Muslim Background Believers: A few scattered believers
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a rich history steeped in desert culture. For
thousands of years the Saudis have thrived in the heat and expanse of the
Saudi desert. That desert life was forever altered about 70 years ago when
25% of the world's oil reserves were found beneath the sand. This oil has
allowed the Saudi family to rule the country through the years. The Saudi
government is also known to be a generous contributor to the propagation of
Islam around the world.
Mecca is located in Saudi Arabia. Its importance for Muslims dates back to
the year 571 when the prophet Mohammed (the founder of Islam) was born
there. Muslims worldwide are commanded to face Mecca five times a day to
pray toward the spiritual center of Islam. They pray acknowledging there is
only one God and Mohammed is his prophet.
One of the key tenets of Islam is a pilgrimage, Hajj,* to Mecca at least
once in a Muslim's life. Approximately two million Muslims from Saudi Arabia
and around the world arrive there annually for the Hajj. For many, it is a
lifelong ambition. From the time of embarking on the journey to make the
Hajj, pilgrims often experience a spirit of exaltation and excitement. The
meeting of so many Muslims of all races and cultures in equality moves many
people deeply. Many come to fulfill a life's dream and attempt to be
reconciled with Allah (God), but many leave disappointed at the experience.
The most holy site within this holy city is the Great Mosque. Within the
Great Mosque sits the Black Stone, a large black monolith that is central to
Mecca itself is off limits to all non-Muslims. It sits in a valley
surrounded by low hills, with a population of approximately 550,000. Mecca
is definitely the religious capital, but the political capital of Saudi
Arabia is Riyadh.
As the homeland of Islam, anything that affects Saudi Arabia potentially
affects the whole of the Muslim world. In the past, the Saudi family had
succeeded in recycling the oil wealth through the economy to please the
masses, providing a comfortable life for most. Since the Gulf War, the
amount of money siphoned off the economy by the ruling family has increased
while normal people are finding themselves less and less advantaged as their
population swells. This is a slow boiling pot politically, which could
explode at some point in the future.
The Saudi population is, by government statistics, 100% Muslim. There are
few local Christians among the Saudis. While there are many foreign
Christians living and working in Saudi Arabia, churches for them are not
Christian missionaries are not allowed in Saudi Arabia. Any sort of
proselytizing of the country's population is strictly forbidden. People
accused of proselytizing will lose their jobs and may be imprisoned prior to
deportation. Despite this, many Saudis are very approachable on the topic of
religion. Many Saudis travel internationally, and it is quite easy to speak
to them about Christ, especially when they are away from their homeland.
*Hajj main dates: February 11, 2003 / January 31, 2004 / January 20, 2005
Monday - Pray
for more laborers to share the Gospel in Saudi Arabia. Pray that whole Saudi
families would come to know Christ and grow in Him together.
Family, employment and social pressures cause incredible stress on believers
who often struggle once they have come to faith in Jesus Christ. Pray for
Saudi believers to grow in their walk with Christ and persevere in faith.
Wednesday - Pray
for foreign Christians living in Saudi Arabia to live a life fully committed
to Christ, sharing the Truth with the people around them.
Thursday - Pray
for Saudis who travel and live abroad, that they might discover Christ while
outside of Saudi Arabia.
Friday - Pray
for every Saudi to have the opportunity to hear and receive the Gospel. Pray
that more people in Saudi Arabia would hear about Christ through radio,
satellite TV and the Internet.
Saturday - Pray
that Muslims around the world will begin to experience deeper
dissatisfaction with their faith as they bow toward Mecca. Pray that they
will find Christ as the Great Shepherd.
Sunday - Pray
that Muslims who go to Mecca on the Hajj (pilgrimage) will not find
contentment but will have visions and dreams of Jesus that will lead them to