At a university in one of Australia’s major cities, we have a witness among Muslim students, with a weekly Bible study and a bookstand. Students from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and other countries join us to hear about Jesus. One day, I gave an invitation to a young Saudi student named Ahmad*. With a big smile to his friends, he loudly announced: “I will come to your Bible study if you will pray with me in the mosque afterwards.” “That sounds like a fair deal,” I said, “but the Bible study is now, so let’s go.” I linked arms with him and took him off to the Bible study as his friends laughed. We were looking at the miracle of the amazing catch of fishes. A young Vietnamese Christian girl who had only been in Australia for five weeks took great delight in sharing the good news of Jesus with this young Muslim man.
When the study finished, Ahmad and I went off to the mosque arm in arm. We took off our shoes before entering the small prayer room. He pointed to the sink in the corner. “We have to wash before we say our prayers.” “As Christians, we don’t need to wash before we pray.” I explained, “It’s our heart that is dirty from sin, and only God can wash our heart.” “O yes,” he said. “We believe that too.”
Then he pointed to one of the walls. “That’s the direction of Mecca. When we pray, we always face that way.” “As Christians we don’t. You see, we believe that God is everywhere, so it doesn’t matter which way you face.” “Oh yes,” he said. ”We believe that too.”
“So how do you pray?” he asked. “Sometimes,“ I said, “I pray like this. It has actions, and every action has a meaning.”
I stood up straight. “I stand like this, and it reminds me that Jesus, the Son of God, came down from heaven, and stood on the earth.”
I lifted up my hands. “This reminds me that Jesus, when he was on the earth, performed many miracles with His hands. He touched the sick and healed them, He gave sight to the blind, He fed the hungry, and He raised the dead.” Ahmed and the others nodded. Their Qur’an teaches the same things.
Then I bowed from the waist. “This action reminds us that Jesus carried His cross up the hill of Calvary in Jerusalem. Jesus did this for us, because we are unable to pay for our many sins.”
Then I knelt on the ground. “This action reminds us that Jesus prayed to His Father in heaven. He prayed for us, and He is still praying for us.”
Then I bowed down and touched my forehead to the floor. “This reminds us that Jesus died. He said: ’No-one takes my life from me. I have authority to lay it down and I have authority to take it up again.’ But He died for you and me.”
Then I sprang to my feet. Ahmed jumped backwards in surprise. “But death could not hold Him. So three days later He rose from the dead. Then He went to heaven. But one day He’ll come back to judge the world and take those who love Him back to heaven with Him. So that’s how I pray sometimes.”
“Wow,” said Ahmed. ”You pray like we do.”
“No,” I said. “You pray like we do. Christians and Jews were praying like that for centuries before Islam came along. Everything I just did is in the Bible. You should read it.” (He had been given one at the Bible study.)
As I left, I heard Ahmad and his friends inside loudly discussing in Arabic what Christians believe. Now it was my turn to smile. The ‘good news’ is reaching the Muslim world, starting from here.
The author is a CultureConnect Team Member.
*Names have been changed.
Photos from: iStockphoto, and Brett Jordan