Why pray for Central Asia? It’s the least reached region
Learn quickly how to pray for Central Asia most effectively
Gain a helpful overview of Christian mission in Central Asia
Last updated; 27 Sep 2020
Why pray for Central Asia? So many unevangelised
The region of Greater Central Asia accounts for half a billion of the world’s population, yet in some Central Asian countries less than 0.01% are Bible believers. To give an example, a well known city in Central Asia with a population of 1.3m – roughly equivalent to Birmingham – has only 25 ethnic believers. Hence why we so need to pray for Central Asia.
What unites these countries is that they are Muslim states run by post-communist regimes. For the most part, their people are not devout in their adherence to orthodox Islam, preferring a more pragmatic folk Islam. Will you join us in praying for Central Asia? Why not request our ‘Pray for Central Asia’ resource pack?
Why pray for Central Asia? It’s the most forgotten region
If we were to ask you to locate Central Asia on a world map and name its countries, do you think you could?
Sandwiched between Europe and Asia, but not firmly in either, this region has all but fallen from the gaze of the world and, more worryingly, the view of the Church. Another reason why we encourage you to pray for Central Asia.
Raising awareness to pray for Central Asia
Central Asia went missing from my mental map of the world for the first 20 years of my Christian life. A global gospel can't afford that kind of a gap. A vast area of the world with millions in deep spiritual need...
Rector, All Souls
I pray there will be a wake up call to God's people to reach out more to the nations of Central Asia. Ten's of millions in these lands have never had the gospel oral or written.
Founder of OM
I remember singing the chorus: 'Every person, in every nation, in each succeeding generation has the right to hear the news that Christ can save'. I deeply believe that. So my heart, and therefore my regular prayers, go for the unreached people of Central Asia. May they hear of the Lord Jesus.
It is a tragedy that nearly all of Central Asia's 1/2 billion people still have no opportunity to hear the gospel, with huge unreached regions devoid of any believers, let alone churches. The job of mission is not finished - it has scarcely begun!
People International, UK Director
What happened when the Iron Curtain collapsed in the early 1990s?
A door was opened for workers to meet the very real needs of the people and, at the same time, share the gospel. Churches quickly sprang up over the region, as Tajiks, Uzbeks and others turned to the Lord. However, the political mood changed again and mission workers found themselves persona non-grata (not welcome). Turkmenistan was the first to expel mission workers, followed closely by Uzbekistan. However, Protestant denominations have always been present despite opposition and repression.
What does a typical Central Asian church look like?
Colourful, strange and noisy. People gather in homes, sit on the ground and drink tea. Children run in and out. Women wear their traditional multicoloured dresses. Older people are given the best places. Musical worship has local tambourines and long necked guitars and the rhythm and tones reflect the Asian heart. The believers talk about Bible stories and pray with their hands lifted-up in front of them.
Is the church in Central Asia persecuted?
Yes, and they need our prayers. Persecution of the church comes from two main directions. The first is from relatives and neighbours who consider conversion from Islam a rejection of their religious and national identity.
A person might say…
“I am Kazakh and therefore Muslim”
The second main form of persecution comes from the state apparatus, such as the security services and departments of religious affairs. Despite opposition in Central Asia, there is life in the church. Most do not bow to the pressure of persecution. They continue to meet week by week and open the Word of God together. Although, the zeal and rapid growth of 20-30 years ago has diminished.
Is the Church / Christianity growing in Central Asia?
It is so encouraging to see second generation believers (children of those converted when the iron curtain collapsed in the early 90’s). Generally though, at the moment, the church is now not seeing the same growth. The reasons and challenges are manifold including:
- first generation leadership
- moral failure
- an overdependence on Western finance and methods
How can I / our church get involved in Central Asian mission?
What is People International’s vision for Central Asia?
We do send evangelists & gospel workers into this region, but our primary role must be to support the church in Central Asia rather than do its work for it.
People International mission leader
“The quickest way to grow the church is by the slowest route, discipleship: training local believers who do not have to learn the language and culture, and who will not be considered as outsiders.”
Priority pray needs include completion of the Scriptures into all Central Asian languages. We also need good books/resources for church leaders and general titles for all believers. It is tempting to take our Christian classics and translate them into Tajik or Uzbek. However, it is much more effective if local church leaders are equipped to create resources for their own people and we help to publish them.
The global Church needs encouraging to recognise that Central Asia exists and to learn why and how best to pray for Central Asia and its church. Please join us in doing this.