This Month is a Time for Spiritual Warfare

By Published on March 22, 2023

Sunset this evening will mark the beginning of Ramadan, the Muslim Holy Month. In Islamic countries like the one where I live, it will be illegal for anyone to eat or drink in public during daylight hours. Muslims throughout the world will be fasting from food and water from sun-up to sun-down every day, eating and drinking only at night. Devout parents often require even their children to go without food and water.

Christians throughout the Middle East are fasting, too. Most believers in this part of the world are Catholic or Orthodox, so they are midway through Lent now.

So believers in both Islam and Christianity are all fasting at the same time. Here is an important question to consider: does this make a difference in the spiritual realm?

A Battle in the Middle East

The answer seems to me to be: how could it not? Many people (both Muslim and Christian) are turning their hearts towards God at this time, and seeking Him more earnestly. That is a good thing. But whenever people seek God, we should expect increased opposition. Furthermore, there are many spiritual forces in the world that might be reached out to, and they are certainly not all from God. Many people may be reaching out spiritually to something that is not God. Muslims believe that on the Night of Power, which falls on an unknown day in the last 10 days of Ramadan, their prayers have a better chance of being answered. So they will be asking for whatever they desire most. But who, or what, may answer them?

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When I first moved here, I was told that Ramadan is always a time of intensified spiritual warfare. At the time I took that with a grain of salt. But now, having lived here awhile, I am more ready to be convinced. Last Ramadan, a seeker I was studying with had a complete mental breakdown. A local psychiatrist diagnosed him with Acute Psychosis. Now, one year later, his mind seems to be slowly recovering, but he is still in prison for a crime he committed while psychotic. Of course, he should be acquitted due to insanity, but he is a refugee from Africa, and the justice system here does not favor that kind of person.

Now, do I know that this was a spiritual attack, rather than merely the result of past trauma and the added stress of having to live and work without food or water? No. I don’t know.

But I do know that spiritual warfare is real. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12) And when over a billion people around the world suddenly turn their minds towards spiritual things, we should expect a spiritual battle.

The Middle Eastern Church is Our Church

Here’s another important question: Is this spiritual battle only in the Middle East, or is it throughout the world? Is it in America, too?

Again, I do not see how it could not be, because the Church is one body throughout the world, and “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:26) The battles of Christians in the Middle East is the battle of Christians everywhere — or it should be.

In Hebrews 13:3, we are told “Remember those who are in prison as though in prison with them.” This principle should apply to all kinds of struggle, shouldn’t it? It’s easy to get so caught up in our struggles in America as American Christians that we forget that we are all one Kingdom, which transcends national boundaries. The Christians in the Middle East are not foreigners to us, nor we to them. We are all fellow citizens in the Kingdom of God, and the struggles of that kingdom are our struggles, wherever we live.

So this Ramadan — and this Lent — let’s be united in prayer with our brothers throughout the world. We are one body. Pray that Christians in the Middle East will be a witness and a light to those living in darkness. And pray for Muslims (in America, as well as in the Middle East and throughout the world) who are turning their attention to God at this time, that they would “seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.” (Acts 17:27)


Peter Rowden is a friend of The Stream living in the Middle East.

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