Refreshed vision, renewed expectation

Image Unsplash

Image Unsplash

Refreshed vision, renewed expectation

October update

Last year many of us contributed to a review of the Mahabba vision, seeking greater clarity and focus for the Network. In summary Mahabba, wherever it’s found, exists

‘to see ministry among people of Muslim heritage become a normal part of church life – it is a relational network encouraging prayer, enabling all Christians, envisioning the Christian community and engaging with Muslims’.

Work is continuing putting flesh on the bones of these words and this is a good time to expand on the vision and hear more from the network about how it is being worked out in practice.

Ministry among Muslims a normal part of church life – this is the vision, the picture of the future, we’re looking to, believing and working for. One church leader puts it like this:

“If you’d told me eight years ago that one day almost a quarter of our congregation would be people from a Muslim heritage, I’d have laughed in disbelief. Back in 2011 we took a risk. Having planted a small intercultural church in the city centre, we felt God leading us to bring the plant back into the sending church. We were joined by some returning missionaries and, with their help, the tiny handful of believers from a Muslim background began to grow.

Not everyone in our predominately white, middle class, congregation was enthusiastic about the changes. You might be greeted at the door with a warm Afghani handshake, or served coffee by a smiling group of Kurdish young men. Occasionally we would include a song from Iran in our worship. However, we were convinced that we were on a journey that reflected the heart of God. We taught from the books of Ruth and Acts about the importance of welcoming foreigners into God’s household. We listened month by month to baptism testimonies telling how Jesus is drawing people from the middle east to himself through dreams, visions and miracles. Gradually God has softened our hearts and deep cross-cultural friendships have developed.

There’s still a way for us to go, but as a church we’re not only beginning to reflect the diversity of the city around us; we’re also beginning to taste the rich cultural blend of the heavenly Jerusalem.”

Could you pause and pray now for a local church you know - that they will set out on that journey of prayer, welcome, bridge building, friendship and disciple-making. In the coming months these Network Updates will continue to unpack more of the vision.

Please share your thoughts, experiences or expectations on the Discourse discussion thread below or add a comment below.

May God give us renewed expectation as we catch more of his heart and journey together.

N.B. requires account to sign on - see here for more details


Phil is a member of the Dashboard Circle team, with a particular focus on national development.

Responding to Muslims with ‘grace & truth’ - a Mahabba Network position statement

The Mahabba Network board, in consultation with the Network Circle (formerly Network Team - made up of your Regional Facilitator) and has been working hard to clarify what is unique about Mahabba’s approach to engaging with Muslims.

This is known as the ‘grace and truth’ approach, about which you can read more below.

Comments welcome, and you can download the file here

Responding to Muslims with ‘grace & truth’ - A Mahabba Network position statement

Responding to Muslims with ‘grace & truth’ (John 1:17) - facing facts not fuelling fear

1. The national context

‘You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.’ (1)

The changing political climate (on both sides of the Atlantic) is making British society more abusive towards minorities – including the Jewish community; gay people; non-white sportspeople; the police; MPs (especially female and non-white); those with opposing political views; and not least towards Muslims. (2)

Of special concern to the Mahabba Network is that some Evangelical Christians are exhibiting strident attitudes; often based on media stereotyping and political rhetoric from some pulpits and online. Mahabba exists to see ministry among people of Muslim heritage become a normal part of church life. It does this by encouraging prayer; envisioning the Christian community about the opportunities; and enabling all Christians to engage well with Muslims.

Mahabba is a movement of Evangelicals who interact with Muslims in the workplace; through their local church; community initiatives; academia; work with refugees; local politics; and Christian organisations. The interaction is out of civic duty as well as Christian witness. Mahabba embraces all interaction that is as faithful to the spirit of Jesus as it is to the gospel truth – the kerygma (the technical term for the historic Christian ‘message’ and ‘method’ of conveying it). (3) We therefore affirm interaction which avoids being unethical; ineffective for cultural reasons; that is not biblically permissible; or that doesn’t desire (where possible) an ongoing relationship. Mahabba refers to this sort of interaction as ‘grace and truth’. This paper defines; describes and justifies it more fully – with particular reference to faith-based interaction.

2. Defining ‘grace and truth’

‘The Word became flesh and lived among us, and we saw his glory…full of grace and truth’ (Jn.1:14).

The expression ‘grace and truth’ was first coined by the Apostle John who described it as who Jesus is; not just what he did or said (Jn.14:6). It is not something Jesus merely believed but what he was ‘full of’ (Jn.1:14). “Truth” is not merely accurate information, but also what is “real”. Jesus modelled this by “being” good news (i.e. in heart by his attitude); “doing” good news (i.e. in deeds with his hands); and “telling” good news (i.e. in proclamation from his head). In this way, ‘being’, ‘doing’ and ‘telling’ fuse into one seamless ‘grace and truth’ whole (i.e. ‘wholistic’ gospel ministry).

The ‘apostles’ doctrine’ includes witness with ‘grace and truth’. The Apostle Paul urges: ‘Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.’ (Cols.1:28; 4:5-6).

> READ MORE

  • The Mahabba Network recognizes ‘wholistic’ gospel witness because the Apostle John said, Jesus:

  • was the ultimate model of ministry with ‘grace and truth’ (Jn.1:14,17)

  • was “enfleshed” in humanity (Jn.1:14a) i.e. ‘incarnational’ ministry

  • ‘made his home among us’ (Jn.1:14b) i.e. ministry in our ‘proximity’

  • was ‘in closest relationship with the Father’ (Jn.1:14c) i.e. ‘relational’

  • ‘made the Father known’ (Jn.1:17) i.e. ministry making God understandable

  • used “word” (verbal); “wonder” (supernatural) and “work” (practical) (Jn.21:25)

3. What Christian witness with ‘grace & truth’ looks like

‘Our love grows soft if it is not strengthened by truth, and our truth grows hard if it is not softened by love.’ (John Stott) (4)

A “Christly” attitude is a courtesy to Muslims who – for cultural reasons – need us to convey spiritual issues within the context of relationship. The Mahabba Network therefore affirms statements such as the Ethical Guidelines for faith witness, as devised by the Christian/Muslim Forum and endorsed by Lambeth Palace (5) and The Affirmation of a Global Network of Christians (6).

> TO READ MORE

The Mahabba Network believes the aim of a ‘grace and truth’ disposition is to:

  1. hold in creative tension, the Great Command of Christ to ‘love’ (i.e. grace) (7) and the Great Commission of Christ to ‘reach out with a message’ (i.e. truth) (8)
  2. witness in the ‘spirit’ of Beatitudes, Jesus’ “beautiful attitudes” (Mat.5:3-11; Is.42:3).
  3. retain ongoing relationship, rather than win a one-off “victory”.
  4. aim to make the only offense we cause, that of the Cross.
  5. avoid intentionally insulting a Muslim’s psychological “mother” (i.e. the Oumma or community).
  6. avoid violating the honour code by ‘shaming’ Muslims into believing the gospel.
  7. befriend as a cultural “courtesy”, rather than a tactical “deception”.
  8. say: ‘I’m not your friend so you will follow Jesus, but I want you to follow Jesus because you’re my friend; and even if you don’t follow Jesus, I’ll still be your friend.’ (9)
  9. be part of the answer, rather than part of the problem.
  10. be a peacemaker not just “nice” (10)
  11. pour ‘oil on troubled waters’ rather than ‘petrol on fire’. (see The Prayer of St. Francis)
  12. not happy to ‘bear false witness against our neighbour’ (Ex.20:16) by irresponsibly using unsourced statistics; unsubstantiated media claims; nor to exaggerate or sensationalise.

