Devout Muslims pray Sura One every day, reminding themselves of God’s sovereignty, the day of judgment, and the importance of finding their Straight Path.
In the name of God, the most gracious and merciful. Praise be to God, the Lord of the universe, the most gracious and merciful, Ruler of the day of judgment. You are the one we worship; you are he whose help we seek. Guide us on the Straight Path, the path of those whom you have blessed, With whom you are not angry, who have not gone astray.
Most of the prophets Muslims embrace are covered in more detail in the Bible than the Qur‘an. The Qur‘an encourages them to seek additional insight from the “former books.”
Those who love and follow Jesus are to reach out to Muslims with the love of God, praying for and with them, and utilizing stepping stones from the Qur‘an. Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit is working–and Muslims are coming to know Christ–like never before.
Convergence of Influences = Muslims coming to know Christ
In God’s providence, a variety of factors cause Muslims coming to know Christ at an
Believers in Jesus are increasingly uniting to pray for Muslims. (Join 100,000+ in 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World, corresponding every year with Ramadan.)
Qur‘anic verses about Jesus & the Bible.
According to Ben Naja’s article in Mission Frontiers, “Jesus” references in the Qur’an are the primary factor in the movements he researched.
Exposure to Scripture.
Muslims are taking increasing advantage of their growing access to God’s Word.
Loving Initiative from Believers in Jesus.
Friendship with Muslim neighbors is proving an important bridge for the Gospel. (Don’t miss How Can I Reach Out to My Muslim Neighbors?)
Many Muslims are more open to meeting the King and entering God’s kingdom. Muslims coming to know Christ may no longer feel they are identifying with the depravity of Western culture by becoming “Christians.”
Miracles, Dreams, and Visions.
God is intervening sovereignly and powerfully in the lives of Muslims, especially as Christians pray with Muslims for their needs in the name of Isa al Masih (Jesus the Messiah; see Matthew 10:8 and Luke 10:9).
God is raising up laborers from China, the Philippines, Brazil, and Africa—as well as from North America. China’s “Back to Jerusalem” movement alone is attempting to field 100,000 laborers, with many heading to the Muslim world.
Thousands who have received the Holy Spirit as Muslims coming to Christ in faith now carry a burden for their own people.
Christians are learning to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in catalyzing Disciple-Making Movements rather than just winning a few individuals. (Check out Indigenous Movements: How To Reach Entire People Groups.)
Discovery Models of Ministry.
Christians are also learning to enjoy fruitful interaction with Muslims through such effective, non-confrontational approaches as Bible Storytelling, Discovery Bible Study, Any-3, and Path of the Prophets.
When bin Laden orchestrated the 9/11 attacks or ISIS its domination, they had no idea how this would open the hearts and minds of Muslims. Many would be stirred to wonder: “Is violence at the heart of Islam?”
Many Muslims want to answer, “No.”
They’re troubled by Qur‘anic passages advocating violence and by their terrorist cousins’ continuing attacks on innocent bystanders.
The zealots of Jesus’ day sought to advance God’s kingdom through violence, providing a stark contrast for Jesus’ teachings: “Love your enemy,” “Turn the other cheek,” “Forgive us … as we forgive …,” “My kingdom is not of this world [or] my followers would fight,” etc.
Many Muslims—even “fundamentalist” Muslims—now welcome discussion of Jesus. And a growing number are becoming fervent followers of the Prince of Peace.
The Muslim world is torn between modernization and traditionalism–and God appears to be using this phenomenon in leading Muslims to know Christ.
Some Muslims seek refuge from the moral decay of the West in the religious clarity of Sharia law.
But many Islamic countries have weak economies, totalitarian leaders, and a rigid social hierarchy. These present themselves as incompatible with the aspirations of the educated, growing, Muslim middle class.
These tensions are moving unprecedented numbers of Muslims into historically Christian communities. The nations of the fastest Christian growth are currently Iran and Afghanistan.
God is orchestrating this migration: “so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him” (Acts 17:27).
When isolated peoples relocate, Christians have a fresh opportunity to show hospitality, befriend them and lead them into God’s kingdom.13
Muslims coming to know Christ, in God’s Timing
Paul observed in Rom 11:25 that Israel had “experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.”
As we follow God’s spirit to start discipling-movements among all the Gentiles, perhaps God is lifting a hardening from the spiritual descendants of Ishmael in preparation for a great turning among the Jews as well.
May it be so.
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A beloved son of God, Robby Butler is a Jesus-follower and mobilization strategist serving networks, ministries, and individuals toward more effectively multiplying movements of Jesus followers until there’s no place left where Jesus isn’t preached and Matthew 24:14 is fulfilled.
He is General Director for Mission Network, production manager for Steve Smith’s “No Place Left” saga, editor for James Nyman’s “Stubborn Perseverance,” and a consultant with Ergatas.org, a matching service to facilitate collaboration between missionaries and senders.
Robby helps out with Mission Frontiers occasionally and mostly researches what is working best to advance God’s kingdom then distills this to equip others for greater missions productivity.
A version of this piece originally appeared on MissionFrontiers.org, and is gratefully used with permission.