Pray for Our World: Turkey

Turkey is in two continents, with 3% in Europe and 97% in Asia.  Its strategic position of being located on the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea has made it of prime importance throughout history.  The Turkish Ottoman Empire once stretched across North Africa, Western Asia and Southeast Europe, but WW I led to its demise and fragmentation and also the birth of modern Turkey. Turkish society is split – it is secular yet Muslim.

For over one thousand years, Turkey was a bastion of Christendom.  Mt. Ararat, the place where Noah’s ark landed, is located in Turkey, but is closed off from most of the world.  Much of the activity of the New Testament apostles was located in Turkey.  The ancient city of Antioch, now called Antakya, is where Paul and Barnabas preached, and it is there that the disciples were first called “Christians”.  Much of Paul’s missionary journeys were in Turkey, and he wrote his letters to the assemblies in Turkey: Galatians, Ephesians and Colossians.  The book of Acts records a lot of this history.

Turkey later became a strong propagator of Islam.  Christians have since declined from 22% in 1900 to .21% today.  Few Muslims today have ever heard the gospel or the teachings of Paul.  The ancient churches have nearly been wiped out by massacres, persecution and emigration over the years.  Pray for the remnant that survives, and for a re-kindling of the Christian faith among this ancient and special place.