4. How we understand the word “Evangelical”

‘An Evangelical is not merely someone who believes what the Bible teaches, but they are truly an Evangelical, who believes whatever else the Bible may be shown to teach’ (John Stott) (11)

The Mahabba Network is orthodox Evangelical in belief and practice. We understand an “Evangelical” to be someone, who is a follower of Jesus Christ; believes and personally embraces the gospel; takes the Bible seriously; and seeks to ‘walk as Jesus walked’ (1 Jn.2:6).

We affirm the core characteristics of the Evangelical heritage as a commitment to being: “biblicist” (Bible-centred); “cruci-centrist” (Cross-centred); “conversionist” (belief in regeneration) and “activist” (social engagement for Christ). (12) We see this as being most effectively lived out in whole-life engagement; balancing ‘verbal proclamation’ with ‘works of service’ to the whole person.

> TO READ MORE

The Mahabba Network believes the following is true of ‘Evangelicalism’. Clearly, no one sector of Evangelicalism has a monopoly on truth. We are all learning (Ac.17:11). However, the Mahabba Network can affirm that, based on the model of Jesus (Jn.1), Christian witness is not just about “telling” good news (i.e. verbal proclamation) but also “being” good news (i.e. attitude) and “doing” good news (i.e. works of service).

5. How we understand the Bible

‘We believe the issue is not how faithful we are to our ‘theological tribe’, but – how faithful our ‘theological tribe’ is, to theBible.’ (13)

The Mahabba Network understands the term “biblical” to mean issues supported (directly or indirectly) by the teaching of the prophets of the Old Testament and in Jesus and the Apostles of the New Testament. We recognise that our Western understanding of the sweep of Scripture is influenced by Western European scholars who bring their own culture to the Bible, even though it came from a Middle Eastern context. So, we don’t assume that the Western understanding of the Bible is definitive and infallible.

We try to avoid conveying the gospel to Muslims, using Western forms and assumptions, because that could, arguably be tantamount to “theological imperialism”. We are, however, committed to finding culturally appropriate ways to communicate the truth of the timeless and global gospel. Let’s aim to be ‘conservative on Scripture but radical on everything else.’ (14)

> TO READ MORE

The Mahabba Network affirms the following about the Bible:

  1. ‘All theology is contextual.’ (John Stott)
  2. The centre of gravity in world Christianity, has shifted from the Western ‘Christianlands’, to the southern continents. While Western theology is important to Westerners, any scholarship can only speak into the setting in which it was produced. (15)

6. How we understand Islam

The ‘grace and truth’ response to Muslims is somewhere ‘between naivety and hostility’. (16) The Mahabba Network recognizes the access-points for the gospel in the Islamic tradition. For example, Islam affirms many peripheral elements of the Judeo-Christian tradition, while contradicting the core non-negotiable elements of the gospel.

We try to avoid a binary analysis seeing everything as ‘black or white’; choosing instead to account for the nuances of both ‘light’ elements (e.g. prayer, giving, fasting) and ‘dark’ elements (e.g. rejection of the deity and passion of Christ). History shows all “religion” (Christianity included) as being capable of being both a conduit for devout ‘heart-hunger’ after God, as well as for coercion, manipulation, abuse and even violence (i.e. ‘dangerous religion’). (17)

Given that Islam has Semitic roots and 25% of the Qur’an is a direct reference to the biblical text (18), we recognize the considerable Christian scholarship, which identifies Islam as borrowing heavily from ancient Judaism (e.g. Abraham and circumcision; Moses and law; adopting of the Hebrew prophetic tradition, holy war). This makes it ethically and theologically an ‘Old Covenant’ oriented religio-political phenomenon, as demonstrated by its teaching on the nature of God; revelation; gender arrangements in marriage and society; a religious legal code; and holy war. To this extent Islam is chronologically AD in its founding, but theologically BC in its thinking (i.e. it remains un-informed by the New Covenant of divine grace in Christ, as attested to in both testaments).

We realise we must not be complacent; nor should we forget that our priorities are to be shaped by the ‘Great Commission’ and the ‘Great Command’ of Christ to love (Mat.22:37). Islam’s roots provide multiple access points for Christian witness; focusing less on Islam the religion and more on a Muslim’s experience of it, as a person. We see the Muslim presence less as a threat and more as a missional opportunity (Ac.17:26-27).

> TO READ MORE

The Mahabba Network acknowledges that Islam is a Semitic phenomenon. This yields many points of contact or bridges for the entre of the gospel.

  1. The Judaic elements are widely recognized in Christian scholarship where some scholars and analysts have even referred to Islam, as an Arabized form of ancient Judaism. (19)
  2. With regards to the International Charter of Human Rights, Islam is a mediaeval tradition that is being challenged to find its way in the modern world, while an enforced “reforming” process is arguably at work in an increasingly globalised world.
  3. “Islam” and “Muslim” are not the same thing, as a “Communist” is not “Communism”. Many (so called) ‘Muslims’ are actually non-religious – identifying as secular; gay; even atheist. We distinguish between the minority of militants engaged in ‘dangerous religion’ and the many fair- minded Muslims, with a heart after God as they understand him.

7. How we understand the immigrant community

The Mahabba Network recognises the scope of the Great Commission (20) as including our own ‘Jerusalem’ (locally); our own ‘Judea’ (nationally); and to the ends of the earth (globally) (Ac.1:8). Jesus added the category of ‘Samaria’ (i.e. immigrants who are ‘foreign’ but local). This takes us out of our comfort zone to engage in the cross-cultural transmission of the gospel.

