Last night was Laylatul Qadr, or the Night of Power. It was the 19th night of Ramadan and the night that many Muslims believe the first revelations of Islam were given and the prophethood of Muhammed began. Usually the people stay up most of the night, waiting in hope for a special revelation from God to themselves.
While I had planned to go uptown to spend time with the people while they celebrated this event, I became sick and instead went to bed. As I woke frequently during the night because of the constant noise, as my children did, I prayed as I listened to the unrelenting fireworks and chanting from the mosques. This went on for hours upon hours.
It reminded me of Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel. It is recorded that the prophets of Baal “called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made” (1 Kings 18:26). This was exactly what our friends here seemed to be doing. They were dancing, shouting, praying and shooting off fireworks nearly all night in the hope that they would hear from their god. How sad it was to hear them in their hopelessness, knowing that they would never hear from their god.
As followers of Christ, what do in this situation? Do we follow Elijah’s example and summon everyone to the mountain to call down fire from heaven and then kill the false prophets? Do we just walk away, shaking our heaven in confusion and frustration? This is where cultural apologetics comes into play and I get to dive in head first. To share Jesus with them, we need to understand them. It means rubbing shoulders with people you would never associate with. It means being uncomfortable and vulnerable. Sometimes it can be flat out scary and dangerous. Even so, it a critical element to reaching out.
If I were to use the Cosmological Argument with my Muslim friends, it would be a waste of time because they already believe the universe had a cause but they have no sense at all of a personal relationship with God. It is fear that drives them to do all they can to appease their god, not devotion, love, or thankfulness. Their lives are devoted to undertaking the works (the 5 pillars) necessary to bring about the possibility of salvation rather than trusting in the work of Jesus Christ and our assured salvation (Eph 2:8-9, Titus 3:5-7, 1 Jn 5:5-12, etc). These are important distinctions to make as we share and defend our faith.
As we engage Muslims in conversation, spirituality is constantly on their minds and on their tongues. This, combined with tradition, makes the Night of Power and the final week of Ramadan a time of desperate reaching out for a sign from god. Please join with us as we ask the God of Heaven to come and reveal Himself to our friends through His Son, Jesus Christ! Whether it is through His Word, dreams, visions, or whatever it may be, we want them to know the Truth personally. We want to see them cease calling out to a god who will not hear them or save them. They want a god to come and meet with them personally. Let’s ask Yahweh to do just that. Let us petition the only One True God who loves and cares for us all while listening to and answering our requests as He sees fit for His purposes. To God be the glory!
“Cross-posted at When Worldviews Collide“