that he is our guardian, whether we’re male or female, adult or child:

If you make the Most High your dwelling – even the Lord, who is my refuge – then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.

Psalm 91:9-11

 

Today's entry in 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

Inspiration for today's entry - click to open

 

Prayer for the day

Pray that the bonds of Wahabbi Islam will be broken and that the influence of Saudi Arabia will wain in the world.

 

Daily action

Read about women’s experiences on hajj.

 

Your turn

Let us know how it went! Leave a comment below, or tag us on social media with #lovefast or #30dop hashtags on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Lovefast 24: Reality

Image: Jan Tinneberg, Unsplash

Image: Jan Tinneberg, Unsplash

Lovefast 24: Reality

By Phil from Mahabba Woking
Inspired by 'Uzbeks in Tajikistan' from 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

 

Daily verse

The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.
— Leviticus 19:34, NIVUK
 

Thought for the day

Reality

Today in #30dop we are thinking about parents working abroad to support their families (from Tajikistan).

Some people view migrant workers as somehow stealing our lifestyle and wanting to benefit from our system.

But the reality is economies need migrant workers.

Jonathan Simpson, a British photographer, visited Singapore and met migrant workers from Bangladesh.

He took messages from them to their families back home and recorded their response and messages back to the migrant workers.

You can read more here.

He produced a short film, ‘I am fine’, describing the emotions of two families whose sons had become economic migrants in order to support their families.

It helps us to understand some of the personal cost of migration.

So, instead of reacting, let us respond to the people and treat them with respect.

In Scripture, we are told to treat the stranger in our land as a native, for we were all strangers once.

 

Today's entry in 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

Inspiration for today's entry - click to open

 

Prayer for the day

Pray for migrant workers - who are struggling to support their wider families. Pray about their isolation and exploitation.

 

Daily action

Simply greet people you meet and find out more of their story. Maybe in your local supermarket or coffee shop or health workers in our hospitals. If you get the chance to befriend a migrant worker, maybe you can help them fill in a bewildering form or write a letter home.

 

Your turn

Let us know how it went! Leave a comment below, or tag us on social media with #lovefast or #30dop hashtags on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Lovefast 23: Peace

Image: quinndombrowski, Flickr

Image: quinndombrowski, Flickr

Lovefast 23: Peace

By Gordon from Mahabba Oxford
Inspired by 'The Beja of Sudan' from 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

 

Daily verse

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.
— Ephesians 2:14-16, NIVUK
 

Thought for the day

Peace

The Beja people whom we are praying for today, have a strong spirit of independence.

They were initially Christianised in the 6th Century, but later Islamised in the 15th Century, joining the fierce movement to Islamise Sudan.

My uncle was part of the Sudan Political Service almost 70 years ago, largely located in the Christian south.

He told me that in those days it only took 150 British diplomats to bring peace and order to the whole of Sudan!

How times have changed!

The spirits of independence, tribal and religious rivalry, and the clash of militant Islam, have left the north and south of Sudan deeply wounded and divided.

About 20 years ago, many Sudanese diplomats across Europe gathered at the office of the mission I was working with.

Their question was how we as Christians managed to bring peace between Muslims and Christians.

They recognised Christians have the answer to peace!

 

Today's entry in 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

Inspiration for today's entry - click to open

 

Prayer for the day

Father, we recognize that Jesus is our Peace and that we can be carriers of the spirit of peace within our community. We can be the reconcilers and mediators in this divided world. Anoint us for this work, and open up doors of opportunity for us to help bring peace to the wounded and divided Muslim communities around us.

 

Daily action

Ask any local Muslim to tell you about the disparate Islamic communities living in your area. Ask them which people group are struggling the most to integrate in the community: be bold and seek to befriend a leader from that community with a view to helping them facilitate a greater level of social cohesion where you live. You could be the vital missing catalyst who brings peace to their families who are attempting to integrate.

