There is one night in the Islamic year that is preeminent in significance. The Night of Power is typically the 27th day of the month of Ramadan in the Islamic calendar. This night commemorates the first of a series of visions given to Muhammad that served as the basis for his “recitations,” the claimed content of the Quran that we have today.
On this night, Laylat al-Qadr in Arabic, Muslims worldwide believe that demonstrated devotion will move Allah (Arabic word for God) to grant special mercy for sins and blessings. In particular, dreams sent from Allah are believed to occur and are highly sought after. As a result, you can see incredible demonstrations of devotion on this night - extended prayers, entire recitations of the Quran and personal acts of sacrificial giving. It is said, “The blessings of praying on the night of Laylat al-Qadr is believed to be better than that of a thousand months of worship and devotion.” Satan is believed to be locked up during Ramadan and therefore it is an opportune time to win Allah’s attention and receive his blessing.
Gateway Church’s Go Ministry supports and enables multiple ministries in many parts of the world. However, in concert with the historical focus of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church on reaching the Muslim world, Gateway Church has a singular focus to enable and catalyze partners laboring in Muslim communities. Gateway Church enables God’s workers in places like Lebanon, Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, and many indigenous workers across the Middle East and North Africa. We give much in terms of financial support and mission trip resourcing. But how much do we give in terms of our time set aside to pray? Hudson Taylor, mission pioneer and founder of the China Inland Mission, was known to be a man of prayer. He once said, “The power of prayer has never been tried to its full capacity in any church. If we want to see mighty wonders of divine grace and power wrought in the place of weakness, failure and disappointment, let the whole Church answer God’s standing challenge; ‘Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knows not.’”
Led by Gateway Church’s Session (board of elders), we are dedicating April 17, the 2023 Ramadan Night of Power, as a Gateway Church congregational day of prayer and fasting for the Muslim world. We invite the entire Gateway Church family to join us in praying and fasting, asking God to speak truth to Muslims. It is estimated that in Southeast Asia, 80% of Muslims that become Christ-followers received a vision from God, inviting them to seek Jesus for truth and blessing from God. Pray with us that God will visit many in their zeal to hear from him, pointing them to Jesus.
Gateway Church has several ways that you can join in prayer throughout the month of Ramadan. For ways that you can get involved, visit www.gatewayepc.org/ramadan. In particular, if you would like to know more about Muslims and how to pray for them, come to one (or all!) of our Evenings of Prayer. You will have the opportunity to hear from international partners and staff about the Muslim world.
Finally, regarding how to fast. We do not prescribe nor recommend that you fast in any particular way. In fact, we ask that you consider any health concerns you may have and act accordingly - ask your doctor if there is any question. There are many fasting options and how you wish to fast is entirely up to you. The main point is that as you are giving up something that your body is telling you that you need. Use that hunger and weakness to remind you of the intense love that God has for billions of unreached Muslims. Let it drive you to hunger and passionately ask God to intervene and draw sincere Muslims into his family during the Night of Power. Again, Hudson Taylor said, “In Shansi I found Chinese Christians who were accustomed to spend time in fasting and prayer. They recognized that this fasting, which so many dislike, which requires faith in God, since it makes one feel weak and poorly, is really a Divinely appointed means of grace. Perhaps the greatest hindrance to our work is our own imagined strength; and in fasting we learn what poor, weak creatures we are-dependent on a meal of meat for the little strength which we are so apt to lean upon.”
Let’s embrace a day of weakness so that we can learn how desperately we need to lean on God and depend on him for the salvation of so many with no one to tell them about God’s gift of Jesus.