> TO READ MORE

The Mahabba Network takes the following view of the Great Commission in a multi-cultural society:

  1. We note how Jesus turned Samaritans, from being a mental ‘stumbling block’ and threat, into a missional ‘stepping-stone’ to the nations. Today, the reverse is happening in that all four locations are reflected among the immigrant communities now living in our postcode (Ac.1:8; Ac.8:14).
  2. The Great Commission involves “word” (proclamation), “work” (works of service) and “wonder” (healing and deliverance). Word and work are a polarity (i.e. two opposites, which need each another), rather than a dichotomy (i.e. two opposites, which fight each other).
  3. Jesus warned about people denigrating the gospel or abusing us; instructing us to respond graciously when people ‘…revile and persecute you and say evil against you falsely,’ (Mat.5:11-13). Paul says: ‘It has been granted to you on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His name.’ (Phils.1:29; Jn.12:2)

The Trustees of Mahabba Network

Last amended 30 Sept 2019 - SB

Sources:

  1. Anne Lamott, Travelling Mercies in Bird by Bird, pg. 22; https://writingshed.me/2010/04/17/when-god-hates-the-same-people-you-do/

  2. Abuse of black footballers https://www.voice-online.co.uk/article/twitter-crackdown-racist-abuse-black-footballers; abuse of Jewish people https://metro.co.uk/2017/02/02/hate-crimes-against-jewish-people-in-the-uk-rise-to-record-levels-6421974/; abuse of gay people up 80% over past four years
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/gay-lgbt-hate-crimes-stats; abuse of MPs has doubled since 2017 www.theGaurdian.com; abuse of the police running at 72 a day or 1 every 20 mins in England & Wales www.telegraph.co.uk

  3. Martin Accad, Christian Attitudes toward Islam and Muslims – a kerygmatic approach (in D. Woodberry, Toward Respectful Understanding & Witness among Muslims, William Carey Lib., 2012)

  4. Rev Dr John R. W. Stott, https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/14919141.John_R_W_Stott

  5. Ethical Guidelines for faith witness, www.christianmuslimforum.org/ethical-guidelines

  6. Toward Christlike Relationships with Muslims: An Affirmation by a Global Network of Christian practitioners https://113142-322344raikfcquaxqncofqfm.stackpathdns.com/wpcontent/uploads/pdf/grace_and_truth_affirmation.pdf

  7. The Great Command of Christ - Mk.12:30-32; Rom.13:8,10; 1 Jn.3:18; 1 Cors.13:4-13

  8. The Great Commission of Christ - Mat.28:19-20; Mk.16:15; Lk.24:47; Jn.20:21; Ac.1:7-8

  9. Steve Bell, a phrase often used in platform ministry to define the notion of ‘friendship evangelism’

  10. The ‘Beautiful Attitudes’ of Jesus - Mat.5:3-10; Roms.12:18; Jas.3:17-18; Phils.4:9

  11. Rev Dr John R.W. Stott from the platform; then displayed as a quote at Carey Baptist College, Auckland, New Zealand

  12. David Bebbington, The Quadrilateral Characteristics of Evangelicalism
    www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Bebbington

  13. Martin Accad, Christian Attitudes toward Islam and Muslims – a kerygmatic approach (in D. Woodberry, Toward Respectful Understanding & Witness among Muslims, William Carey Lib., 2012)

  14. Rev Dr John R.W. Stott, https://sojo.net/articles/conservative-radical-article-john-stott

  15. Andrew Walls, The Gospel as Prisoner & Liberator of Culture, Orbis Books, 1996

  16. Eds. Steve Bell & Colin Chapman, Between Naivety and Hostility; Authentic, 2009

  17. Ida Glaser with Hannah Kay, Thinking Biblically about Islam, Langham Global Library, 2016

  18. Andy Bannister, Islamicist and Director of the SOLAS Centre for Public Christianity; Andy Bannister, How Did Islam Really Begin?, a seminar on the “biblicist” material in the Qur’an, 29 Sept 2019, notes pg3

  19. A selection of scholars affirming the Judaic content within the Islamic tradition include … Kenneth Cragg (1956); Prof Sir Norman Anderson (1957); J. Jomier (1993); Colin Chapman (1995); D. Waines (1996); Neusner, Sonn & Brockopp (2000); Bernard Lewis (2003); Rt Rev Dr Bill A. Musk (2005)

What could be a better time?

Image Unsplash

Image Unsplash

What could be a better time?

Jill brings an encouragement from a local group getting together with Muslim friends to share God’s story

“What could be a better time than this for Muslim and Christian women to meet together in friendship?”

These were the first words that were said at the first of our Prophets’ Stories (see below for more info) meetings. It was the day after the Christchurch shootings and we were able to come with flowers and stand together with Muslim friends as they grieved. Then a month later when we met again, it was just after the Sri Lankan church bombings, and this time the Muslim ladies came with flowers and stood with us.

These two international tragedies cemented our desire to meet together in unity and look at the stories of the prophets. We had asked our friend, a young lady leading the women’s work at one of the town’s mosques, if she thought there might be a group of ladies who would like to look together at the stories we have in common and see what we can learn together about God and about ourselves. She was very enthusiastic and thus it was that our meetings began.

About a dozen of us, half Christian and half Muslim, have enjoyed getting to know each other. A few of the Christian women had never really met a Muslim, and some of the Muslim women had never met a real follower of Jesus.

“I walked in sceptical to other people’s views and worried about how they would react to opinions, but ended on a positive high.”

“I arrived, not really knowing what to expect. Now I’m really glad I came; I’m relaxed and excited for the next one.”

It was a great joy to see ladies who had only just met sharing deeply about their joys and their difficulties, and then discussing together what we learned about God from the stories of Jonah and Joseph. We talked, among other things, about what it means to trust God in difficult circumstances, being obedient to God, and the power of forgiveness in families.

Ramadan and school holidays interrupted our meetings – but we look forward to starting again in September and seeing what God will do!

Strident attitudes to Muslims

Image Unsplash

Image Unsplash

August update

Things may seem to have gone quiet – but – a lot is happening behind the scenes. I was asked to update you now, to tide us over until September, when things pick up again in earnest.

My role in the Mahabba Network is to help implement our core purpose and vision; working with the network to ensure we have what is needed to flourish. A key part of this is to increase connectivity through sharing across the network.

An important felt need in the network seems to be how we respond to the current rise in strident attitudes to Muslims – especially in some Evangelical circles. This is being expressed verbally from some pulpits; online audio/visual materials; and in combative behaviour.

Since the change in political climate in the USA, I have noticed that some Evangelical groups in the UK are openly seeking to discredit Muslims, as though it were a new clause of the Great Commission. What’s more even fellow Christians are being denigrated publicly online and in print, for responding to Muslims with ‘grace and truth’. It would be great to hear from you if you are noticing anything along these lines, where you are.

It was suggested that the network should devise a “position statement” on ministry with ‘grace and truth’. This could be available on the website to point people to. It could be an effective way of dispelling misunderstanding that ‘grace and truth’ is a “soft” option; “naïve” or “liberal”. It would be to clarify where the term ‘grace and truth’ comes from; what the Bible says about it; why it is ‘Christly’; why it is part of historic Christian witness; how it can be modelled in practice; as well as identifying the political issues which are feeding ‘right wing’ strident views.

My sense is that people linked to the Mahabba Network, are engaging with ‘grace and truth’ on a spectrum from the ‘relational’ to the ‘robust’. So over to you – Do you concur? Would such a statement help us? How do you understand the term ‘grace and truth’? How far does it resonate with what you are doing and seeing in your area? My own feeling is that a position statement would also help to profile the unique contribution the Mahabba Network is making to the national conversation.

It would be great if you would add your thoughts to the Discourse discussion thread; or chat about your views to the Regional Facilitator in your area. Please be assured, whatever is important to you is certainly of keen interest to the network. Thanks for reading this and let’s keep one another covered in prayer through August.

Have a great remainder of the summer!