 

Your turn

Let us know how it went! Leave a comment below, or tag us on social media with #lovefast or #30dop hashtags on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Lovefast 22: Ripple

Image: manu schwendener, Unsplash

Image: manu schwendener, Unsplash

Lovefast : 

By Georgina from Mahabba Cheltenham
Inspired by 'When faith changes a family' from 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

 

Daily verse

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life
— Matthew 19:29, NIVUK
 

Thought for the day

Ripple

Churches across Europe and the UK have been reporting that migrants and refugees have transformed the heart of their churches.

Several UK churches offer drop-in centres, English lessons or places to meet fellow-travellers on the road to peace and security, even featured on Songs of Praise.

Some of the refugees are individuals, some have managed to stay together as a family.

Many are affected by the love and testimony they receive from Christians on this hazardous trip, and they turn their hearts towards Christ.

But some had already made the transformation in their home countries, such as Ramin, an Iranian in a French refugee camp.

Ramin was changed by God in Iran but he did not keep it for himself despite threats to his life.

He says,

I spoke to my wife. And my wife spoke to her sister, her sister spoke to her husband, her husband spoke to his uncle… many family and friends became Christians and they were in our house a lot to pray, and I was happy.

Ramin’s faith not only affected his life and destiny, but also that of his extended family

 

Today's entry in 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

Inspiration for today's entry - click to open

 

Prayer for the day

Pray that families will be touched by the transformation they see in new believers so that they will be drawn to the love of Christ

 

Daily action

Draw a family tree of the people of faith that made a difference to your life

 

Your turn

Let us know how it went! Leave a comment below, or tag us on social media with #lovefast or #30dop hashtags on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Lovefast 21: Outcast

Image: s2ublack, Flickr

Image: s2ublack, Flickr

Lovefast 21: Outcast

By Simon from Mahabba Derby
Inspired by 'Domari Gypsies of the Middle East' from 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

 

Daily verse

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Will you give me a drink?’ (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’ (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.’

‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?’

Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’

The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.’
— John 4:7-15, NIVUK
 

Thought for the day

Outcast

There are outcasts in every society, including the UK and the West.

In our communities and where we are used to the social norms, we can struggle to relate to others both individually and corporately.

Having read today's entry about the gypsy community in the Middle East, can you relate?

Take a moment to consider when you struggled to relate to someone, whether because of their clothes, upbringing or worldview.

Perhaps you recalled a conversation with a Muslim.

Let's be honest - many Muslims retain a strong cultural and language connection with their ancestral home, often Pakistan.

Culture and language in Pakistan is different to the UK, which can make it hard for us to build deep relationships.

The reality though is that communities of Muslims - and others - bring a rich diversity to where we live, without which we would be the poorer.

Statistically, Muslims also tend to be concentrated in the areas of highest deprivation, so have many needs.

Putting aside our differences and things that may cause us to want to retreat, let's consider how we can build bridges into the Muslim community.

How can we pray and act to bring about transformation where Muslims live, being a channel of the water of life to those that thirst?

 

Today's entry in 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

Inspiration for today's entry - click to open

 

Prayer for the day

Lord Jesus, help me to put aside my insecurities and fears of the unfamiliar. Thank you for the diversity and richness in the Muslim community around me. Help me to grow in love and appreciation for Muslims and their cultural and heritage. I pray that you would continue to come close to them in Ramadan; reveal your son, Jesus Christ, to Muslims, that they might know you fully.

 

Daily action

Go to your neighbour or the house of a Muslim family locally. Ask whether they need any help with their garden or taking any household items to the local tip. If not, do a litter pick on your street and look for opportunities to talk to neighbours you might see. Aim to strike up conversations and start building relationships with those you don't know.

 

Your turn

Let us know how it went! Leave a comment below, or tag us on social media with #lovefast or #30dop hashtags on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Elliot's Roundup: Hate is easy. Love takes courage.

image: clive wren flickr

image: clive wren flickr

Travelling through the city centre I was startled to see messages of sympathy and support for the victims of the Manchester attack. I pass the same way regularly but for some reason I had not seen it before. Just as that tragic news became our new reality, the London Bridge attack happened.  Following on from that- this week the the Grenfell Tower burst into flame and quickly spread through the building. Today's media roundup comes in the light of all these tragic events and loss of life.  The title for today's blog and picture come from a Muslim community rally against terrorism that was held in Sheffield less than a week ago.

