As part of the 10/10 Prayer Initiative, 180 agencies have come together to ask God to draw to himself 10 percent of the world’s Muslims in the next 10 years. 10/10. Easy to remember, yet such an amazingly big task that only God can do it. Will you join us?

By a former missionary in the Middle East — I recently heard a speaker talking about breaking down stereotypes. He himself is of Middle Eastern descent, and he used jokes to poke fun at himself and others like him and to dispel stereotypes that others may have of him. He did a (mostly) nice job of telling funny stories and helping people realize that Middle Easterners (or people of Middle Eastern descent) are real people too.

But what also came out in his talk, to me, was frustration and real pain because even though he is an American, he has suffered a lot because of his race and religion. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, he found he could only get work as an actor playing the part of bad guys; when directors saw his ethnic background, they immediately cast him as a terrorist or bank robber.

For the first five years, then 10 years, and now almost 20 years after 9/11, he is still trying to break down these ingrained and fear-filled stereotypes of people from the Middle East. Of course, there are dangerous people from the Middle East, but there also are dangerous people from Europe, and from North, Middle and South America, and you will always need to be alert and have situational awareness and discernment in relating to the surrounding world.

But as Christians, as people who are called to be like Christ, should we not be first and foremost among those showing love, respect, and mercy to the people around us? Didn’t Jesus challenge those eager to punish the woman caught in adultery, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone?” Yes, he also confronted the woman and told her to leave her life of sin, but not until he had first dispersed the crowd.

Fear is something that wants to rise up in our minds and hearts; we have to recognize that and stop and pray, “Lord help me to love others as you love them.” If we don’t understand Muslims, then we need to be involved and get to know some Muslims, be it at work or through our children’s schools, by volunteering in our neighborhoods or towns, or through an outreach at our church. It is hard to change your perception from a distance, so jump in! Move closer! Volunteer to teach English, coach a sports team, or pick up trash in a Muslim neighborhood.

How about the first words out of our mouths to Muslims are not judgmental words or derogatory words about the Koran or Mohammed? How about we just go and love on them?  God didn’t expect you or me to clean up our lives or to have perfect theology before he saved us, so don’t expect others to clean up their lives before you love them either.

 

10/10 Prayer Initiative requests

  • We are asking God to draw 10 percent of the Muslim world to himself in 10 years, and we want to be part of it too! We want to be proactive in sharing our faith with Muslims, and we want to be proactive in preparing the church to receive this new influx of believers.
  • Several of our workers who minister in Muslim communities are on home service right now. Pray for refreshment for them, and pray for strength for those who are covering for them while they are gone.
  • All of our workers have more work to do than they can fit into each day. Pray for wisdom in choosing what they do and with whom. Pray also for more workers to join in the work, so that the loads can be shared.

 

Pray. Give. Go.