This past week, while reading an article, I was shocked to learn that there are currently no mosques in Athens, Greece, a city of 5-6 million, with 500,000 Muslims.
In the News: Athens has come under criticism by human rights groups such as Amnesty International for being one of the few European capitals without a mosque.
Repeated plans for a mosque in Athens began in earnest in 1980, with an act of parliament, but all fell through, including one timed for the 2004 Olympic Games.
Reports in local media that Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan offered to fund a mosque in Athens have also sparked anger in Greece, which spent four centuries under Turkish Ottoman rule.http://www.onislam.net/english/news/europe/463300-athens-mosque-exposes-greece-divisions.html
In the Greek capital Athens, where almost half the country’s 11 million people live, there is a 500,000-strong Muslim community, mostly immigrants from Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe. Many of those are faithful and want to express their faith by praying in an appropriate place. Well, there is no such place – there isn’t a single “official” mosque in the wider area of the Greek capital.
Instead, they have to rent flats, basements, old garages and all kinds of warehouses and transform them into makeshift mosques to cover their need for a place to hold religious ceremonies.
Greece is a country where the vast majority of people are Orthodox Christian and a country that has lived under Turkish Ottoman rule for approximately four centuries.
How do you pray into this situation? Ethnic tensions in Greece are very high. The Greeks tend to be very nationalistic. As Christians we are generally concerned by the presence of a mosque as it contradicts our beliefs. In the case of Greece, there is a nationalistic mindset that seeks to repay the Muslim Turks for having occupied Greece for four hundred years.
Let us pray:
1) First of all we thank You, Lord for preserving the Greeks over the centuries. Let us pray that they would find their destiny and national purpose in the Lord. Greeks were greatly used in the first, second and third centuries to spread the Gospel.
2) Let us pray for the Greek Orthodox Church, even though it long ago lost its spiritual edge, it is still the conscience of the people. Lord, restore the life giving Gospel to the Orthodox Church.
3) Since the priests in Greece are highly honored, let us pray for a revival among them. Lord, stir a hunger in their hearts for You. Cause them to want more.
I did a Bible search of Moses’ commands to the Jewish people on how to deal with the foreigner in their land. What I found was that they were directed to be kind to the foreigner but not to consider them an equal. The foreigner was not to have full rights. The fact is, foreigners are people and our attitude toward them is important to the Lord. The reality is that governments have to govern their nations, and there is much wisdom that can be gained from how Moses governed by God’s divine direction.
4) Let us pray for the government of Greece, may seek out ancient wisdom on how to deal with the foreigner in their midst. (God does judge nations for their actions)
Deuteronomy 29:21-23 (NKJV)21 And the Lord would separate him from all the tribes of Israel for adversity, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this Book of the Law, 22 so that the coming generation of your children who rise up after you, and the foreigner who comes from a far land, would say, when they see the plagues of that land and the sicknesses which the Lord has laid on it: 23 ‘The whole land is brimstone, salt, and burning; it is not sown, nor does it bear, nor does any grass grow there, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, which the Lord overthrew in His anger and His wrath.’
The Apostle Paul instructed us with the following:
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
5) Let us pray for the Christians in Greece to soften their hearts toward the foreigners. Lord, heal them of past injustices. Let them be used to lead forth in seeing the Greek mindset toward foreigners changed.
6) Let us pray for the Greek Christians to seek the Lord for a plan to reach the Muslims (foreigners) with the Gospel. Lord, show every Christian that righteous acts of kindness are more effective than hate and segregation.
Personal Note: Many people worry about the Arabic/Muslim people over populating Europe, but this might be the perfect opportunity to reach them with the Gospel. They are no longer under the controlling Arabic countries of the middle-east and Christians are free to engage them with the truth.
7) Lord, teach us as Christians how to reach the Muslim immigrants among us. Give us methods of encounter that will break their yoke of bondage.
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