There has been further condemnation of the London attack by various Muslim communities in the UK. Three thousand roses were handed out on London Bridge by Muslims as a show of unity with those who were injured and killed in the attack.

We are here to write narratives of love of love and solidarity. Not hate and division.
— http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/british-muslims-london-bridge-red-roses-attack-borough-market-stabbing-terror-love-victims-islam-a7786291.html

Grimsby Islamic Community have also invited wider members of the community, including the North East Lincolnshire's Mayor,  councillors, members of the police and public to en event in the mosque. The aim was to show that the London Bridge attack was "not in my name."  Elsewhere in Glasgow a Muslim anti-terror rally has been held. 

The generosity of a Muslim in Surrey has been seen online. The article describes how a Muslim lady shared a meal with her non-Muslim neighbour as well as sharing some information about Ramadan. A picture of a Muslim who helped an elderly lady who had collapsed on a bus has also been shared tens of thousands of times on social media this week. 

“Her gesture has really made me think – it’s one of those things which stop you in your tracks, and make you look at yourself like ‘what am I doing now, and if I’m not doing anything, what could I do?’

“I’ve always grown up with the ‘someone else will do it’ attitude, but it’s about time I started being that person rather than observing that person.”
— http://www.irishnews.com/magazine/daily/2017/06/11/news/this-tale-of-a-muslim-woman-gifting-her-neighbours-with-food-and-letters-about-ramadan-will-warm-your-heart-1051952/

Since the London Bridge attack there has also been a rise in hate crime, a 500% increase in Islamophobic crime and a 40% rise in racist incidents has been reported. for example: recently  a Muslim mother was punched in the face in Birmingham,a bag of vomit was recently thrown at a car carrying two Muslim women in Blackburn, Lancashire. 

Perhaps this spike in incidents will be turned around by the reporting in the Telegraph, Independent, Sun, and Daily Mail and elsewhere. Many Muslims have been hailed as heroes for saving lives in the tragic Grenfell Tower fire in London. The blaze tore through the 24 storey building causing many to be hospitalised and 17 at this time are known to have been killed. Muslims in the area were awake and so were able to help evacuate the building and prevent further loss of life. The fact that Muslims were awake because of Ramadan and so were able to help was also widely reported on TV news including Channel 4 and  BBC news.   The charity Muslim Hands have launched an appeal, as have Muslim Aid who are also working in conjunction with churches to aid those who have been left homeless. 

There are many opportunities to interact with our Muslim neighbours, colleagues and friends. Let's not be part of the problem. Let's choose love not hate. Many Muslims say that they got to know Jesus though supernatural dreams, reading the and having a longterm friendship with a follower of Jesus.  Let's be that friend this week. The message of Jesus comes wrapped in a person- that means you and me!

Lovefast 20: An education

Image: usembassyta, Flickr

Image: usembassyta, Flickr

Lovefast 20: An education

By Phil from Mahabba Woking
Inspired by 'Educating girls' from 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

 

Daily verse

And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
— Luke 2:40, NIVUK
 

Thought for the day

An education

Nobel Peace prizewinner, Malala Yousefzai, was shot by Taliban and became an icon for girls’ education.  

This young campaigner from the Swat valley in Pakistan wrote for BBC Urdu service about life under the Taliban, using a pen name Gul Makai.

She wrote about her family’s fight for girls’ education.

In October 2012 she was shot in the head by Taliban when returning from school on a bus.

She miraculously survived and continues to campaign for girls’ education, the youngest nominee for the Nobel peace prize.

You can read more of her remarkable story in her book ‘I am Malala: the girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban’ (with Christina Lamb) or watch the trailer of the film: ‘He named me Malala’ (2015).

Another project in Sind, Pakistan promotes girls education.

