Livin' la Vida DOXA
3/4/16 at 10:38 AM 1 Comments

Praying Passionately for Turkey

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One of the greatest privileges that we have, as children of God, is to pray. We have direct access to the Father through Jesus Christ the Son. (See Heb. 4:14-16) Like the Psalmist, we ofter turn to God in times of need. And like the Psalmist, we should turn to God on behalf of all peoples. It is our joyful burden, our glorious obligation, to pray for the nations as part of our effort to

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. (Psalm 96:3-4 ESV)

One of the best and most needy examples is the nation of Turkey. In addition to being one of the world’s least-evangelized countries, there are many indicators that it is also one of the most resistant to the Gospel. Add to that the ethno-political strains between the Turks and the Kurds in southeast Turkey, as well as the constant pressure from ISIS and the Syrian civil war, and the unceasing flow (if not flood) of Syrian refugees (currently over 2.7 million) streaming through the southern border, and you have a situation — a nation with numerous unreached people groups — that cries out for prayer. I want to help you pray passionately and powerfully, so here are some suggestions about how to pray that derive from one of my regular trips to that land.

I was in Istanbul at the beginning of the Muslim month of fasting, called Ramadan. Now I confess that I am normally neither a very creative person, nor a very empathetic one, but on this occasion, the Lord gave me a heart of compassion and fueled my creative energies. I decided to fast and pray not with but for the people and peoples of Turkey. I wanted to be out and about rather than inside a building somewhere. A prayer walk would be appropriate, I thought. But since I don't like to do things slowly — and I do like to run — I decided to do a "prayer run.” Perhaps you will feel inclined to pray as I did:

  • As I ran beside the Bosphorus Strait, which flows through the heart of Istanbul, I prayed that the Holy Spirit of God would flow through the hearts of people and peoples in Turkey as “a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
  • I thought of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which run through the heart of the Kurdish region of Turkey, and prayed for that oppressed group of peoples, that they would experience the renewing work of the Spirit of God.
  • As I watched the ferry boats take countless thousands of people from one side of Istanbul to the other, I imagined and prayed for heavenly ferry boats taking millions of Turks across the chasm that sin has created and into an eternity with Christ.
  • As I neared the port, with its vast array of cargo ships, importing innumerable goods and exporting, no doubt, tea and hazelnuts and apricots and the like, I prayed that God would continue to "import" his truth into this country, so much so that Turks would one day no longer say, “To be Turk is to be Muslim,” but rather, “To be Turk is to be a worshiper of Jesus,” and that the Turkish Church would become an "exporter" of the Gospel.
  • As I ran past a combination watchtower and lighthouse in the middle of the Bosphorus, I prayed that God would raise up a generation of Ezekiels for Turkey, men and women who would proclaim Jesus, the Light of the world.
  • As I saw an unlikely amount of cats in the streets darting stealthily into the cracks and crevices and garbage bins, I prayed that the Gospel would penetrate the cracks and crevices of the nation — of the stuctures and institutions; and of the people — their darkened hearts and minds, and that the few Christian workers here would seek to enter among the outcastes and throwaways of society.
  • As I saw couples sitting together on benches I prayed that all Turks would have the chance to have intimacy with Christ, the Lover of their souls.
  • As I ran against the crowds of humanity in front of the open markets, I was reminded of the multitudes who are heading toward eternal damnation and prayed for God to send more workers to this field.
  • As I considered the influx of immigrants and refugees from Africa, Central Asia, the Middle East and elsewhere, I prayed for an influx of new, godly, committed Christian workers, passionate for the glory of the Father.
  • As I passed a Central Asian looking person (perhaps Kazakh), I was reminded to pray for our Korean brothers and sisters (the second largest group of Christian workers in Turkey), that God would allow them to enculturate well and minister effectively.
  • As I considered the amazing quantity of Turkish flags and pictures of Ataturk, and thought of the Turks’ nationalistic passion, I remembered my Brazilian and other Latino brothers and sisters (a growing group of workers in Turkey), and prayed that their passion for life and the Lord would permeate this land.
  • As I perceived the fog and smog gradually being burned away by the sun, I prayed that the Son would radiate brightly and burn through all the spiritual barriers of the land.
  • As I passed women with their heads covered by scarves (perceptibly more than when I was first there in 1999), and some with veils, I remembered that “whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away,” and I prayed that God would lift the veil of darkness and blindness covering the land and peoples’ hearts.
  • As I saw construction workers hard at work, I prayed for spiritual workers in Turkey (only about 700 in a country of around 85 million!), that they will remain strong as they help build Christ’s Church.
  • As I ran past the propaganda from the recent elections, I prayed that the people of Turkey would choose the only person who is truly able to resolve their social, political, economic, religious, cultural and personal problems, Isa Mesehin, the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • As I ran up hills I contemplated the uphill battle that my dear Turkish brothers and sisters (who only number around 5000) face, against government bureaucracy and injustice, against Islam and against secularism, and I prayed for the Lord to strengthen their hearts, minds, spirits and relationships, and to give them resolve, wisdom, Christlikeness and favor with men.
  • As I ran past the shop windows and saw my own reflection, I remembered to pray for my family and myself, that we would be willing to do whatever it takes for the Lord to receive glory among the peoples of Turkey, whether it be praying faithfully, giving sacrificially, mobilizing effectively, or going obediently.
  • And as the call to prayer sounded, I realized that God is calling me to greater prayer, not only during Ramadan, but for months and years to come, until the Name of Christ has been adequately proclaimed in Turkey.

What about you? Do you hear God’s calling to passionately pray for Turkey? Or Syria? Some other country or region of the world? What about an unreached people group? (See Our great God desires and deserves to be known and worshiped among all peoples, and He calls us to be actively engaged in this glorious mission of His. Why not take a few minutes right now (and everyday!) and get engaged through prayer?


I'm João, but you can call me John. Since meeting Christ at age 16, my driving passion has been to glorify Him! I’m a “Great Commission Entrepreneur,” passionate about starting and leading anything — mission agencies, churches, businesses — that helps fulfill the Great Commission. I also love to speak, teach, preach and write about God's glory in all areas of life and among all peoples of the world.

You can contact Dr. John Mordomo at; find out more at; link directly to this blog at; and follow him on:



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