As Ramadan begins, Christians are signing up to 'Lovefast' – a way to unveil Jesus to Muslims

Mahabba NetworkLovefast during Ramadan – a prayer and action campaign to reveal Jesus to Muslims. 

Hundreds of Christians have signed up to reach out to Muslims from the start of the 30-day Islamic fast of Ramadan tomorrow.

Since it began three years ago from nothing, the Mahabba Lovefast initiative to help Christians engage with Ramadan in prayer and action has grown by 50 per cent each year.

The aim of Lovefast is to help Jesus be 'unveiled' to Muslims through practical acts of kindness.

It runs alongside the 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World booklet and was inspired by Stewardship's #40Acts of generosity campaign during Lent.

Ramadan this year runs from Saturday 27 May to Sunday 25 June.

Besides the prayer booklet, those who sign up will be given a short 'thought for the day' directly in their inbox, with ways to pray for Muslims.

Ramadan comes in the aftermath of the Manchester bombing, with fears of Islamophobia affecting members of Britain's 3 million strong Muslim community.

Simon Cox, Mahabba Network hub manager, said: 'Christians have been praying for Muslims during Ramadan for 15 years

'At Mahabba we wanted to provide a way for Christians to engage practically – acts of kindess or building relationships or just engaging in conversation.

'Lovefast is a way for people to pray but also engage practically. We don't prescribe things for people to do. We give suggested actions and provide prayers. People can do anything to help them understand Musims better and share the love of Jesus – strike up conversations. These can be about anything, particularly if they don't know their neighbours. It might be helping a Muslim neighbour in the garden or with their shopping.'

Mahabba NetworkRamadan begins tomorrow

The primary aim is not necessarily conversion.

'We do welcome it if Muslims come to know Jesus. We don't keep records about this. What we do know is we have had a dramatic increase in Christians signing up. Year on year, there is a growth of about 50 per cent. Christians are taking up this initiative.'

Currently, nearly 350 people are involved.

Cox said: 'For me, the Manchestger bombing for me was very emotional. I used to live in Manchester and went to a school near one of the houses raided by police. It very much hit home. It was an emotional time for many of us when we heard.

'We wanted to respect the grief and outpouring of emotion. We then realised it was thrusting Muslims and Islam into the spotlight once again.

'Rather than stoke fear or sensationalism we wanted to come alongside people and encourge them, for Christians to reach out in love and share what we know about Jesus with them.'

One previous participant said: 'Lovefast has helped me to notice more Muslims in the crowd each day and I have felt prompted to pray for them during Ramadan. It's great to be part of a community of people who are reaching out with God's love and praying together. The daily e-mail helped me not to forget. I have learned a lot more about Islam, and think more people should know about Lovefast.'

Gordon Hickson, founder of Mahabba Network, said: 'Our hearts were churning after the Manchester bombing, and we wanted to give Mancunians time to grieve. Soon it became clear that people were looking for a way to respond. As we launch Lovefast this weekend, we want to encourage Christians to love sacrificially – whatever our differences, everyone is loved by Jesus, who gave his life for each person – no exceptions.'

Make God's love go viral from Mahabba Network on Vimeo.

Lifestyle