N.B. requires account to sign on - see here for more details


Steve is a member of the Mahabba team, with a particular focus on development and strategy

All of them

Image Unsplash

Image Unsplash

All of them

I have recently been running the ‘Come Follow Me’ course with a new Believer from a Muslim background one to one. I have been moved by the commitment of the student. One course question asks the student ‘What are the costly things you might have to give up’? ‘a. Your reputation in the community, b. your employment or business, c. your family, d. your property or inheritance, e. other’? His answer was ‘All of them!’ Matthew 19:29 is very apposite for such followers!

The method of learning used in Come Follow Me is ‘Head, Heart and Hands’. The ‘Head’ part is covered by the student reading the weeks notes alone and answering simple questions on them in their book before meeting to discuss it with their advisor. When the student has done this it works very well. I find that my student comes to meet with me already having a good grasp of the subject. Our meeting is where the ‘heart’ section of teaching applies. As we review the basic content of the weeks study together, perceptive questions are asked (given in the Advisors Guide). These really help to draw out the students feelings and experiences on the subject. This is a very important part of the course. The course outwardly may appear to be academic as it is in book form, but these questions really make it come alive. At the close of each week a practical assignment is given that relates to that weeks lesson. This is the ‘hands’ section. As the Advisor and student pray and live out the course during the following week, practical discipleship growth can take place.

The examples in the book are all taken from the Muslim cultural context, with Muslim sounding names and illustrations. Many of the examples are taken from real life. The other general examples are also extremely well informed on the Muslim experience of life. I have often heard my student exclaim ‘This was written for me!’ and ‘the author knows my situation!’.

The subject matter covers conventional discipleship matter such as ‘New Life in Christ’, ‘Talking with God’ and ‘God’s word for Us’. It also covers subjects you may not often find in a discipleship course such as ‘Reasons for Persecution’, ‘Husbands and wives’, ‘solving our disputes’, ‘Fate and Magic’. All of the twenty subjects draw on a wealth of understanding of Muslim culture and the challenges faced by a new disciple to Jesus. The Advisor Guide contains very helpful cultural clues about Islam, so that a novice to Islam can run the course very effectively.

The course is also available in numerous languages which enables an advisor and student to operate in two languages if necessary. In my case I have an English Advisors guide and my student both the English and Farsi translation. It is a little cumbersome getting four books out each time, but it has ensured that the meaning of weeks subject is communicated clearly.

Finally books only get you so far. The course requires an Advisor to be prayerful, hospitable and willing to walk the walk with the student. If they do, they will find it almost as rewarding as the student!

Further details on the course can be found here: https://come-follow-me.org/about


Chas is a member of the Network Circle team and as a Regional Facilitator, supports groups in the London region.

Everyday religion

Image Unsplash

Image Unsplash

Everyday religion

People seek for methods of learning to love God. They hope to arrive at it by I know not how many different practices; they take much trouble to remain in the presence of God in a quantity of ways. Is it not much shorter and more direct to do everything for the love of God, to make use of all the labours of one’s state in life to show Him that love, and to maintain His presence within us by this communion of our hearts with His? There is no finesse about it; one has only to do it generously and simply.
— Brother Lawrence, Practising the Presence of God

We hear many statistics about the decline of Christianity in the West. There is even a dedicated Wikipedia entry called, ‘Decline of Christianity.’ It seems to be an assumption even within the Church that makes us shake our heads and question the state of the world.

What are these statistics based on? They generally use census data or depend on surveys that ask about membership of official organisations, or about attendance of formal events. Yet, sociologists of religion have realised that this cannot be the full picture of religious life.

Now the study of religion has shifted beyond the old dualism of ‘official’ and ‘folk’ religion that suggested a life of faith is lived either in orthodox beliefs and practices or popular expressions of visits to shrines, pilgrimage, ritual healing and stories of miracles. As if we couldn’t do both. See for instance the growth in pilgrimage.

Currently sociology of religion is studied as ‘Lived Religion.’ It pays attention to wherever and however we find people invoking the sacred. This can be on the sports field, at the work desk, in the washing of a patient’s hands or the telephone conversation with a hurting friend, or, as with Brother Lawrence, when we’re peeling potatoes.

Our daily activities are motivated and shaped by our culture, beliefs and the authority we subscribe to, which in turn is shaped by a religious heritage. All of these factors combine to shape our intentions when we engage with our neighbour. Is it out of guilt or love, honour or shame, fear or power? The question therefore is to see what paradigms of thought underlie Lived Religion.

The WhenWomenSpeak network brings together thinking and practice that help us question our assumptions, not only about the beliefs and practices of others, but also to see how the Bible addresses these paradigms, and sometimes help us understand our own motivations in a new light. At a recent workshop in Bristol, we started exploring paradigms of honour and shame, rites of passage and purity to hear from each other how these frameworks help shape deeper connection to our neighbour.

Try this for yourself. Read Matthew 15 and see which parts are shaped by ideas about purity and which have to do with honour and shame. How does Jesus display his divinity in an everyday activity?


Georgina is a member of the Network Circle team and as a Regional Facilitator, supports groups in the West region.

Why (and how) I am part of the Mahabba Network

Webp.net-resizeimage.jpg

Why (and how) I am part of the Mahabba network – by Steve Bell

The Mission [or church] which perpetuates habituated practices is doomed, due to non-responsiveness to nuance and change.
— Ted Ward – Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

We seem hard-wired to “maintain” the existing, rather than “establish” what’s needed! The Great Commission was first entrusted to spiritual entrepreneurs (‘apostolic’ people), however, mission structures are largely configured around ‘maintenance’; a focus on the regions behind us, rather than ‘pioneering’ the regions beyond us (2 Corinthians 10:16).

When necessary ‘regions beyond’ people pull away from the pack; aim for the essence of the Great Commission; research the context; prayerfully reflect; galvanise and take radical action. The seeds of past DNA and vision endure (Job 14:9) but not methods and structures. Mahabba is an expression of ‘new wine’ (Matthew 9:17) and its “network” structure is a ‘new wineskin’.

While the fledgling needs maintenance, 90% of the global mission taskforce is being placed in ‘Christianised’ areas with a viable national church (1). Little wonder that – generally speaking – mission structures have dropped the ‘apostolic’ baton of their pioneers and hold to the status quo by rationalising; collaborating to retain economy of scale to prolong a status quo that’s in terminal decline. Some will do anything but embrace radical change, which might be threatening to the organisation’s ‘heritage’.

The former structure has served very well for 150 years but over time, they have succumbed to the pressure to adopt clunky formal practices. An unintended consequence is that it has led to a customer/supplier relationship between mission agency (the specialist) and local church (client). The system has unwittingly marginalised the local church in the mission process.

Pressure is building for the ‘democratisation’ of mission because more churches are taking ownership, which makes “network” an emerging structure to watch. This ‘new wineskin’ is now needed due to issues such as globalisation; Christians travelling overseas for work; the ‘ends of the earth’ have come to Jerusalem and is living in our postcode; a felt need by Christians to be ‘up-skilled’ for the cross-cultural context we now live in.

