The concept of a loving, compassionate, personal God is foreign to the Muslim belief system. Most Muslims’ exposure to such a God will likely be through relationships with believers in Christ—believers like you! Although building into the lives of Muslims usually requires stepping out of your comfort zone, you’ll likely be amazed by the ways that God will use your efforts to touch their lives. Prayer, friendship and hospitality are all key elements in reaching Muslims.
Practical tips for putting these three factors into practice:
Commit to Pray Regularly: Ultimately, God draws people to Himself—it’s not because of our words or actions that anyone comes to faith in Him, though He can and does work through us. That means that the most important part of sharing the gospel with anyone, regardless of their religion, is prayer. Commit to pray regularly for your Muslim friends, asking God to open their hearts.
Build True Friendships: Strive to be a part of your Muslim friends’ lives and allow them to be part of yours, building true friendships. Invite them to join you on a walk or ask them to attend a concert or sporting event with you. As with any relationship, spending time together is key.
Ask Questions: Most people enjoy talking about what is important to them; Muslims are no different. Ask about their family and their likes and dislikes, and really listen when they answer. If your friend has emigrated from another country, you could also ask about their homeland, how long they have lived here and what they miss. Inquire about the challenges they face living in the West and if they have experienced discrimination. You’ll learn more about them and establish rapport.
Offer Practical Help: Many Muslims who have recently emigrated to the West feel lost and lonely outside their home country and would appreciate the love of Christians. Tutoring or teaching English, assisting them in filling out applications and other paperwork, taking them shopping or to the doctor and acquainting them with the neighborhood are all practical ways to show them Christ’s love.
Practice Hospitality: Invite your friends to your home for a meal or just to hang out. Hospitality is a universal language in many Muslim cultures, and the vast majority of Muslims are warm, friendly, gracious people. Remember that most practicing Muslims do not drink alcoholic beverages or eat pork or pork products, such ham, bacon or pepperoni—offering them these foods could be offensive.
Start with Spiritual Similarities: Unlike many people in the West, many Muslims love to talk about spiritual matters. Start by talking about beliefs that Muslims and Christians have in common, rather than points of disagreement. Sometimes it can be helpful to ask a Muslim friend what they think about the prophet Jesus. While you’ll eventually have to talk about differences to share the whole gospel, start with common ground.
Tell a Story: Many Muslims love to hear stories, and thus, being able to tell some Bible stories, such at the prodigal son, parts of the Sermon on the Mount and Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac, can be good ways to communicate spiritual truth to them. It may be helpful to practice telling these stories.
Pray for Them: At the end of a conversation, ask “How can I pray for you?” Most Muslims have never had anyone pray for them by name or bring their personal problems before the Lord, and as we pray for them, we can demonstrate that we worship a personal and loving God.