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Why + how to pray for Turkey?

Why pray for Turkey? Increasing Christian persecution

You will:

Learn how to best pray for Turkey – a land rich in Biblical history, yet with only 0.01% of believers, one of the least reached nations of Central Asia

Be encouraged as you hear of increasing number on inquiries about the Christian faith, especially amongst the younger generation who want change

Be stirred to pray for Turkey as graver opposition against Christians is feared, and the huge cost of following Jesus results sadly in a high ‘drop off’ rate

Last updated;  21 July 2021

Why pray for Turkey?  Becoming an Islamic-influenced autocracy

Turkey sits geographically on the crossroad between East and West. Its most famous city, Istanbul, straddles Asia and Europe, and Turkey’s culture and attitudes are a melting-pot of both continents.

Today its population of 84.5 million, including secular and conservative Islamic Turks, is deeply polarised culturally and politically, and the Turkish democratic Republic founded by Ataturk (‘father of Turks’) in 1928 is now moving towards an Islamic-influenced autocracy.

Pray for Turkey – a land of rich Biblical history

Christian history dates back centuries with a peak during the Byzantine era around 5th century. Today, 99.8% Turks are Muslims, the majority being Sunni, since the Turkic invaders from the Central Asian steppe entered Antolia (mainland Turkey) from the 12th century.

Yet, now it is one of the least reached countries in Central Asia – with only 0.01% being bible believing Christians.

Map of Turkey - Christian mission

Why pray for Turkey?
Graver opposition against Christians is feared

Turkish Christians still face many difficulties as they attempt to be accepted in their own society even though Turkey boasts being the most pluralistic culture in the Middle East.

A recent study estimates there are 4,500 Christians from a Muslim background in the country.

We rejoice that the Turkish church has since increased in numbers. Congregations comprise of mostly young adults and the services are energetic and exciting.

Although the Protestant or Evangelical faith began to spread in Turkey during the 19th century, it was not until the late 20th century that it began to consolidate.

Persecution of Christians has continued in modern Turkey. With current political trends, graver opposition may come.

Pray for Turkey
Elderly Turkish man sitting on pavement - Pray for Turkey

Tell me more, as I pray for Turkey

The war in Syria spilling over their borders has resulted in over 3.5 million refugees fleeing to Turkey.

Frequent terror attacks, a failed coup and a restarting of the conflict with Kurdish separatists has also created a tense, unstable situation which threatens Turkey’s previously record-breaking economic growth.

Its standing in the world as a beacon of moderation between Europe and the Middle East is also under threat, as is its place as one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.

Mosques in Istanbul - Pray for Turkey

Despite Ataturk abolishing Islam as state religion in 1928, it has always defined Turks as a nationality and culture. Islam has now regained a major role within public life and politics in the last few decades and the conservative Muslim population has grown in influence and visibility.

Many Turkish Muslims are moderate and likely not to keep the strict regulations of prayer, fasting and pilgrimage to Mecca.

Instead, like many Central Asians, religious practice is mixed with folk Islam, where fear of evil spirits and the evil eye are warded off by beads and talismans.

Fortune-telling is widespread, and sacred burial sites are revered and visited when there are immediate needs such as sickness, engagement or marriage.

Such practices seem to be popular because it is believed circumstances of everyday life can be affected or manipulated by them. That is something which orthodox Islam cannot offer as God is all-knowing and all-powerful but distant and firmly in control of their fate.

Pray for Turkey at a glance:
  • Population: 84.5 million
  • Area: 301,000 sq miles
  • Capital: Ankara
  • Languages: Turkish
  • Currency: Turkish Lira
  • Religion: Muslim (80% Sunni)
  • Believers: 3,000-4,000 (Ethnic Turks)
A Turkish Tea on cafe table - Pray for Turkey
The Turkish flag - pray for Turkey

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How can I best pray for Turkey?

Praise and Prayer pointers

ETHNIC TURKS

Praise God for the 3000-4000 ethnic Turks that have professed faith in Jesus Christ, especially with all the consequences they will face as a result.

TURKISH CHURCH

Give thanks for the church established in Turkey and pray that it will continue to grow in strength and maturity. Also pray it will begin to reach the unreached conservative sectors of Turkish society.

GOVERNMENT

Pray for Turkey – that its government will honour God in its policies and treatment of all members of society. Pray for unity and peace across the country.

OUR WORKERS

Please pray for our mission workers doing Gospel ministry and humanitarian work amongst the refugees in Turkey. Pray specifically that they will be kept safe, have their visa’s renewed, and will see much spiritual fruit.

MORE INQUIRIES

As Turkey continues its journey to become more Muslim and freedoms are curtailed, there is a backlash from some of the younger generation who want change, which is probably behind an increasing number of inquiries into Christian faith. The very few provincial churches that do exist are seeing more opportunities and even those who wish to profess faith in Jesus Christ.

OPPOSITION

If graver opposition and religious persecution does come – pray that the Turkish believers will be given much courage. Pray they will be enabled to be a shining witness in a land of such instability, confusion and uncertainty.

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