The wineskin to engage with this is not the ‘formal’ but in ‘network’. This is why I declined the title “director/national facilitator” of the Mahabba Network, choosing instead to prayerfully explore with the team, how best to build its existing aspiration to be a network. I am excited to be part of fulfilling the vision of seeing: ‘Fruitful ministry among people of Muslim heritage as a normal part of church life. This is born out of an ‘apostolic’ instinct. It seeks to co-operate with God to bring the unseen into existence rather than re-hash the past, which is tantamount to re-organising deckchairs on the Titanic.

We are living in a “pan-geographical” and “issue-based” era of mission (2). Local churches are therefore baptising and nurturing people with Muslim heritage (my own included). The Mahabba Network exists to encourage, facilitate and resource this trend; this is why I sense the Lord’s permission to join the leadership team – not as a ‘corporate’ leader but – as a “gift-person” in God, who carries some key roles, including “strategic implementation”.

I look forward to connecting with everyone in the network.

Sources

  1. Ralph Winter – U.S. Center for World Mission & Intl. Society for Frontier Missiology

  2. The 3 eras of modern mission: 1792 onwards “Coastlands” (William Carey et al); 1865 onwards “Inland” (Hudson Taylor et al); 1934 onwards non-geographical sites “Unreached Peoples” (C. Townsend & D. Mc Gavran) from everywhere to everywhere. http://www.missionfrontiers.org/issue/article/four-men-three-eras

Steve is a mission analyst, trainer, writer and speaker. Contactable on 07815 042033 or e-mail stevebell2101@sky.com

Eid 3: Love

Lovefast prayer and action campaign from the Mahabba Network

Day 33 of 30

By Chas from Mahabba’s Network Team


Daily verse

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.
— John 15:9

Thought for the day

Love

Do you remember how you first began to love Muslims? There are many ways we may have begun. How can this love be sustained in the coming year? Firstly, love comes not from ourselves rather ‘love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God’. (1 John 4:7-12) So we need to remain very close to the source of love - ‘Abide in my love.’ (John 15:9) Secondly, we need to live from His love in all our relationships -‘They will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.’ (John 13:35) Then we can carry this love out into the world by sharing our faith verbally or by giving a Gospel to read; through our practical action and by inviting them into loving relationships; and through prayer leading to signs and wonders.
Let our love be genuine.


Prayer for the day

What has God been saying to you during Lovefast? Note two action points (in your prayer journal) for your future involvement with Muslims and resolve to keep on praying for them.


Daily action

Watch this video of UK Christian leaders addressing our Muslim friends. Consider joining the Mahabba Network as a way of keeping connected with your Muslim neighbours… Maybe you can become a Friend of Mahabba and support the ministry.


Eid 2: Pray

Lovefast prayer and action campaign from the Mahabba Network

Day 32 of 30

By Phil S from Mahabba’s Network Team


Daily verse

Pray without ceasing.
— 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Thought for the day

Pray

We have now been praying for 30 days during the Ramadan fast.

This has focused on both the global through the 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World guide (promoted in UK by Interserve) and also our own Mahabba Lovefast prayer and action campaign, which has had more of a local focus.

Muslims have ben fervently praying during this period.

They generally follow a pattern of five daily prayers (one of the five pillars of Islam), similar way to the Christian monastic tradition.

The Muslim call to prayer is called the adhan.

I have experienced it as incredibly beautiful when sung acapella in the mountains of Pakistan but also as a cacophony when played through loudspeakers in a mega-city.

But this Lovefast has also been a call to prayer. And we want to continue. To ‘pray without ceasing’.

Join in the Jumaa Prayer campaign every Friday at 12noon to continue praying for your Muslim friends and neighbours. We will be posting more look out for the hashtag #JumaaPrayer.


Prayer for the day

Join in the Jumaa prayer campaign every Friday at 12pm to continue praying for your Muslim friends and neighbours.


Daily action

Find out a good time to visit a Muslim friend and take them a gift, maybe some dates, or something halal. And don't forget to continue to pray. It makes all the difference. One way to continue is to join in with our Mahabba Jumaa prayer initiative.


Your turn

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


Resources

Do you want to involve your church in blessing Muslim people through prayer and friendship?

There are new 30 Days of Prayer church resources available for you:

  • Pray Together as a Congregation

  • Small Group Session

  • Night of Power Prayer Meeting

  • Prayer Walk Guide

What’s your next step after 30 Days? There are loads of resources to help you on your journey.


Partners of 30 Days of Prayer

Eid 1: Eat

Webp.net-resizeimage (16).jpg

Day 31 of 30

By Phil S from Mahabba’s Network Team


Daily verse

The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.
— Matthew 11:19

Thought for the day

Eat

Muslims end Ramadan with the feast of Eid-al-Fitr, which is a time for Muslims at the end of the 30 days of fasting to dress up and celebrate with family. (Like Easter at the end of a long Lent or Christmas after the anticipation of advent.)

Maybe some of you were able to take part in an Iftar party at the time of breaking the fast. (We love to hear any stories from you.)

Why not take the opportunity to invite your Muslim friends (along with others) for a meal in your home, or in your community.

Eating together always builds community.

‎Lovefast, which has been running during the 30 days of ‎Ramadan is now over.

The daily blogs will stop at the end of Eid. Now it’s party time and the opportunity for us to start wishing Happy Eid to all our Muslim friends – learn to say the appropriate Arabic greetings: 'Eid Mubarak and Khair Mubarak'.


Prayer for the day

Send a text message to any Muslim friends you have wishing them ‘Eid Mubarak’ (blessed festival) and telling them you're praying for them, that God would bless them.


Daily action

Get hold of a copy of "Simply Eat: Everyday stories of friendship, food and faith” and think about inviting some friends to your home for a shared meal (you can try out one of the recipes in the book).


Your turn

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


Resources

Do you want to involve your church in blessing Muslim people through prayer and friendship?

There are new 30 Days of Prayer church resources available for you:

  • Pray Together as a Congregation

  • Small Group Session

  • Night of Power Prayer Meeting

  • Prayer Walk Guide

What’s your next step after 30 Days? There are loads of resources to help you on your journey.


Partners of 30 Days of Prayer

Lovefast 30: Offering hospitality

Lovefast prayer and action campaign from the Mahabba Network

Day 30 of 30

By Phil S from Mahabba’s Network Team

Inspired by today's entry in the 30 Days of Prayer booklet, but with a UK twist!


If you’ve not signed up to receive the daily prompts to your inbox - see here →


Daily verse

And the Lord appeared to him (Abraham) by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth and said, “O Lord, if I have found favour in your sight, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, while I bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on...
— Genesis 18:1-5

Thought for the day

Offering hospitality

St Francis of Assisi and a companion, Illuminato, crossed enemy lines and entered into the Sultan's camp during the 5th crusades 800 years ago

He met with Sultan Malik al Kamil (and Sufi adviser Fakhr al-Farisi) in 1219 in Damietta, Egypt.