Read this photo-journalist's article: ‘The girls who will change Pakistan’ (by Jonathan Simpson).

You can follow the work of the Primary Education Project on Facebook.

And consider supporting through JustGiving.

One child, one teacher, one book and one pen; they can change the world
— Malala Yousefzai
 

Today's entry in 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

Inspiration for today's entry - click to open

 

Prayer for the day

Pray for those providing education for girls: Lord, we pray for girls who have never seen the inside of the classroom. We pray you will break into their world and remove the obstacles that lie in their way. Teach them how precious they are. Strengthen and resource educators as they seek to raise all children to reach the potential you gave them

Educating girls is the single most powerful investment for development. When you educate a girl, you educate a nation
 

Daily action

 

Spend a penny! One of the simplest things that can be done to improve girls education is to provide access to toilets. Raise funds for a toilet twinning project or sponsor a loo yourself through Tearfund

 

Your turn

Let us know how it went! Leave a comment below, or tag us on social media with #lovefast or #30dop hashtags on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Lovefast 19: Send

Image: Wiliam Bout, Unsplash

Image: Wiliam Bout, Unsplash

Lovefast 19: Send

By Elliot from Mahabba Derby
Inspired by 'Muslim refugees in Sweden' from 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

 

Daily verse

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’
And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’
— Isaiah 6:8, NIVUK
 

Thought for the day

Send

There are many seeking asylum in Europe, maybe even in your city.

Many of whom have fled unimaginable situations.

Stories abound of supernatural interventions - motors restarting, survival without water whilst crossing the desert are just two examples.

Throughout their long journeys often the first to offer to help have been followers of Jesus.

Jesus has already been seeking, feeding, pursuing, loving his sheep.

Jesus is already at work in the lives of many asylum seekers whether they acknowledge Him yet or not.

What can I do to join Him in his mission?

Could I teach English, help them to understand their post, go for a coffee together?

Many, many people are lonely and have never set foot in someone else’s home in the UK.

What are you going to do about it?

 

Today's entry in 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

Inspiration for today's entry - click to open

 

Prayer for the day

People from many nations are in the UK. Let's pray for the church to be a blessing to the refugees. Pray what your role should be.

 

Daily action

Watch the video:

Research what is the church doing in your area to help refugees.

 

Your turn

Let us know how it went! Leave a comment below, or tag us on social media with #lovefast or #30dop hashtags on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Lovefast 18: Ties

Image: Estiaque Emon, Unsplash

Image: Estiaque Emon, Unsplash

Lovefast 18: Ties

By Simon from Mahabba Derby
Inspired by today's entry from 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

 

Daily verse

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
— Romans 8:38-39
 

Thought for the day

Ties

Once again we read about the strength of family ties in the Muslim community - this time in Indonesia.

The same is true in Britain.

The vast majority of Muslims in the UK are from Pakistan, and from a very particular region.

They may not share the same view of the female bloodline, but family is in their blood and treasured highly.

Equally, families are just as quick to cut their ties with members who leave Islam - known as ‘apostates’ - because of the shame it brings on not only them but the wider community.

What then ties us into community?

We each have family, of course, and wider circles of community, such as church, sports teams, colleagues etc, but at the core is Jesus.

Jesus’ love never fails - when we sin he forgives, when we falter he supports, when we fail he steps in.

This is a precious gift that we can offer to Muslims.

The choice to leave Islam is life-changing, and shouldn’t be offered or taken lightly, but the reward of knowing Christ and coming to Father God are even greater.

 

Today's entry in 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

Inspiration for today's entry - click to open

 

Prayer for the day

Pray that God would give you an opportunity to share about how your life has changed as a result of coming to know Jesus and being part of his family

 

Daily action

Offer to pray for the family of a Muslim you may know. Ask whether there is any illness, issue or worry that you can pray for in the name of Jesus. When you have prayed, follow up at another point; ask whether anything has changed. Keep on praying!

