For the millions of Muslim people in East and Southeast Asia, the fasting month of Ramadan marks the time Muslims believe the Qur’an was first revealed to Muhammad. It’s a great time to pray for God to bless these Muslims and to pray that they would learn more about Jesus.
We invite you to pray with us through Ramadan with these daily prayer points.
This year in the UK Ramadan begins around 5 May and ends around 4 June. The exact dates vary depending on sighting the crescent of a new moon.
What happens during Ramadan?
A pattern of prayer, fasting and feasting is followed throughout Ramadan. The fast is from dawn until sunset, so Muslims rise in the dark to eat a very early breakfast. Fasting is believed to multiply Thawab (spiritual rewards) and attendance at daytime prayers and Qur’anic recitals are thought to gain a Muslim more merit during Ramadan.
At dusk, Muslims gather at the mosque for the penultimate prayer of the day and to break fast together.
Traditionally they eat dates, fruit or sometimes bread, since traditions state that the prophet Muhammad broke his fast in this way.
This dusk prayer is followed by a banquet, the main meal of the day. The day concludes with Night Prayer, finishing around 11:30 pm.
This pattern continues throughout Ramadan.
1) As Muslims begin Ramadan, pray for God to bless them with the knowledge of his love for them.
2) Pray for Muslims as they seek purity and holiness. Pray for God to keep them well during Ramadan.
3) Devout Muslims fast during the day, and feast together each evening after sunset. Pray that God will bless their relationships as they spend time together each evening.
4) Often local followers of Jesus with good relationships with the community are invited to join the breaking of the fast each day. Pray for good conversations in these times.
5) Isa (the Arabic name for Jesus) is honoured in the Qur’an. Pray for Muslims reading and hearing from the Qu’ran, that they would have opportunities to learn more about Jesus.
6) In some areas of East Asia, Muslims are a minority and marking Ramadan can be more difficult for them as employers don’t always make allowances for them. Pray for God’s love and protection over these Muslims.
7) Muslims try to live especially pure lives during Ramadan. Pray that they will learn more about Jesus’ teaching on purity.
Week 2 – Pray for the community
It’s a strong test of discipline to keep the fast during Ramadan. The fasting month has different impacts on groups in the community.
8) Children in Muslim communities may attend extra teaching at the mosque and the older children may be starting to fast. Pray for those starting to fast to be able to cope with extra lessons at a time of fasting.
9) Pray for searching hearts to wonder about the God who made and loves them.
10) Many consider older people exempt from fasting, but some will fast anyway, believing they gain merit by doing so.
Pray for God to sustain older people in the fasting month and keep them from becoming unwell.
11) The workload for women in Ramadan is particularly heavy. They need to rise very early (perhaps as early as 2 am) to prepare a meal before dawn. The daylight hours may largely be spent preparing food, for the breaking of the fast alongside their usual responsibilities. Pray for Muslim women to come to know of Jesus’ love.
12) Pray for imams with their increased workload to be wise and peace-loving during Ramadan. Pray they will model and teach wisdom and justice in their communities.
13) Islam was carried into East and Southeast Asia by Muslim traders in the seventh century. Today there are many business people in Muslim communities around East Asia. While some businesses may open for reduced hours during Ramadan, there is still work to be done which can be more difficult with employees being more tired and hungry. Employers may need an extra measure of patience in the fasting month. Pray for workers and employees to be patient with one another in Ramadan.
14) Pray for government leaders in East and Southeast Asia, for wisdom in their decisions and policy making.
Week 3 – Silk Road
Did you know that the Chinese section of the ancient trade route known as the Silk Road is home to ten traditionally Muslim ethnic groups?
15) Most Silk Road business people work long hours and have little time left over to spend with children or elderly parents. Pray that God will help them to find balance in life.
16) Give thanks for the charitable work undertaken by mosques along the Silk Road and pray it would help those in need. Pray for local followers of Jesus to also find creative ways to serve their neighbours in generous acts of love.
17) On the Silk Road, honour comes with age. Pray for wisdom for Silk Road elders as they lead their families and communities.
18) People often marry young on the Silk Road, encouraged by their parents. Pray for good adjustment to all the changes married life brings.
19) Many children are left with grandparents while their parents go to live elsewhere for work. The end of the fasting month is a time to look forward for many as working parents return to their families so they can celebrate together. Pray for good communication between families that live apart. Pray for the children to receive the love and care they need.
20) Pray for Silk Road peoples who may be alone at Ramadan, away from family and friends because of work or study. Pray for them to come to know of God’s love.
21) As Ramadan progresses, tempers can become frayed by lack of food and sleep. Pray for friends on the Silk Road to speak with patience and gentleness, even when tempers are short.
Week 4 – Local followers of Jesus
22) For people under pressure, whether financial, relational or spiritual, pray that friends will help them learn about Jesus, who helps us in our times of need. Pray for the witness of followers of Jesus who fast alongside Muslims to be received as a demonstration of the love God has for them.
23) Pray for followers of Jesus to be willing to build relationships with people different to them, living out Jesus’ example of selfless love.
24) Praise God for the good relationships he has given many local followers of Jesus with their neighbours. Pray for Muslims they meet to be inspired by their God-given love.
25) Pray that followers of Jesus throughout East and Southeast Asia would be united in their love and care for Muslims.
26) Pray for local Christians to honour God by being trustworthy friends, who model godly forgiveness and sacrificial love.
27) ‘Laylat al-Qadr’ or the ‘Night of Power’ is the most important night in the Islamic calendar. Most Muslims, but not all, take this to be the 27th night of Ramadan. It commemorates the night Muslims believe the Qu’ran was first revealed to Muhammad. Pray for Muslims to have opportunities to learn more about Isa (Jesus) who is honoured in the Qu’ran.
28) ‘Eid al-Fitr’ is the festival marking the end of Ramadan. Many people will buy new clothes or put on their best clothes for the festival, but for some this can be a challenge. Pray for those who may feel left on the edges of these festivals at the end of Ramadan, either because of their social position or financial circumstances.
29) As Muslims have shown their devotion to Allah through fasting, pray for local followers of Jesus to consider how they can show their devotion to God.
30) When Ramadan ends, many Muslims will try and keep up habits formed over the month. Could you continue praying for God’s blessing on East and Southeast Asia’s Muslims beyond Ramadan?