He came with a simple message, ‘Peace be upon you,’ which echoed the Muslim greeting, 'Assalam Walekum' and the response 'Walekum Assalam.' Maybe that is why he was accepted and given an opportunity to proclaim his faith in Jesus to the Sultan himself.

St. Francis never spoke against Muhammad or his Message or said that the sultan was wrong in his beliefs. The sultan was therefore willing to listen to Francis speak of why he followed his Saviour, Jesus Christ.

That space of kindness, respect, and new friendship was maintained throughout their time together. St. Francis of Assisi is warmly remembered by Muslims as “The Monk” who came to visit.

Gentle conversation, mutual respect, being honourably received, and eating together. These were all hallmarks of the encounter. Francis even brokered a peace agreement, resulting in a ceasefire (although it was not long lasting it nonetheless prevented bloodshed).

This encounter between Sultan and Saint represents a vibrant model of interfaith engagement and faith-sharing that is highly relevant in these times of conflict. And it is symbolised in the act of meetings and eating together.


Prayer for the day

St. Francis of Assisi's prayer in praise of God (probably influenced by his encounter with Al Kamil) given to Brother Leo:

You are holy, Lord, the only God, and Your deeds are wonderful.

You are strong. You are great. You are the Most High. You are Almighty.

You, Holy Father are King of heaven and earth.

You are Three and One, Lord God, all Good.

You are Good, all Good, supreme Good, Lord God, living and true.

You are love. You are wisdom. You are humility. You are endurance. You are rest. You are peace. You are joy and gladness. You are justice and moderation. You are all our riches, and You suffice for us. You are beauty. You are gentleness. You are our protector. You are our guardian and defender. You are our courage. You are our haven and our hope. You are our faith, our great consolation.

You are our eternal life, Great and Wonderful Lord, God Almighty, Merciful Saviour.


Daily action

ind out more about the Sultan and the Saint by watching the trailer to the film: www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OOLOD8tQ8U&t=19s. and read more about it www.sultanandthesaintfilm.com

Known as Dolmas in the Middle East, this is a dish that Sultan Malik al-Kamil may have actually offered to St. Francis of Assisi. Vine leaves, filled with spiced meat or grains and vegetables.

Try making 'Dolma', stuffed vine leaves, to serve to Muslim guests. Then you can invite them to your home and host them for a 'peace-meal', or take as an Eid gift https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUCgBaQe1g8

You can read more about it here..... https://saintsandrecipes.com/st-francis-of-assisi-and-the-sultan-stuffed-grape-leaves/


Your turn

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


Resources

Do you want to involve your church in blessing Muslim people through prayer and friendship?

There are new 30 Days of Prayer church resources available for you:

  • Pray Together as a Congregation

  • Small Group Session

  • Night of Power Prayer Meeting

  • Prayer Walk Guide

What’s your next step after 30 Days? There are loads of resources to help you on your journey.


Partners of 30 Days of Prayer

Lovefast 29: Language of hospitality

Lovefast prayer and action campaign from the Mahabba Network

Day 29 of 30

By Jonathan from Welcome Churches

Inspired by today's entry in the 30 Days of Prayer booklet, but with a UK twist!


If you’ve not signed up to receive the daily prompts to your inbox - see here →


Daily verse

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.
— Matthew 25:35-36

Thought for the day

Language of hospitality

The door opened into a sparsely furnished room. Some nervous and curious faces greeted us as we said “Hello”. They invited us in, giving us the best seats, then there were smiles and laughter as we tried to communicate with Ahmad and Fatemeh; using simple English and hand signals while they did their best to respond.

The shy kids clung to their parents, eyeing up the strangers who had just arrived. They gratefully received the little gifts we had brought in our Welcome Box, thankful that someone cared enough to visit them in this strange land.

They were soon serving us hot sweet tea from small glasses along with a side serving of nuts and dried fruit.

Here was an opportunity to speak the language of hospitality that they know so well, that has been part of the rhythm of Middle Eastern life since the time of Abraham.

As we drank tea with them, they received our visit as an honour. Hospitality is such a deeply held value in Middle Eastern Culture, and a way that Muslim asylum seekers feel able to give back to their Western hosts.

We can learn much about hospitality from people like Ahmad and Fatemeh, even if they have had to flee and leave everything behind, if we will only take the time to sit and drink tea with them.


Prayer for the day

Prayer for Refugees (Church of England):

Almighty and merciful God,
whose Son became a refugee and had no place to call his own;
look with mercy on those who today are fleeing from danger,
homeless and hungry.
Bless those who work to bring them relief;
inspire generosity and compassion in all our hearts;
and guide the nations of the world towards that day when all will rejoice in your Kingdom of justice and of peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.


Daily action

Welcome Churches vision is for every refugee to be welcomed by the local church. This year, we are building a Welcome Network, a national network of churches committed to welcoming refugees and asylum seekers into their communities, reducing the isolation of thousands of refugees each year.


Your turn

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


Resources

Do you want to involve your church in blessing Muslim people through prayer and friendship?

There are new 30 Days of Prayer church resources available for you:

  • Pray Together as a Congregation

  • Small Group Session

  • Night of Power Prayer Meeting

  • Prayer Walk Guide

What’s your next step after 30 Days? There are loads of resources to help you on your journey.


Partners of 30 Days of Prayer

Lovefast 28: Valley of Imams

Lovefast prayer and action campaign from the Mahabba Network

Day 28 of 30

By Ted from Mahabba’s Network Team

Inspired by today's entry in the 30 Days of Prayer booklet, but with a UK twist!


If you’ve not signed up to receive the daily prompts to your inbox - see here →


Daily verse

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus...
— 1 Timothy 2:5

Thought for the day

Valley of Imams

imagine for many users of 30 days, this is the first time they have heard of Yemen’s “Valley of Death.”

I first heard about it some time ago from some of my Muslim neighbours.

They call it the “Valley of the Imams.”

They speak of Tarim, its main city, with reverence.

It is seen as a place where an extremely pure and mystical form of Islam has been preserved.

The teaching of the Sufi masters of that region are currently gaining a following among British Muslims.

They major on Muhammad as the great intercessor.

Before the war made Yemen inaccessible, a steady stream were going to Tarim to study.

The Sufi masters of the Hadramawt are gaining a following because Muslims in Britain are looking for more than they find in their mosques.

Let’s pray that they find Jesus, the mediator, our advocate and our intercessor before God.


Prayer for the day

Lord, reveal yourself to those seeking within Islam. May they discover that the Lord is their shepherd, and when they pass though the valley of the shadow of death may they discover you are with them to deliver them from evil and guide them to truth (Psalm 23).


Daily action

Find out about Sufism. Look online.


Your turn

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


Resources

Do you want to involve your church in blessing Muslim people through prayer and friendship?

There are new 30 Days of Prayer church resources available for you:

  • Pray Together as a Congregation

  • Small Group Session

  • Night of Power Prayer Meeting

  • Prayer Walk Guide

What’s your next step after 30 Days? There are loads of resources to help you on your journey.


Partners of 30 Days of Prayer

Lovefast 27: Nomad

Lovefast prayer and action campaign from the Mahabba Network

Day 27 of 30

By Georgina from Mahabba’s Network Team

Inspired by today's entry in the 30 Days of Prayer booklet, but with a UK twist!


