Ministry leaders are calling on Christians to pray before and during a Muslim prayer rally that is expected to draw tens of thousands to Capitol Hill Friday.
TheCall founder Lou Engle issued an urgent prayer call last week asking Christians to pray in the run up to Islam on Capitol Hill, when some 50,000 Muslims are expected to gather in the nation's capital to pray for the soul of America.
Tonight Engle will join Shirley Dobson, chair of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins in praying for the U.S. during a national teleconference beginning at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. In a statement posted on his ministry Web site, Engle also called on Christians to fast and pray Friday,
"We are calling the Church of America to fast and pray that Muslims would be moved by the Holy Spirit, convicted by the testimony of Christ, and even be visited by Jesus in dreams," Engle said. "We must pray that God would restrain the spiritual powers behind Islam and grant us the great awakening that we desperately need for America."
Engle's prayer call has been echoed by numerous ministry networks, which see the Muslim rally as a sign of an intentional "Islamization" of America.
Window International Network distributed a prayer guide related to the Islam on Capitol Hill rally, and Intercessors for America created radio spots with a prayer that there would be only peaceful protests Friday and that God would "grant a loving witness of Christ and revelation of Jesus as Messiah to the Muslims who gather and to their households." (Listen to radio spot.)
Nigeria-based prayer leader Mosy Madugba called on Christians to fast and pray beginning at midnight Friday and pray until the rally ends at 7 p.m. Madugba-leader of the Ministers Prayer Network in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, and the Florida-based Global Prayer Network-said the rally is part of an ongoing spiritual war.
"If they succeed, they will acquire greater boldness to press for stronger and greater Islamic influence in USA," he said. "What they are trying to do is test the waters. For every ground Islam gains, the church loses some."
Oklahoma pastor Reza Safa, a former Muslim who now broadcasts the gospel into the Middle East through his Nejat TV, said 50,000 Muslims bowing before Allah is "a slap in the face of Christianity."
"You can't say America is a Christian nation and have Muslims, who deny Jesus is the Son of God, on the lawn of the White House," he said this week from Jerusalem.
But the Rev. Pat Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, said the rally demonstrates the greatness of America.
Mahoney told the Associated Press that the rally organizers have received hateful calls from professing Christians telling them to go back their own country despite the fact that they are Americans who love the nation.
"It is important to send a clear message that the Christian community loves the Muslim community," said Mahoney, who with Rob Schenck, president of the National Clergy Council, hosted a reception for the rally organizers. "That we do not hate Muslims, that our heart is not set against Muslims, and that with the heart and compassion of Christ, we are to reach out and build bridges."
Engle said he advocates for understanding Islam but believes Christians also need spiritual discernment about "the spiritual dark powers that are being invoked into our nation."
Although President Bush held White House dinners celebrating Ramadan, Engle believes President Obama's decision to host a similar dinner while not holding a public observance of the National Day of Prayer—coupled with some Christians' decision to pray with Muslims during Ramadan—are signs of a great spiritual conflict under way.
"These events are enough to awaken us to this significant throbbing moment, but when they all converge it becomes a massive spiritual alarm that must be responded to by the praying Church," he said.
"This convergence, I believe, is urgently summoning us in the midst of the rising tide of Islamic influence in America to recognize that our God is above every god and that if we return to Him with all of our hearts and call upon Him with fasting and prayer then God could use what the enemy meant for evil to bring about a great day of salvation for Muslims in America."
Author Joel C. Rosenberg, who hosted a Web-based town hall meeting on Sept. 11 to discuss a Christian response to radical Islam, said he hopes Christians will not only pray but also be a witness for Christ at the Muslim prayer rally.
"My prayer is that people go out and just start handing out copies of the New Testament in Arabic to those who are there," he said. "To share the gospel. That they show love and mercy to those who are there who are Muslims. That they don't get into arguments. You're not going to persuade Muslims by arguing with them. ... The Lord has to open their eyes to understand that He's calling them to Him."
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