This is the Islamic month of Ramadan which Muslims consider the holiest month of the year. The Islamic calendar is lunar which means that the months move 10-11 days per year. Thus, next year the month of Ramadan will begin around March 21. This is the annual month of fasting during which all Muslims fast from the very first light of dawn until sundown. While fasting, they abstain from all food, drink, smoking, and marital intimacy. Exceptions are made for those who are sick, old people, children, and for pregnant and nursing mothers.
Ramadan is a time of more intense spirituality and seeking to please God. All Muslims are expected to donate 2.5% of their increased worth and usually believe it gives them special merit to give to the poor during this month. They also believe that there is special merit for reading the Qur’an during this time. They read this in Arabic even though they may not understand the language and have only been taught how to pronounce it. There are special times of prayer during Ramadan for which they go to the mosque and for which they also receive additional merit. The last ten days of the month of Ramadan are special and are considered the days when in 610 AD, and following, the Qur’an was revealed to Mohammed. Some Muslims engage in prayer for the entire night because the value of prayer at that time is considered to be 1,000 times more effective.
While Islam was spread by conquest and by traders throughout significant areas of the world, it has been very resistant to the Gospel as well as some other religions. Up until about 1980 – through the entire history of Islam – there were only two significant movements to the Gospel – one in Ethiopia and the other in Indonesia. "Movements" is defined as the formation of 100 or more churches or 1,000 new converts over a two decade period. These "movements" are built and spread mainly by those who have professed faith in Christ in the area of the "movement". These "movements", then, have been indigenous movements with some numbering in the tens of thousand adherents!
The amazing part of this is that in the 1980's many believers began praying specifically for the work of God in the Muslim world. The result was that by 2,000 AD, there were an additional 11 "movements". But the amazing thing is that the number of "movements" has continued to grow! By 2013 (the year that the published study was completed), there were an additional 69 "movements" formed for a total of 82 in all. Praise the Lord, the number continues to grow!
So the unique work of God’s Spirit coupled with the intercession of God’s people has produced a special work of God in our day. Let’s keep praying!