If you’ve not signed up to receive the daily prompts to your inbox - see here →


Daily verse

They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
— John 17:16

Thought for the day

Perpetual nomads

Once you start thinking about it, the Bible is really built around nomads.

Abraham is called to the Promised Land but takes a lifetime to get there; the Israelites wander for 40 years and are not long settled before they are taken into exile.

Jesus has no place to lay his head and St. Paul's life is characterised by travels, even in captivity.

These are examples of people who were physically nomadic but there are also those who are mentally nomadic.

Peter took years to move from his Jewish culture to the freedom offered in Christ.

Acts 10:9-16 shows that Peter struggled with Jewish food laws long after his walk with Christ as disciple.

In the same way, believers from Muslim background may stay in one geographic place but they traverse different worlds.

They may settle quickly into a new Christian 'culture' or they may take the rest of their lives to settle, always negotiating two identities.

In the same way, refugees, exiles and immigrants may be perpetual nomads.

Perhaps we can learn from them what it is to 'not be of this world' and yet to be sent to the world (John 17:14-19).


Prayer for the day

Lord Jesus, help us to find our full identity in You, and help us to share you with others so they too can discover who they really are…


Daily action

See if you can host the course, Joining the Family, in your congregation or home group.


Your turn

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


Resources

Do you want to involve your church in blessing Muslim people through prayer and friendship?

There are new 30 Days of Prayer church resources available for you:

  • Pray Together as a Congregation

  • Small Group Session

  • Night of Power Prayer Meeting

  • Prayer Walk Guide

What’s your next step after 30 Days? There are loads of resources to help you on your journey.


Partners of 30 Days of Prayer

Lovefast 26: Power

Lovefast prayer and action campaign from the Mahabba Network

Day 26 of 30

By Phil G from Mahabba’s Network Team

Inspired by today's entry in the 30 Days of Prayer booklet, but with a UK twist!


If you’ve not signed up to receive the daily prompts to your inbox - see here →


Daily verse

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
— Ephesians 2:8

Thought for the day

Night of Power

Why is this night so special? Muslims believe that on this night particularly God will hear and answer their prayers. It is said that praying through this night is better than praying for a thousand months and that if they pray without rest until dawn God is more likely to forgive their sins.

It’s also called the Night of Destiny. Many Muslims believe that on this night God determines what will happen to them and their family in the coming year, so it’s worth making extra effort in praying.

Many of our Muslim friends will be trying their best to please God and earn his forgiveness and blessing tonight. How we long for them to know that they don’t have to do all these things to be right with God. How we need to pray that God will open their eyes to see the forgiveness that Jesus freely offers.


Prayer for the day

Pray for the Muslims you know, that tonight they would have dreams and visions of Jesus.


Daily action

Explain about the Night of Power to your Christian friends and ask them to pray for Muslims tonight. How about going in pairs and prayer walking your street to pray.


Your turn

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


Resources

Do you want to involve your church in blessing Muslim people through prayer and friendship?

There are new 30 Days of Prayer church resources available for you:

  • Pray Together as a Congregation

  • Small Group Session

  • Night of Power Prayer Meeting

  • Prayer Walk Guide

What’s your next step after 30 Days? There are loads of resources to help you on your journey.


Partners of 30 Days of Prayer

Lovefast 25: Alive

Lovefast prayer and action campaign from the Mahabba Network

Day 25 of 30

By Mohjde from ELAM Ministries

Inspired by today's entry in the 30 Days of Prayer booklet, but with a UK twist!


If you’ve not signed up to receive the daily prompts to your inbox - see here →


Daily verse

I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
— Acts 1:1-3

Thought for the day

Alive

God is doing amazing things among Iranians. This entry is based on Elam's Easter Newsletter

Mojhde writes: "One of my favourite verses in the whole Bible is Acts 1:3 where, ‘after his suffering,’ Jesus ‘presented himself alive’ to his disciples.

To that first generation of his followers, Jesus tangibly and powerfully showed himself to be alive – risen from the dead! What a glorious Easter truth.

Another glorious truth is this: Jesus is still ‘presenting himself alive’ to people today. All across Iran, Jesus is presenting himself alive to ordinary people in extraordinary ways, and many are surrendering their lives to Him.

By God’s grace, this recent Easter many thousands of new Iranian believers celebrated the risen Jesus for the first time. Praise God for His amazing work.

And its happening in Europe too ......

The pictured Bible belongs to Sanaz, a new Iranian believer in a refugee camp in Europe. As you can see, she has a real hunger for the Word of God! Sanaz has loved studying her Bible ever since she came to faith. Devouring sermons and books that help her to understand God's Word, she takes careful notes. So when other refugees ask questions about Jesus, Sanaz is ready to share. Many now want their own copies of the Scriptures.


Prayer for the day

Pray with ELAM: That Jesus continues to present himself alive to many more in Iran and beyond (especially here in Britain); That more lives will be transformed through encounters with the resurrected Christ


Daily action

Find out more about ELAM and what is happening among Iranians in Britain and Europe.


Your turn

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


Resources

Do you want to involve your church in blessing Muslim people through prayer and friendship?

There are new 30 Days of Prayer church resources available for you:

  • Pray Together as a Congregation

  • Small Group Session

  • Night of Power Prayer Meeting

  • Prayer Walk Guide

What’s your next step after 30 Days? There are loads of resources to help you on your journey.


Partners of 30 Days of Prayer

Lovefast 24: Eat!

Lovefast prayer and action campaign from the Mahabba Network

Day 24 of 30

By Charlotte from Frontiers

Inspired by today's entry in the 30 Days of Prayer booklet, but with a UK twist!


If you’ve not signed up to receive the daily prompts to your inbox - see here →


Daily verse

All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
— Acts 2:44-47

Thought for the day

Eat!

At a mother and toddlers’ group that I go to with my daughter there is a Muslim lady who is originally from the Middle East.

Very often she brings a new friend to the group and she is always helping others, especially those who are new to the area.

She is a great blessing to many who know her.

When I see the gifts that God has given her to bless others, I pray that one day she will be using them in His Kingdom and for His glory.

Muslim culture is very hospitable and family oriented; food and eating play an important part in this.

Whenever I visit my Muslim friends I always leave having eaten a lot!

I feel sure that when they come to know Jesus this will be a distinctive of their new faith communities just as it was in Acts, and that many will meet in homes, eating together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people.


Prayer for the day

Jesus thank you for the hospitality that Muslim communities show. We pray that they would receive you with wide open arms and that many would come to know you.


Daily action

Research your local area. How many Muslims are there in your town or city? Are there restaurants or cafes run by Muslims? Go and eat in one and enjoy their hospitality.


Your turn

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


Resources

Do you want to involve your church in blessing Muslim people through prayer and friendship?

There are new 30 Days of Prayer church resources available for you:

  • Pray Together as a Congregation

  • Small Group Session

  • Night of Power Prayer Meeting

  • Prayer Walk Guide

What’s your next step after 30 Days? There are loads of resources to help you on your journey.


