Our prayer this week is for our On Bended Knee project, which is specifically aimed at Believers from a Muslim Background (BMB). This project is for BMBs to create poetry, prose and prayers in their own language to be able to encourage their fellow believers in the Gulf, as well as spread Gods word and love throughout the region.
Being a BMB in the Gulf is extremely difficult for many reasons. Gulf countries have strict control over media and what can and cannot be produced. This means that anything contrary to government guidelines, such as Christian educational programmes, are not allowed to be published. In public schools the religious education is only about Islam and other religions are allowed to be taught. While some churches are allowed, conversion from Islam to another religion is banned. Family is a large part of the culture within the Gulf and to leave your religion would in most cases also involve being rejected by your family. In the worst cases, relatives have murdered people for leaving Islam and bringing shame on the family.
A combination of these factors makes finding out about Christianity within the Gulf extremely difficult. There is a lack of available information in the Gulf about Christianity and those who do want more information are often put off by the societal and legal pressure that this would involve. Moreover, Muslims that do turn to Jesus then struggle to be able to find any further information out about Christianity and so struggle to be able to grow and deepen their faith.
In some countries in the Gulf you are technically allowed a Bible, however it is often seen as an attempt to convert Muslims, which is illegal, and you can therefore be arrested for it. Due to this, accessing an Arabic bible or even Arabic literature on the Bible and Christianity can be near impossible, stopping BMBs from being able to progress in their faith.
Another aspect of the struggles they come across once they decide to follow Jesus, is being ostracised and having a sense of loneliness. Many BMBs keep their faith a secret due to fear of death from their friends and families. They have no one that they can talk to about faith, share ideas or learn with. Unfortunately, a lot of the literature they do have access to is Western or in English. This makes accessing the Gospel and deepening their faith even harder due to the cultural and linguistic barriers. But it also accentuates the idea that Christianity is for Westerners and not Arabs, emphasising this sense of being excluded even more. They are rejected by their families and culture, but cannot take on a new identity within Western Christianity as that is not where they are from. There is a real sense of not belonging on either side.
This is why we have created our On Bended Knee project which helps to not only educate people within the Gulf about Christianity, but be that support for BMBs. We hope that through this project we can show that they are not alone and that there are thousands of BMBs just like them who are living within the Gulf and going through the same situations. We have partnered with fervent Gulf believers to create 365 short clips of prose, poetry and prayers, all in local dialects, which will be posted online and broadcast on satellite TV. Currently we have produced 52 episodes and they are being used by organisations and missionaries to reach people across the region.
Poetry has been used by Arabs for thousands of years to communicate spiritual ideas and reverence for God. Gulf believers want to use this in the Gulf to help show that if you become a Christian you do not have to give up or change your cultural identity. You can be an Arab and a Christian and that Christianity is not exclusively for Westerners. We also hope that this project will help BMBs to not feel alone, but know that there are Christians within their countries writing poetry and prayers for their own people, in their own language.
This is a project which we believe will bring joy and hope to BMBs but also help to shatter stereotypes of Christians. That is why this week we turn in prayer specifically for this project.
Please pray with us today:
We want to thank and praise you Lord that we can put these clips on the internet for all to see. Thank you, Lord, that through the internet, we can share your love with more people than ever before.
We pray for BMBs who are creating the poems, prose and prayers to share with their own people. We pray that their words would shine your light to all who read them.
We pray for all BMBs within the Gulf. We pray protection and comfort on them. We pray that they would be able to access more information about you Lord to be able to grow in their faith.
We pray for the governments who run the countries Lord. We pray that they would loosen their hold on them and allow religious freedom to flourish.
We pray that the funding for this project would continue to come through Lord so that we can continue creating the clips.