 

Your turn

Let us know how it went! Leave a comment below, or tag us on social media with #lovefast or #30dop hashtags on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Interfaith dialogue

2573962816_347b748889_b.jpg

Interfaith dialogue

A topic from the World Cafe session of the National Gathering 2017.

Interfaith should be faith-sharing and dialogue rather than mutual monologue!

Unity is important; create an inter-denominational base as a foundation to inter-religious dialogue (stronger together).

How do you get beyond superficiality to higher level of interfaith?

Is there an alternative to debate vs. dialogue?

Values-driven  

  • Seek truth together
  • Mutual respect
  • Relationship-building
  • Seeking truth
  • Ask what they would like
  • Ask Questions, listen to answers, don't impose opinions
  • Breaking down barriers; building friendships and confidence
  • Issue of prayer - can this be joint?

Methods and techniques

  • Scriptural reasoning; Bible and Qur'an together
  • Meetings for Better Understanding (MBUs)
  • Dialogue groups creating safe space for conversations
  • Rules of engagement helpful - CMF Ethical Guidelines for sharing faith in Britain

Two models of Gospel proclamation

  • Road to Damascus - conversion experience
  • Road to Emmaus - conversation encounter

If you are involved in interfaith dialogue then it will mean going deeper into your own faith and becoming ‘deeply rooted and profoundly open’.

Start small, think big.

Lovefast 17: Family guy

Image: modenadude, Flickr

Image: modenadude, Flickr

Lovefast 17: Family guy

By Simon from Mahabba
Inspired by 'The Ishelhayn Berbers' from 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

 

Daily verse

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.
— Ephesians 1:13-14
 

Thought for the day

Family guy

Family means everything to the Muslim community - securing a good marriage; having healthy children; financial security; and keeping it all together.

It's a worthy ideal in many ways, and something that Western societies have much to learn from.

In Britain and the West, we are so individualistic - just look at how many family-sized homes have been carved up into one or two room apartments.

Muslims invariably spend their weekends visiting family and relatives, cooking food and hanging out - compare that with how we pursue our personal hobbies in relative isolation.

As we have explored earlier in Lovefast, whether we gain identity and security in family, finance or position, nothing compares with knowing our inheritance in Christ.

Let's learn all that we can from our Muslim friends about how we can be more community-minded and model inclusive-family, drawing in those outside our immediate families.

Let's also seek to share about what we know about Jesus - the only way truly to know our Father God in heaven.

 

 

Today's entry in 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

Inspiration for today's entry - click to open

 

Prayer for the day

Give thanks for your family and your relationship with Father God through Jesus Christ. Pray that God would open the eyes of your Muslim friends this Ramadan, that Jesus be revealed to them in a new way. Pray for a fuller revelation of Jesus Christ as he or she reads about Isa in the Qur'an this Ramadan.

 

Daily action

Ask a Muslim you know about what they know of Isa (Jesus) in the Qur'an. Share a few things that you know of Jesus from the Bible. Ask your friend what he or she thinks about the portrayal of Jesus in the Bible. Ask your Muslim friend if he or she would like to read more about Jesus in the Bible.

 

Your turn

Let us know how it went! Leave a comment below, or tag us on social media with #lovefast or #30dop hashtags on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Lovefast 16: Addiction

Image: aljazeeraenglish, Flickr

Image: aljazeeraenglish, Flickr

Lovefast 16: Addiction

By Phil from Mahabba Woking
Inspired by 'Bakar's story' in the 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

 

Daily verse

Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit
— Ephesians 5:17-18, NIVUK
 

Thought for the day

Addiction

We used to work in Pakistan among heroin addicts in Karachi.

Pakistan is still one of the most addicted countries on the planet.

In the project we were involved in IBTIDA (Urdu for beginning) addicts were supported off drugs through prayer and support whist they went through cold turkey.

Christians Muslims and Hindus would all come for prayer for their addiction since they were all in the same boat.

One rickshaw driver, Yousef described how he had been filling the ‘tank’ of his life with heroin and all the problems that caused.

And his struggle to leave his addiction.

He came off drugs with the help of IBTIDA ‘brothers’ who prayed for him and he was then filled up with the Spirit.

