Prayer Movements for Muslims Precede People Movements of Muslims to Christ.

I was reminded today that Prayer Movements precede Muslim People Movements to Christ.

David Garrison in his outstanding book, A Wind in the House of Islam: How God is drawing Muslims around the world to faith in Jesus Christ, points out that in the first twelve centuries of Islam, there were few voluntary conversations to Christ. Only at the end of the 19th century, what is known as the “Great Century of Protestant Missions,” did two voluntary movements of Muslims to Christ starting gain momentum, one in Indonesia and one in Ethiopia; these continued to bear fruit into the early part of the 20th century. In 1965 around two million Indonesians voluntarily entered the Church. And in the final two decades of the 20th century, there were eleven people movements of Muslims to Christ. By the way, Garrison defines a people movement defined as 1,000 baptisms over 20 years. So by the end of the 20th Century Garrison documents just 13 people movements of Muslim Peoples to Christ since Mohammed.

But in the first twelve years of the 21th Century, Garrison documents 69 additional people movements of Muslims taking place in Africa and Asia. Something unprecedented is happening here.

My colleagues also pointed out that the Ramadan Prayer Movement for Muslim People groups started in 1993. Other significant prayer movements focused on Muslims also emerged in the 1990s.  Is it coincidental Prayer Movements focused on Muslims precede People Movements of Muslims to Christ? Unlikely. Prayer is not the only factor that accounts tens of thousands of Muslims turning to Christ (Garrison, for example, brings out other important factors), but it is significant.

Focused prayer for Muslims makes a difference. This is why I have encouraged people in earlier blogs to join in the Ramadan Prayer focus for Muslims, which starts today! For related resources see: http://www.30daysprayer.com/ and ramadanmillion.wordpress.com, which seeks 1,000,000 prayers for the country of Turkey during the month of Ramadan.

30 Prayer Points to Guide Your Praying for Turkey during Ramadan

Matthew Henry (1662-1714), said “When God wants to bless a people, he put on their hearts the desire to pray for that same thing.” Today we see God putting on the heart of God’s people the desire to pray blessings upon Turkey, one of the least evangelized nations in the world. Workers from among that people group have put together 30 Prayer Points for Turkey  Pray one a day starting on June 18, the first day of Ramadan, or pray them all at once or any other creative way you can think of. Print them out. Send them to friends. Click on this link to show your participation in this million person prayer initiative. Let’s see 1,000,000 people come before the throne of grace telling God, like Jacob, that we won’t let go until He blesses these precious people.

The following prayer points are drawn from the Ramadan Millions blog.. Once Ramadan ends feel free to continue using them as a guide throughout the year. May this be the beginning of God pouring out his blessing upon the Turkish people!

1 Prayer Movement – God loves Turkey. Pray for a prayer movement. May God burden many hearts in such a way that people approach the throne of grace on behalf of the Turkish people. Pray that many would not just pray but get others to pray as well. Please share the link to this page.

2 Government – The elections left the country in a bit of uncertainty as no party was able to gain a majority. This means either a coalition or more elections within the next few months. Pray that God would use the political situation for His glory and that many people would stop looking to government or political parties for their security and instead look to the Rock of Ages. Also, four Christian Background people were elected to the Parliament. Pray that they would represent Jesus well.

3 People of Peace – Pray that these people who are open to the message of Jesus and have influence over their communities will come into contact with people who have the Treasure and are able to share it in a reproducible way.

4 Turkish Apostles – Pray for these men and women who can’t be stopped. May God raise up people with a vision and heart for all of their people and may they get the training they need to go out and see believing communities multiplying throughout the country.

5 Near Neighbors – Many historic Christian peoples live near Turkey and some live within Turkey hidden from the general population. May they escape their historical and cultural religious baggage and come into a vital relationship with Jesus,i.e. become Christian in heart, not just name. Then may they catch a vision to see the Turks reached and send many apostolic workers into this land.

6 Unity (1) – Pray for unity within the Turkish church both between churches and within churches. Jesus said that the outside world will know that Jesus is true because of the love that believers have for each other. May the Turkish believers live this out.

7 Unity (2) – Expats working in Turkey have many ideas about the best way to share God’s love. Over the years there have been significant disagreements about what is best. God is calling us to unity within the diversity. There is not one best way. Pray that Expats can work out their differences, die to self, and learn how to work together in their diversity. There is room for many different methods/models. May the expats find ways to respect and honor each other in their work.

8 Unity (3) – Over the years there have been many misunderstandings and hurts between expats and Turkish Christian leaders. Pray for reconciliation where it is needed and for both sides to find ways to communicate and love each other. We all have the same goal. May we learn to work side by side in unity, each doing what God is calling them to.

9 Pray for more workers – Jesus said to pray for more workers for the harvest field (Matt. 9:38; Luke 10:2). There are many areas of Turkey with no resident gospel witness. In fact, 30 of the 81 provinces in Turkey have no church and no one who is planning on reaching those areas. Pray that this changes so that every town in Turkey has a resident witnessing community. Also, pray for a reawakening in the worker community after decades of cultivating the soil and planting in a spiritual drought. “Do not grow weary in well doing…” (Galatians 6:9).

10 Language – Language in Turkey can be complicated. Devout Muslim Turks speak a religious Turkish and secular Turks speak a secular Turkish. Also, many of the minority groups in Turkey speak other languages in the home. To reach these groups different language is needed. Pray for workers (of any ethnicity) for each of these language groups to be raised up and find effective means without causing division.

11 Bible Translators – There are a number of Bible translations available. Currently an Old Testament is being worked on in an easy to read format that uses more religious language. Pray for the translators to have discernment and wisdom as they make difficult decisions about words and phrases. May many more people be exposed to the gospel through new translations. Pray for audio versions to be made available as well.

