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The Princess Bride and Ramadan


About 30 million Chinese citizens are Muslim; that’s 2% of the population. Ten of the 56 official “nationalities” in China are predominantly Muslim: Hui, Uyghur, Kazak, Dongxiang, Kirgiz, Salar, Tajik, Uzbek, Bonan, and Tatar.


If you’ve ever read or seen The Princess Bride, there’s a character who basically responds to every assertion the other characters make with “Inconceivable!”

And this is just how my Muslim friend responded the other day. She said, “Bu ke si yi!” (不可 思议) which my Chinese dictionary translated (to my great delight, being a huge fan of The Princess Bride) as “Inconceivable!”

To what was my friend responding?

Well, let me tell you. She’s a pretty serious Muslim and prays five times a day. So that day we were chatting a bit about prayer. I told her that when we become Christians, God’s spirit comes to live inside us, and that means we can talk directly to God, and he talks directly to us.

When I said that, my friend nearly fell off her chair. She was astonished. “Bu ke si yi!” she blurted out. Her dad happened to be listening and asked her what was up with her. She translated for him (into their local dialect) what I had said. He couldn’t believe it either. From what I gathered, his response was “She’s having you on. That’s a joke.”

She truly had no idea of the kind of life she was created to have with God. None of this “striving to make ourselves good and clean and holy in the hope of earning favor from a far-off God,” but this kind of life:

For you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children.” 

From Romans 8, The Message version

And so, as Ramadan starts this month, my friend will be fasting and praying and seeking God. Pray for her, and all Muslims—in China and around the world—during this time. Pray that as they seek God in earnest, God would indeed meet with them powerfully, revealing himself to them. Pray also for those of us who desire to share with them. Pray that the truth we tell of the death and resurrection of Jesus and the evidence of his Spirit in us would not be inconceivable to our Muslim friends but would become a living reality.

Resources for Praying for the Hui during Ramadan

To help you pray for the Hui1 during Ramadan, we are including resources from two organizations. Our thanks to Pray for the Hui and our partners who created the Silk Road materials.

Ramadan Prayer Emphasis from Pray for the Hui

This April 2022 during Ramadan we will pray through the book of Philippians on behalf of workers focused on Chinese Muslims. Join us and pray for God to move among the Hui opening eyes and hearts to follow Jesus!

Go to our homepage to download a prayer guide or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for daily prayer prompts.

The prayer guides in English and Chinese (simplified and traditional characters) are also available here for download.

China’s Silk Road Ramadan 2022 Prayer Booklet

This booklet provides thirty days of prayer information in the form of a conversation between a Christian named “John” and his Chinese Muslim friend “Ali.”

You can download the booklet in English or Chinese (both simplified and traditional characters).

Endnotes

  1. For more information about the Hui, see “From the Middle East to the Middle Kingdom” and “Know Thy Hui Neighbor.”

Will and Nina Anderson

Will and Nina Anderson (pseudonyms) served in China among ethnic minorities for several years and adopted their son there. Since leaving China, they continue to live among Muslim diaspora communities showing love to the marginalized.View Full Bio


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