I used to fill up with Heroin and now I fill up with the holy spirit,

he said,

and the Holy Spirit is much better than heroin, with no bad after-effects.
 

Today's entry in 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

Inspiration for today's entry - click to open

 

Prayer for the day

Sami Yousef’s song supplication could so easily be the prayer of an addict. It expresses the desire of many Muslims during Ramadan for forgiveness. It also appeared in the movie ‘the kite runner’. Pray for those addicted to substances that God would hear their cry.  

 

Daily action

The focus of 30 Days of Prayer is an addict in Malaysia. Malaysian Care based in Kuala Lumpur describes its prisons drugs and Aids initiative (currently they are not allowed to work with Muslims). Find out more about drug programmes in your area. If you are interested you can read about the work or IBTIDA in an old edition of Footsteps magazine from the mid-90s.

 

Your turn

Let us know how it went! Leave a comment below, or tag us on social media with #lovefast or #30dop hashtags on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Lovefast 15: Identity

Image: chrisjohnbeckett, Flickr

Image: chrisjohnbeckett, Flickr

Lovefast 15: Identity

By Simon from Mahabba Derby
Inspired by 'Disability among tribal families of the Middle East' from 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

 

Daily verse

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
— Colossians 3:2-4, NIVUK
 

Thought for the day

Identity

Honour, shame, fear - each of these is woven into the lives of Muslim families around the world.

As we read today, the shame factor surrounding disability - the shame felt by parents that they have not borne a fully healthy child.

Fear and honour are an equally important part part of life for Muslims, and one influences the other as life causes imbalance and families scrabble to put in place counterbalances.

As Christians, we can identify with this: on a personal level we experience these emotions, and we see this life and culture through stories in the Bible.

And yet we know that in Christ we find our ultimate identity and calling in life, wherever our imperfections may lie.

Jesus accepts us as we are, but calls us to great things.

This is the hope that we have in Jesus that we can share with Muslims during the 30 days of Ramadan.

 

Today's entry in 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

Inspiration for today's entry - click to open

 

Prayer for the day

Pray for a Muslim friend, colleague or neighbour that you would get an opportunity to share about how your identity in Christ changes your outlook to life. Pray that the Holy Spirit would plant a seed in that individual's life.

 

Daily action

Look for an opportunity off the back of the prayer above. Ask a Muslim about his or her weekend. If you went to church, mention what you did and share something that God said to you or did. Ask your Muslim friend if there is anything he or she would like God to do today.

 

Your turn

Let us know how it went! Leave a comment below, or tag us on social media with #lovefast or #30dop hashtags on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Lovefast 14: Waiting

Image: Hello Lightbulb, Unsplash

Image: Hello Lightbulb, Unsplash

Lovefast 14: Waiting

By Elliot from Mahabba Derby
Inspired by 'A Syrian refugee family waits' from 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

 

Daily verse

When the wicked advance against me
to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
— Psalm 27:2
 

Thought for the day

Waiting

We can wait with a sense of excitement or we can wait hopelessly caught up in despair.

Waiting is difficult when there is no end in sight.

Asylum seekers in the UK have to wait for an interview with the home office.

They have to wait for the results of the interview.

If granted leave to remain they have to wait for a National Insurance number.

When there are difficulties with housing they can wait months for things to be fixed.

Waiting months for a washing machine to be fixed is hard when you are a mum and you have a new baby in the house.

Waiting for the war to finish that has destroyed your country and separated your family.

Waiting, hoping, but not hearing if your family are still alive is unimaginable to me but a daily reality for many.

This week I’ve come across someone who has been in the UK for less than a year and had his first application rejected, he is now waiting to appeal.

I have also come across someone who has been in the UK for seven years and is on their forth appeal.

They are still waiting.

 

Today's entry in 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

Inspiration for today's entry - click to open

 

Prayer for the day

Pray for those refugees who are waiting for decisions, for family.

 

Daily action

Use your waiting time today to be aware of the presence of God today.

