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Why + how to pray for Turkmenistan?

Why pray for Turkmenistan? Indigenous Turkmen Christian movement is growing

You will:

Learn how to best pray for Turkmenistan – a country whose land is 80% desert, with the smallest population of any Central Asia nation, yet a growing church

Be encouraged as you hear of growth, despite the big obstacle of Christianity being perceived as the Russian religion and Jesus as the Russian God

Be emboldened to pray for Turkmenistan as after many years, a couple of Protestant churches have been successfully officially registered

Last updated;  16 July 2021

Why pray for Turkmenistan?  Turkmen are finding the light

The Turkmen are a traditionally nomadic people living in Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq. They trace their descent from the Oghuz tribe from Mongolia, and have been in Central Asia since the 10th century AD.

Although its land area is twice the size of the UK, most of it is desert. The capital, Ashgabat, has been turned into a marble and glass monument to the oil wealth that lies beneath the desert.

Since the early 1990’s Turkmen have been turning to Christ, and the indigenous Turkmen Christian movement is growing. Let’s praise God, but also continue in prayer for Turkmenistan pleading for the Lord’s ongoing blessing.

It is hard to estimate the number of believers, but there may be as many as 1500-2000 ethnic Turkmen Christians inside Turkmenistan.

I know this is the truth…

Coming out of the darkness

Map of Turkmenistan - Christian mission

Why pray for Turkmenistan?
Christianity is the Russian religion and Jesus is the Russian God

Today, still in the eyes of many Turkmen, Christianity is the Russian religion and Jesus is the Russian God. During the Soviet era the local churches (Russian Orthodox, Baptist, Pentecostal) were composed purely of Russians and some Armenians.

Along with the growth in ethnic Turkmen believers, there have been setbacks and persecution however, particularly since 2000. The government refused for many years to register* Turkmen-speaking churches, and reproaches Turkmen Christians for not being Muslims.

* A couple of Protestant churches have now been allowed to officially register and meet publicly – praise God!

Pray for Turkmenistan
Turkmen lady in traditional costume - Pray for Turkmenistan

As I promise to pray for Turkmenistan, can you tell me a bit more about this nation?

Turkmenistan has reportedly the world’s fifth largest reserves of natural gas. But this wealth does not enrich the ordinary people of Turkmenistan. The lavish makeover of the capital city does not extend to building affordable housing or creating jobs. Instead, the people are pacified with handouts: free electricity and natural gas, a generous ration of free petrol, and subsidised basic food prices.

Complete government control over the media, and an all-pervasive security service, a legacy of the Soviet Union, make sure that everyone is fed the party line and no one is able to express any disagreement.

In many ways the modern resident of Turkmenistan is still as cut off from the outside world as his nomadic desert-dwelling ancestors.

Skyline of Ashgabat the impressive capital of Turkmenistan - Pray for Turkmenistan

Most Turkmen are Sunni Muslims. Islam is part of the Turkmen national identity. Most people practise folk Islam, trusting in amulets and visiting holy places in order to get answers to their prayers.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union the government, and in particular the first President, Saparmurad Niyazov have tried to give the Turkmen a new sense of who they are. Niyazov, who called himself “Turkmenbashy” (Leader of the Turkmens) imposed a bizarre ideology of a unified Turkmen nation with himself as its quasi-religious leader.

This was done through his book, the Ruhnama, which took on a religious status as the source of all answers for life for the Turkmen people. Study of the book occupied a large part of the school curriculum, and knowledge of its contents became compulsory in other areas of public life. Even the driving test included a section on the Ruhnama.

Since Niyazov’s death in 2006 the status of the Ruhnama has been downgraded. But its influence in engendering a national pride is still felt.

Pray for Turkmenistan at a glance:
  • Population: 6 million
  • Area: 188,500 sq miles
  • Capital: Ashgabat
  • Languages: Turkmen
  • Currency: Turkmen manat
  • Religion: Muslim (96%)
  • Believers: 1500-2000
Gas grater in Turkmenistan desert - Pray for Turkmenistan
Flag for Turkmenistan

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How can I best pray for Turkmenistan?

Praise and Prayer pointers

THE BELIEVERS

Praise God for the ethnic Turkmen believers despite all the religious restrictions

PEACE

Praise God for the peace and stability in Turkmenistan

GOVERNMENT

Pray for the Turkman Government – the ministers and advisers, that they would govern wisely and justly.

ANSWERED PRAYER

For many years it was impossible to register Protestant churches in Turkmenistan.  However, now a couple of churches have achieved registered status, and some believers are able now for the first time to meet publicly and openly.

SPIRITUAL MATURITY

Lift up the Turkmen believers, that they would stand firm against opposition and grow in maturity and knowledge of the Scriptures

LEADER TRAINING

Thank God for those church leaders who via various means have been able to access biblical and leadership training

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