Area: 779,452 sq km
Straddles two continents; 3% in Europe (Thrace), 97% in Asia (Anatolia). Also controls the Bosphorus Strait and the Dardanelles, vital sea links between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. Its strategic position has made the area of prime importance throughout history.
Population: 75,705,147 Annual Growth: 1.24%
Official language: Turkish Languages: 45 All languages
Largest Religion: Muslim
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Turkeys transformation from guardian of Christendom to unevangelized nation has been almost comprehensive. For over 1,000 years the region was a bastion of Christendom, but it later became a strong propagator of Islam. The Christian population has declined from 22% to 0.21% since 1900. Only 0.008% of people in Turkey are evangelical; many are ethnic Turks and Kurds, but others are expatriate or from historically Christian minorities. Few of the 73 million Muslims have ever truly heard the gospel. Turkeys location along the ancient Silk Road routes connected it deeply to Islam for centuries; pray that it might also be used as a bridge between Europe and Asia for the transmission of a revitalized Christianity.
A Church amongst Turks has at last become a visible reality, but it still only constitutes 0.005% of the population. Pray for:
a) Renewed church growth. The increases of the 1990s and early 2000s slowed in the face of spiritual, legal and cultural opposition. While this has caused an increase of prayer and focus on discipleship, the evangelism and church planting impetus of the past generation must be kept alive.
b) The Association of Protestant Churches of Turkey (TeK), founded in 1989. This body links most evangelical fellowships and leaders and provides them with advocacy and support, increasingly important in this time of heightened pressure.
c) Strong relationships within churches. Close family ties and the security this confers often make family rejection after conversion traumatic. Pray for fellowships that have had to become surrogate families. Backsliding is common, compromise in marrying non-Christians frequent and relationship breakdowns between believers disheartening. Pray also for families to see and accept a new life in Christ as something good and separate from simply conversion to a foreign religion.
d) Indigenous yet biblical faith expressions. Doctrinal extremes, legalism, personality clashes and disunity are all potential stumbling blocks. Denominationalism has not been an issue but could become so. Pray that Turkish leaders may be discerning and wise in developing sound relationships bolstered by both wholesome biblical applications and structures designed for holistic, reproducible growth.
For an additional 10 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.
The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of Turkey.