 

Your turn

Let us know how it went! Leave a comment below, or tag us on social media with #lovefast or #30dop hashtags on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Elliot's Weekly Roundup: Have You Voted Yet?

image: flickr Radarsmum

It probably hasn't passed you by, but today is election day! Have you cast your vote yet? Which one of the 40,000 polling stations did you visit? Was it in in a school, launderette or someone's kitchen? Did you put a tick, cross, or smiley face in the box? Before being caught up in the election frenzy of which results will be declared first, graphics, graphs and swingometers, let's stop and reflect back on the last few days that have run up to this election.

Before the memorial concert was held for victims from the Manchester atrocity, London was attacked leaving eight dead and dozens injured. As more becomes known about the events more questions are being asked. Who knew what and why was it not acted upon? Party political leaders are blaming each other for reducing police numbers now that campaigning has resumed.  Debate about security and Islam have dominated the days before today's election. The phrase, "Enough is enough" has been seen and heard this week.

One violent response seen in the media was to wave around a machete, threaten to blow up mosques and kill Muslims. In the video that was posted the man also appeared to have a hand grenade attached to his shirt. Since uploading the video onto the internet he has claimed it was a joke, his drink was spiked and has now issued an apology.  Another response has been to ignore the memory of those who died in the attack by ignoring the minute's silence held at a world cup qualifier.

Another response seen in the media has been to challenge the Muslim response to terror attacks. Not just to condemn the terrorism but the ideology behind it.

What we need to hear from British Muslims is that they reject the vision from which terrorism comes. It is a vision of society unified by one political and religious ideology. It is a vision of pluralism, and secular politics, swept aside by this vision. It is a theocratic vision.
— https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2017/06/not-enough-muslims-say-condemn-terrorism/

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has stated there is a lack of religious literacy by some who are dealing with terrorist threats. He continued by saying:

“If we attack or persecute or go against a particular group of people on the grounds of their faith alone, rather than what they want to do or the arguments they are putting forward of violence and terror, the terrorists will give three cheers and say thank you, you’ve done our work for us. Every time a Muslim is abused on a bus or a mosque is attacked, the terrorists have taken another step forward.”
— http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p054zbz7

At a vigil at Bradford Cathedral Bishop Toby Howarth stated that we don't choose how we feel but we can choose how we respond. At least one person chose to reach out to the Muslim community in London by chalking "London loves you,"  on the pavement outside a mosque.

Muslim taxi drivers have been praised for their role in helping victims immediately after the attack. Muslim communities have united in disgust against the attacks, have made signs to show their support and have left flowers at the scene. One hundred and thirty imams have refused to say funeral prayers for the perpetrators of the attack and called upon others to follow their example.

“Consequently, and in light of other such ethical principles which are quintessential to Islam, we will not perform the traditional Islamic funeral prayer over the perpetrators and we also urge fellow imams and religious authorities to withdraw such a privilege.
— http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/london-bridge-terrorists-imams-refuse-funeral-prayer-khuram-shazad-butt-rachid-redouane-a7774291.html

Another article suggests the number of imams refusing to perform the traditional funeral prayers is much higher at around 500. Traditional funeral prayers called janaza  are often open for anyone to join. The more people who attend the more beneficial it is to the deceased according to the Islamic scholar and psychiatrist Dr Asim Yusuf. Anti extremist campaigner Ahmed Patel thinks that denying funeral prayers sends out out a very strong message to terrorists and could stop people from carrying out attacks.  

“I think the fact that they are saying we will not bury you, we will not even do your janaza, is a lot more powerful than going out with placards or holding vigils.
”It’s a very, very powerful message that no Muslim will bury him, no Muslim will wash his body, no Muslim will stand over him in prayer.”
— http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-40175088

Another response that has appeared in the media has been written by an accident and emergency consultant who works at The Royal London Hospital.  In a post that has been shared over 4000 times in recent days he states:

“When you think of the word Muslim I want you to think of the Muslim nurse that ran our casualty triage area, the Muslim surgeon who operated all night, the Muslim technician that helped arrange transport home for discharged casualties, the Muslim security officer that ran out relatives reception area, the Imams from our Muslim chaplaincy that stayed all night to help comfort the casualties and so many more.”
— http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/london-attack-muslims-islam-doctor-think-surgeons-not-terrorist-response-victims-treatment-karim-a7773971.html

In the light of all that has happened this week- vote wisely. If you are yet to decide on where to place your X, maybe consulting this manifesto comparison chart published by The Muslim Council of Britain will help.

