But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. -Romans 8:25-27
In Romans 8, Paul writes of the eagerness with which we wait in hope to experience our final adoption as God’s children and the finished work of redemption in our bodies and in the world. He wrote this long ago, “in the face of present suffering.” And still we wait — with suffering still in the present, and seeming to be ever on the increase around the world.
How is our hope impacted by the rise of terrorist groups and suffering amongst Muslims? How does our hope impact that suffering?
In 1992 a small group of mission leaders meeting in the Middle East was inspired by the Holy Spirit to start regular prayer for the Muslim world during the Islamic month of Ramadan. What started as a small effort has today grown into a major prayer movement with hundreds of thousands of followers of Jesus praying for Muslims through the “30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World” prayer guide. Through 30 Days of Prayer, together with numerous other prayer initiatives for Muslims, we held onto hope for the message of Christ to do its work of bringing freedom and peace.
Fast forward to 2010, and missions researcher, David Garrison, is asked to find out whether there is anything new happening in the Muslim world. Through the findings of David’s research our hope turns into faith as we see clearly how God has been working in the lives of Muslims throughout the global “House of Islam” over the last century – but in particular, over the last two decades. Uncovering a rich collection of stories from hidden places where whole communities of Muslims have found that hope, David’s research connects us with a “God’s-eye view” of what has been going on in the Muslim world historically, socially and spiritually as we have prayed.