Thursday, February 04, 2010

Samuel Zwemer's prayer for Muslims

The following article is taken from Kairos Journal, an excellent online source of insight on a wide-ranging array of topics. I highly recommend it.

A Prayer for the Muslim World--Samuel Zwemer (1867-1952)

The great historian of Christian mission, Kenneth Scott Latourette, once said that no man deserved the title "The Apostle to Islam" more than Samuel Zwemer. The 13th of 15 children born to a Dutch Reformed immigrant family in Michigan, Zwemer gave his life to the evangelization of Muslim peoples. For 40 years he worked in Iraq, Bahrain, and Egypt. In his extensive travels throughout Asia, India, Africa, and North America he presented the needs of Muslims to Christians and the gospel of Christ to Muslims.

A plea for persistent prayer for Muslim peoples and lands was a constant theme in his public speaking and writing. [The following prayer is found in Samuel M. Zwemer, Islam and the Cross: Selections from "The Apostle to Islam," ed. Roger S. Greenway (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 2002), 153-154.]

Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, who hast made of one blood all nations and hast promised that many shall come from the East and sit down with Abraham in thy kingdom: We pray for thy prodigal children in Muslim lands who are still afar off, that they may be brought nigh by the blood of Christ. Look upon them in pity, because they are ignorant of thy truth.

Take away pride of intellect and blindness of heart, and reveal to them the surpassing beauty and power of thy Son Jesus Christ. Convince them of their sin in rejecting the atonement of the only Savior. Give moral courage to those who love thee, that they may boldly confess thy name.

Hasten the day of religious freedom in Turkey, Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and North Africa. Send forth reapers where the harvest is ripe, and faithful plowmen to break furrows in lands still neglected. May the tribes of Africa and Malaysia not fall prey to Islam but be won for Christ. Bless the ministry of healing in every hospital, and the ministry of love at every church and mission. May all Muslim children in mission schools be led to Christ and accept him as their personal Savior.

Strengthen converts, restore backsliders, and give all those who labor among Muslims the tenderness of Christ, so that bruised reeds may become pillars of his church, and smoking flaxwicks burning and shining lights. Make bare thine arm, O God, and show thy power. All our expectation is from thee.

Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son in the Muslim world, and fulfill through him the prayer of Abraham thy friend, "O, that Ishmael might live before thee." For Jesus’ sake. Amen.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Finally! Prayer in Public Schools

The Carver elementary school in San Diego is paving the way for prayer to be returned to public schools. Carver administrators have set aside 15 minutes from classroom instruction each afternoon to accommodate 100 religious students that are newly enrolled in the school. Amazingly, the ACLU seems willing to stand down on this one and let the practice continue, evidently not concerned that this action violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment.

Many fundamentalist groups would be celebrating this new found sensitivity toward and encouragement of religious expression in a government school if it were not Muslims who are being served. That's right. The Carver policy has been designed to allow Muslim students to observe salat as prescribed by the Quran.

This article from the San Diego Union-Tribune tells the story. What it does not tell, however, is what these events display to someone committed to confessional Christianity and the Baptist understanding of church-state relationships. Let me offer a few personal opinions of what the Carver school actions suggest.
  1. Our government elementary and secondary school system is irreparably broken. There are obvious exceptions from classroom to classroom and even from school to school, but the system is beyond repair. We no longer have a Christian worldview underpinning the efforts to educate the populace. McGuffey's Readers (in their original form) would never be allowed in most modern government classrooms. Though I realize that this issue is laden with difficulties and often addressed unhelpfully shrill voices, I am more convinced than ever that Christians need to start developing exit strategies for our children to leave government schools. By all means, let's keep sending Christian teachers to the classrooms. They should go as missionaries who recognize that they are invading territory that is hostile to the claims of our Savior.
  2. Education cannot be morally neutral. All teaching has an unavoidable perspective. The widespread perspective of our government schools has moved from a basically Christian worldview, to a secular worldview into rapidly developing anti-Christian worldviews that play right into the hands of radical Islamists who are unhesitant to work pluralism to their advantage as they plot to move from tolerance to equality to supremacy. If you doubt their goals you have not listened to their proclamations.
  3. The battle against Islam will not be fought primarily on foreign fields and will certainly not be won by guns and smart bombs. It is an ideological fight. It is a battle for the minds and souls of men and women and boys and girls. Only a muscular, vigorous, radically biblical Christianity can prevail. The insipid versions that dominate the American landscape--including the evangelical landscape--cannot stand against militant Islam. Only the true Gospel of Jesus Christ will do. And it is that Gospel that, I believe, has been largely lost or forgotten by many in our day who name the Name of Christ and assume that they understand and believe what He taught.
All of this to say, the Carver school administrators' antics further highlight our desperate need for reformation on a large scale. The Gospel must be recovered and churches must be reformed according to the Word of God. May the Lord grant us both through the outpouring of His Spirit.

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