12 Lies about the Bible – A lie that is common among most Turks is that the Bible has been changed. They hold to this in spite of facts to the contrary and even Quranic verses that show that God’s word can’t be changed. Pray that this lie would be exposed as a lie and that it would be unacceptable to voice it. Pray that this would lead to many Turks reading the Bible to see what it does say since it is true.

13 Discontent – For people to change they must be discontentment with their current situation. Pray that discontent would multiply on a mass scale and people would be start searching for The Treasure that brings true contentment.

14 Marriages and Families– It is rare to run across a Turkish couple that is happily married. Pray that they would be desperate enough to look to the Bible to find answers from the God who created marriage. Also, pray that the abuse in all its forms would be exposed and stopped.

15 Turkish Pauls – Pray that God would “knock” a Turkish Saul off their “horse” and make a Paul out of them. Saul was from Tarsus in southern Turkey and spent much of his ministry in current-day Turkey. May God raise up another Paul for today.

16 The Turkish Church – Many believers are persecuted and churches are vandalized. Pray that the believers would love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them. Pray also for the churches to catch a vision for the whole country and have grow in faith that God can start a movement among the Turks.

17 Turkish Believers’ Children – Pray that the children of believers would follow their parents into faith in Jesus. Many Turkish believing children struggle at schools with forced Muslim religious education. Pray for them to stand strong and to find Jesus close to them during these times. Pray that this next generation would catch a vision for all of the Turkish people. May they enter every sphere of life and make a difference. Pray also for their protection and perseverance in the midst of persecutions.

18 Work for Believers – Pray that all Turkish believers are able to work in their profession. Unemployment is a problem in Turkey and many believers are ostracized due to their faith. Pray that they are able to find work and may Christians gain a reputation for being faithful, hard working employees.

19 Work Permits – Many expats want to work in Turkey but find it very difficult to get a work permit. Pray for favor for those seeking work permits. May they find jobs that allow them access to many people so as to live out their love for God and neighbor in the workplace in Turkey.

20 Internet Sites/BCC/TV/Radio – Pray for these media tools to be used effectively to reach people who may not otherwise meet a believer. May many Turks find these outlets and be drawn to the message. May every single person be followed up and have their questions answered. May many groups studying the Bible be started through these means.

21 Dreams & Visions – May many Turks see Jesus in dreams and visions and seek out how to know Him. May they recognize Him for who He is and may they be compelled to share their dreams with others.

22 Miracles, Signs, & Wonders – Research shows that the miracles play a significant role in people coming to know Jesus personally. Seeing that He has real power is an important step. Pray for God’s Spirit to move miraculously.

23 University Students – This is a time when people are often away from home and more open to figuring out what they really believe. May many university students find the real Treasure during these years.

24 Refugees – More than two million refugees from Iran, Syria, Iraq and other countries have flooded into Turkey in the last few years. Many of them are stuck in camps and have lost everything. Many are trying to help but it is still uncoordinated and the wheel is being re-invented over and over again. Efforts are happening to change this. At the same time many refugees are open to the Good News of Jesus who understands their suffering. Pray that they would be served in such a way that their physical, emotional, psychological, educational, and spiritual needs are met. Pray also for the Turkish/Kurdish church as they publicly love the almost two million refugees from Syria and Iraq. “That they may see your good deeds and praise your father who is in heaven.”

25 Iranians – Many cities in Turkey have large Iranian refugee communities. These cities often have two or more Iranian churches as well. Pray that these Iranians continue to grow in the Lord while they wait for acceptance to go to other countries. May they reach out to their neighbors while they are in Turkey. Pray also for the pastors of these churches who are often overwhelmed with the needs. May God raise up people to come alongside them in this work.

26 Syrians (Arabs) – Pray for the displaced Syrian Arabs in Turkey. Pray for the women and children many of whom are widowed and orphaned/fatherless. God loves these people. May they know it. Pray for compassion and help so they can get the services they need to survive and eventually get to a place of flourishing. There are reports that some have come to faith. Pray for those few who are engaging with them and for a wide-scale movement of God among them.

27 Yezidis – Pray for the Yezidi refugees who have felt especially vulnerable since their religious identity is different from everyone around them. They have received loving help from Christians which has opened them to Jesus and His love. Pray that Jesus would meet them in their need and give them His peace that is available in the midst of any storm.

28 Syrian & Iraqi Kurdish refugees – Pray for these who have been used as pawns for thousands of years. May they find salvation in every way during this dire season of life.

29 Armenians – There is a long standing conflict between Armenia and Turkey based on tragic events surrounding WWI. (Read the Wikipedia article on Armenian Genocide for details). Pray that the Armenian Christians would take the lead in living like Jesus- may they forgive and love their enemies and take the lead in seeking reconciliation rather than revenge and may they repent where it is needed. May peace reign between these two peoples like it did for centuries before 1900. Also, pray for the many Turkish pastors who are working on reconciling with Armenians – may many more Turkish Christians be humbled enough to continue to repent for their people and leaders!

30 Cyprus/Greece – This is also a hot button issue in this region (for background click here). As with the Armenians may Greece take the lead in reconciliation so that these neighbors can live in peace. May those who call themselves Christians live like Jesus who prayed for forgiveness even for those who killed Him.

Ramadan Prayer Movement for Turkey seeks 1,000,000 Intercessors

Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, is just ten days away (June 17-July 17, 2015), and Christian workers in Turkey are seeking to mobilize 1,000,000 followers of Jesus to pray at least once, and preferably daily, for the Muslims in Turkey.

This blog, ramadanmillion, outlines their vision and passion for Turkey and will provide suggestions for prayer.  Click here to show your support and participation in this Prayer Movement for Turkey.