Partners of 30 Days of Prayer

Lovefast 23: Little Arabia

Lovefast prayer and action campaign from the Mahabba Network

Day 23 of 30

By Chas from Mahabba’s Network Team

Inspired by today's entry in the 30 Days of Prayer booklet, but with a UK twist!


If you’ve not signed up to receive the daily prompts to your inbox - see here →


Daily verse

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus.
— Isaiah 35:1

Thought for the day

Little Arabia

Edgware Road is known variously to Londoners as Little Cairo, Little Beirut or Little Arabia because of the large number of Middle Eastern restaurants and shisha cafes that stay open late at night.

What is less well known is that Britain is home to over 350,000 Arabs from Somalia, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and other countries.

Most live in Greater London, especially in the boroughs of Brent and Ealing, though populations can also be found further afield in Cardiff and South Shields.

In the summer, about a million and a half wealthy Arabs vacate the intense heat of the gulf for the temperate summers of London.

They are also attracted by the shops, shisha cafes, restaurants and parks in areas like Edgware Road.

Living in and visiting London provides them with the freedom to consider the Gospel outside of the religiously restrictive nations they come from.


Prayer for the day

Pray for those struggling to settle in to the UK, especially refugees. Pray that Arabs will hear the good news and be filled with Holy Spirit.


Daily action

Are you visiting London this summer? Why not add to your agenda visiting Edgware Road for an evening meal, or visit Regents Park during the day. Pray for an opportunity to share the good news with those you meet.


Your turn

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


Resources

Do you want to involve your church in blessing Muslim people through prayer and friendship?

There are new 30 Days of Prayer church resources available for you:

  • Pray Together as a Congregation

  • Small Group Session

  • Night of Power Prayer Meeting

  • Prayer Walk Guide

What’s your next step after 30 Days? There are loads of resources to help you on your journey.


Partners of 30 Days of Prayer

Lovefast 22: Conditions apply

Lovefast prayer and action campaign from the Mahabba Network

Day 22 of 30

By Karamat from Mahabba’s Network Team

Inspired by today's entry in the 30 Days of Prayer booklet, but with a UK twist!


If you’ve not signed up to receive the daily prompts to your inbox - see here →


Daily verse

When a foreigner resides with you in your land, you must not oppress him. You must treat the foreigner living among you as native-born and love him as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.
— Leviticus 19:33-34

Thought for the day

Conditions apply

A journalist contact of mine recently summed up Pakistan in these words: “it’s not inclusive of all its citizens. We are Pakistani by birth but conditions apply. Certain sects, women, religious and sexual minorities, artistes, entertainers and of course the poor are constantly let down. Only a particular ideology and mindset is accepted as Pakistani -- by the state and even by the people at large. But as a woman, there is no doubt in my mind that both the Pakistan and Islam of today have little room for women as free individuals. If I was a Christian or Hindu girl, I could have been abducted. If I had run away with a lover, I could be killed for honour. If I were raped, I would be expected to stay silent while the perpetrators would have impunity.” There is some hope with the recent change of government led by Imran Khan.

In the context of Britain, many towns and cities have a significant Pakistani community, with the largest being in Birmingham where there are up to 200,000 of the community. The vast majority of the community come from Azad Kashmir, the disputed territory under Pakistani control. The community is one of the most deprived of ethnic groups. If they are employed this will be in low paid jobs, in cheap restaurants, the retail trade and driving taxis. They follow their religion, Islam. Few have become followers of Christ. It would be fair to say they are the ‘Samaritans’ of our times.


Prayer for the day

Pray for the nations of Pakistan and Kashmir, for religious freedom and protection of minorities. In the British context pray that the community prospers and are open to the message of the Gospel.


Daily action

Pakistanis make up the largest minority in UK. Watch this video: BBC "How Pakistani city of Mirpur became Little England." Get to know your Pakistani neighbours. Check where they live. Consider prayer walking in an area near you (maybe near the mosque in your area) and praying and interceding as well as visiting shops and talking to people. It's fun…



Your turn

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


Resources

Do you want to involve your church in blessing Muslim people through prayer and friendship?

There are new 30 Days of Prayer church resources available for you:

  • Pray Together as a Congregation

  • Small Group Session

  • Night of Power Prayer Meeting

  • Prayer Walk Guide

What’s your next step after 30 Days? There are loads of resources to help you on your journey.


Partners of 30 Days of Prayer

Lovefast 21: Living stones

Lovefast prayer and action campaign from the Mahabba Network

Day 21 of 30

By Georgina from Mahabba’s Network Team

Inspired by today's entry in the 30 Days of Prayer booklet, but with a UK twist!


If you’ve not signed up to receive the daily prompts to your inbox - see here →


Daily verse

Other sheep I have, which are not of this Fold: Them also I must bring, and they shall hear my Voice
— John 10:16

Thought for the day

Living stones

The 19th century explorer and missionary, David Livingstone, travelled through south-eastern Africa together with Swahili traders. The Livingstone Online project makes his works available, showing several entries in his field diaries that detail his contact with 'the people from the coast.'

He relied on their local knowledge and also formed strong relationships with some while he tried to discourage the slave-trade. His friend, Mohammed Bogharib, often helped him out of trouble mostly by sharing food. Livingstone seems most grateful, writing in The Last Journals II, on the celebration of Eid ul-Adha, ‘the cookery is of their very best, and I always get a share.’ He even postponed one of his excursions because he was being so well-fed by Bogharib.

When Livingstone disappeared for several years, a newspaper cutting reports that 'the Arabs consider him to be one of them.' This was just before Henry Morton Stanley came across him and exclaimed, 'Dr Livingstone, I presume!'

Perhaps most telling of Livingstone's life in Africa is the care that was taken by the Christian, James Chuma, and the Muslim, Abdullah Susi, to return his remains to Britain. In this way they ensured that he was given a stately funeral in Westminster Abbey, London, on 18 April 1874.

Inscribed on the side of his tomb are the words from John 10 v.16. May these 'other sheep' include Swahili Muslims whose ancestors served and loved Livingstone.


Prayer for the day

Lord, help us not to be self-sufficient in our relationship with You or with our Muslim neighbours. Give us the openheartedness to ask for help and to accept help with gratitude. Help us to reach out to other sheep not of our fold, that they too may become 'Living Stones' … acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5).


Daily action

Read more about Dr Livingstone and find out more about the history of Swahili speakers. At the time, Swahili Muslims cared for Dr Livingstone by acting as guide, sharing food, even repatriating his body. Look for opportunities to reach out to Swahili speakers living in Britain from the Coastlands of East Africa And have a go at some Swahili yourself.


Your turn

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


Resources

Do you want to involve your church in blessing Muslim people through prayer and friendship?

There are new 30 Days of Prayer church resources available for you:

  • Pray Together as a Congregation

  • Small Group Session

  • Night of Power Prayer Meeting

  • Prayer Walk Guide

What’s your next step after 30 Days? There are loads of resources to help you on your journey.


Partners of 30 Days of Prayer