By a Sister of Stephen
Christianity flourished in Central Asia centuries ago early on and remained there even throughout the Silk Road era. But today we rarely hear of these nations on the news, much less encounter their cultures first-hand. Therefore, it is difficult to pray for specific countries like Turkmenistan without more specific knowledge:
As we get acclimated for prayer, let’s meditate in His Presence on two Scriptures:
Matthew 24:13-14 “But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
John 15:16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”
In praying through these passages, we’re asking for heaven’s perspective on Turkmenistan and its people. I encourage you to do this waiting in prayer first and only then look at the specific requests.
The Turkmen people live under a stringent dictatorship that cuts them off from much of the world. Many believers here are actually children, since they heard the good news through children’s camps. From there, pray that they share Jesus with their families.
Believers are calling on your prayers this week for an urgent situation. The government has decided to bulldoze a whole village near the capital, confiscating the land of local residents in order to build more government complexes. This would leave the villagers homeless, as well as rob them of their land investments. In addition, a local fellowship meeting in the village would have to relocate and move sensitive items out of the village within the week. In the meantime it could be raided and members arrested.
Prayers for this situation:
–For wisdom for everyone in this disastrous situation, that each believer would make decisions about how to respond through God’s direction. A mistake by one person can easily endanger other believers.
–That leaders will change their minds and rescind this order. Pray that the village’s homes and families will be protected.
–For the church to receive provision of a safe meeting place and storage space.
-For believers’ activities to be protected so they may continue to share the good news, and that others in the village would see God’s power through this situation.
Once we hear where God is at work, we are entrusted with the responsibility to remember our brothers and sisters – connected to us in one Body — before the throne of grace. In addition, we grow in authority in prayer as we press in for specific answers. Just as Matthew 24 speaks to Central Asians, it also reminds us to stand firm in prayer.
Resources that can help:
A valuable resource, Along the Silk Road, was created by the International Mission Board (IMB) to increase understanding of Central Asian peoples. Available both as a published book and interactive website, it provides breadth and depth on the region (including the Caucasus and western China) through poignant photography, video clips, interactive map, and written materials. Travelers along the road share more of region’s history and spiritual dynamics of the people’s lives today. Take some time to explore the site, and/or consider buying the coffee-table-style book.
If you’d like to follow events in Central Asia, a news resource I’d highly recommend is Forum 18. Based in Norway, it focuses on religious repression anywhere in the region. Suppression of both Christians and Muslims is a reality in these nations, and Forum 18 reflects this. It’s a great tool for staying engaged in prayer for Central Asia.