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Prayers for Turkey

1. Although Christians and Jews make up less than 0.2 percent of Turkey’s population of 80 million, they now find themselves increasingly marginalized from the Muslim majority. Due to harassment and threats, many Muslim inquirers find it difficult to openly discuss the Bible’s teachings. Pray that this negative situation will change. 2. The New Testament became available in modern Turkish in 1987, and the entire Bible in 2001. Before this, the only Bible in Turkish was an archaic translation completed in 1666. Thank the Lord that the Scriptures are now available in the current language of the people. 3. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has aggressively restricted freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly. Pray that it will soon restore these rights to all law-abiding citizens. 4. President Erdoğan has dominated the nation’s politics for 15 years, and has amassed more power than any leader other than the republic’s highly esteemed founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who died in 1938. In 2016, Mr. Erdoğan survived a failed military coup, and then used a state of emergency to purge the armed forces, police and courts of suspected enemies. Ask the Lord to provide wholesome restraints on his power. 5. Many Turks are disillusioned with militant Islam and are beginning to look elsewhere for spiritual truth. Pray that their search will lead to eternal life. 6. It used to be generally accepted that a Turk could be a good or bad Muslim, but never a Christian. However, many Turks are now becoming dedicated followers of Jesus Christ. Pray that far more will be exposed to His teachings. 7. With a population of 2,501,000, Izmir is the country’s third-largest city and its second largest seaport after Istanbul. Prior to the 1920’s it was known as Biblical Smyrna. There are a number of fine Christ-centered congregations in the city and surrounding province. Pray that local believers will heed God’s call to plant churches in other areas. 8. The country’s association of Protestant churches reports that hateful anti-Christian speech has dramatically increased in social and public media. It seems that anyone who isn’t a Sunni Muslim is now viewed as a threat to national security. Ask for the Lord’s protection of Christians, Jews, Alevi Muslims and other religious minorities. 9. Turkey is one of the most geographically strategic countries in the world. It has excellent water and land connections, and is becoming a vital energy hub for Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia. Pray that the financial blessings of this will reach the entire nation, and not just a circle of privileged families. 10. Since the 1960’s, excellent Bible correspondence courses have been available in Turkish. Ask the Lord to provide the BCC office with sufficient funds and staff to keep up with a dramatic increase in participants. 11. In recent years, radical Kurdish groups have committed murderous acts in a number of cities. Pray for the elimination of funding for such evil. 12. In spite of negative circumstances, there is actually a growing spiritual harvest in Turkey. Ask the Almighty to raise up more evangelists and church planters. 13. In the seventh century BC, Greek settlers founded a colony at the site of present-day Istanbul and named it Byzantium after their king Byzas. In 330 AD, Constantine the Great chose to rebuild the city as his eastern capital of the Roman Empire. He called it Nea Roma - New Rome. Like its namesake it was also built on seven hills. The city later became popularly known as Constantinople, the city of Constantine. Today, it is the cultural and religious center of modern Turkey for both Muslims and Christians. Pray that the city’s Christian community will reach many with the love of Christ. 14. While Christians make up less than half a percent of Turkey’s population, President Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Reconciliation Party depict them as a grave threat to the stability of the nation, stereotyping them as Western stooges and collaborators. As a result, some Turks are adopting a dangerous anti-Christian mindset similar to that which preceded the demise of the Ottoman Empire. Pray that this will be offset by the wide proclamation of the Gospel by every means available. 15. Following its conquest by Muslim Turks in 1453, Constantinople’s ancient emblem of a crescent moon and star became the universal symbol of militant Islam. After the rise of the Turkish Republic in 1923, the city’s name was officially changed to Istanbul, which reportedly means “discovered region” in Turkish. It’s the nation’s largest city, and has an estimated population of 16.4 million, which includes several thousand Protestant, Orthodox, and Catholic Christians. Ask the Almighty to open this entire city to the proclamation of the Gospel. 16. Thank the Lord for twenty-four recent converts baptized near the city of Samsun. Pray that all will grow in their faith and be faithful students of His Word 17. A group of foreign Christians were intent on sharing the Gospel in a small town they were visiting. It was a hot day, and they decided to distribute bottles of water with this Scripture affixed in Turkish: Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink the water I give them will never thirst again. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” After receiving water and a free New Testament from them, an undercover officer made several phone calls. As a result, they were soon surrounded by five secret police who took their passports. The local imam was summoned, and the officers all greeted him with respect. They then handed him the New Testament to decide what they should do. He opened it and read a number of pages without stopping. Finally, he showed the officers a verse from the Book of James about how our tongues can either bless or curse. He liked this very much, and praised the New Testament as a very fine book compatible with the Qur’an. The Christians then offered it to him as a gift, and he happily left with it. The secret police then handed back their passports and apologized to the believers for detaining them. Please uphold these officers and their esteemed imam before the Throne of Grace.

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