However we vote, let's put greater faith in the Jesus who didn't travel on a campaign bus, publish a political manifesto or get elected.  Let's continue to pray for our nation, friends and colleagues, and share Jesus with those we encounter. 

Lovefast 13: Cycle

Image: 16nine, Flickr

Image: 16nine, Flickr

Lovefast 13: Cycle

By Chas from Mahabba Croydon
Inspired by 'Families in Kyrgyzstan' from 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

 

Daily verse

You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Have you experienced so much in vain – if it really was in vain? So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? So also Abraham ‘believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’

Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.
— Galatians 3:1-7, NIVUK
 

Thought for the day

Cycle

Muhammed (not his real name) is nearing retirement age.

He is deeply concerned for his children that they correctly follow Islam and so he makes sure they complete their daily Namaz (prayers) and live the Islamic way.

He has been storing up money in his bank account for years, but he’s even more concerned about storing up credit for the afterlife.

So he makes large donations to the mosque and is planning to go on Hajj to Mecca.

He can go to the sites at any time, but to go during the Hajj itself gives maximum credit.

However, he is afraid of the huge crowds and the stampedes.

So he’s afraid that he might die there and will put it off for another year.

Do you think he will hear the gospel and believe during this year?

Or do you think the cycle of religious works continue?

 

Today's entry in 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

Inspiration for today's entry - click to open

 

Prayer for the day

Pray for Muslims you know who are bound by religious works to gain credit with God.  Pray that they would see and understand the provision of Jesus’ death in their place.  

 

Daily action

Consider ways you could share your faith with Muslims.  What could you give them? A gospel, a DVD?  Get a stock and prayerfully give them away this year one by one.

 

Your turn

Let us know how it went! Leave a comment below, or tag us on social media with #lovefast or #30dop hashtags on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Lovefast 12: Weddings

Image: telachhe, Flickr

Image: telachhe, Flickr

Lovefast 12: Weddings

By Phil from Mahabba Woking
Inspired by 'I want to get married!' in 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

 

Daily verse

His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’
— John 2:5, NIVUK
 

Thought for the day

Weddings

Maybe you’ve seen the wedding scenes in a movie like Monsoon Wedding  or The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Or even better you may have attended an Eastern wedding yourself.

Every bride is a princess (rani) and every bridegroom a prince or king (raja).

They are very colourful, and exotic affairs and guest are highly honoured.

They reflect the communal culture of the East, with an emphasis on honour, and putting on a good show.

No expense is spared.

And a lavish banquet is the order of the day, whether the Hui Muslims of China (who we are praying for in #30dop) or maybe its your local British Asian friends in Solihull.

Jesus attended a wedding in Cana (John 2:1-11) and his mother had an eye for detail.

This is where he performed his first miracle, so that the banquet and celebration could continue and no one would be shamed.

It also led to the deepening of faith and ongoing discipleship for many of the attendees.

Jesus does his work both unusual and everyday circumstances.

 

Today's entry in 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet

Inspiration for today's entry - click to open

 

Prayer for the day

Light a candle and write names of all couples you know who have just married. Pray that God would bless marriages and relationships in the Muslim community. Whenever you see a wedding party pray a quiet prayer of blessing upon them.

 

Daily action

When you visit an international friend ask to see photos of their family, their wedding or pictures of where they are from. Share some of your own pictures with them.  Pictures can speak a thousand words

 

Your turn

Let us know how it went! Leave a comment below, or tag us on social media with #lovefast or #30dop hashtags on social media. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter!