Six SBC leaders join Dec. 16 call to prayer for Muslims

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)--Six Southern Baptist leaders have joined Southern Baptist Convention President James Merritt's call for a day of prayer for Muslims on Dec. 16.

SBC Executive Committee President and Chief Executive Officer Morris H. Chapman, International Mission Board President Jerry Rankin, North American Mission Board Robert Reccord, LifeWay Christian Resources President James T. Draper Jr., Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission President Richard Land and Woman's Mission Union Executive Director-Treasurer Wanda Lee joined Merritt in signing a Nov. 30 open letter asking Southern Baptists and other Christians to pray that God would speak clearly to Muslims and reveal Himself" at the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.

"God has been powerfully moving all over the world since Sept. 11," said the letter. "This movement of the Holy Spirit may be most evident among the world's 1.2 billion Muslims. Missionaries report they have never seen such openness to the gospel.

"Right now, Muslims are observing their holy month of Ramadan, and many Christians have been praying that God would speak to Muslims about His love for them and their need for His forgiveness. In recent years, God has honored our prayers with multitudes of Muslims coming to Christ.

"We see the opportunity increasing for Muslims to come to Christ, especially since devout Muslims will soon observe the 'Night of Power,' spending the entire night in a prayer vigil in which they ask God to reveal Himself to them."

This year, Muslims worldwide are observing Ramadan from Nov. 16 through Dec. 15. The letter calls for Christians to unite in prayer on the following Sunday, Dec. 16.

Merritt's letter cautioned Christians not to equate Muslims with the terrorists who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks. Rather, Christians should be concerned over the spiritual lostness of Muslim people.

"We all understand that the vast majority of Muslims do not support the atrocities committed in the name of Islam," the letter said. "But we also understand that 1.2 billion Muslims are hopelessly lost without Christ. If Christians do not plead with God on their behalf, who will? If we do not act now to share the gospel with them, how will they ever hear?

A page of prayer points for the emphasis is available at www.acalltoprayer.net. The page can be reproduced for churches and groups participating in the day of prayer. Clip art and video clips for the emphasis also are available at the site.


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