holding hope for Turkey

For the last few weeks, Turkey has been one of our principle nations in focus for prayer. You can read a bit more about why, and our written prayer for the nation’s peace, security and order here. We’ve been following the news, receiving updates from a contact who lives there and then – just last week – one of our praying community went to the southern coast of the nation on holiday to visit friends who live there.

holding hope for Turkey

On Monday and Tuesday this week, in our prayer rhythms we gave thanks for an absence of attacks during Sunday’s election, a definitive outcome from it and the sense that disorder is being held back despite Turkey still desperately needing our prayers. And then we received this into our inbox from our returning pray-er. It was profoundly helpful for those of us gathering to pray, so we’re sharing it with you too:

‘Having just returned from holiday in Turkey I can’t help but be relieved by the news that a majority government has been secured for the nation. It’s surely an answer to our prayers of recent weeks.

‘As we shopped in Fethiye last Tuesday, the elections were being prepared for and canvassing was being done – there was a strong political prescience in the market place.

Party colours were flying in the street; very similar to any town in the UK in the lead up to an election. But Turkey had postponed the changing of the clocks  for a fortnight to ensure nothing got in the way of everyone voting.

The friends we were visiting were not overly concerned about the outcome only hoping that a majority government or a coalition to be formed. They and many others do not want another season with a strongly religious or dictatorial leader.

The Mediterranean coast line seemed little affected by either the political unrest – compared to reports from other contacts elsewhere in Turkey – or even the refugee crisis.

But when I probed a little deeper I found that households were transporting clothing and supplies to earmarks where they were being distributed to the nearby Greek islands. Concern ran deeply in these communities; compassion was being shown in a way that is similar to those in the UK who have responded to the needs of the refugees in Calais.

Meanwhile we were tourists; swimming sailing and visiting sites of interest. One of these sites was Kayacoy – a deserted town near the beach resort Oludeniz.

At first look it appeared an ancient site abandoned hundreds of years ago. But closer investigation reveals that it was abandoned in the 1920s after the fall of the ottoman empire and the partitioning of Greek and Turkish countries…

A community of thousands of Greeks who had lived in this area all their lives – and for several generations – were ordered to leave. They were forced to march to ports where they were shipped to a country they’d never been to which spoke a language they couldn’t understand. Many thousands died.

This historical experience¬† made me think of man’s inhumanity to man throughout the ages and brought home the truth that there is nothing new happening that hasn’t happened before in different guises through history.

My prayers whilst still focusing on the recent horrors in Syria and IS related situations, and the urgency of Turkey’s situation, continue to come from a place of heart-ache – especially for each unique individual affected, whose story is incredibly personal and ‘new’.

But I also find myself holding onto a firmer, larger perspective, rooted in God’s amazing promises from Isaiah 41:1-5.

And so I have also been praying in response to this place of strength and confidence too – as well as in response to my heart-break and concern for each individual – and I invite you to join me:

Lord,

help us to listen and to be silent as we come into you presence.

Let each of us be bold enough to realise that you will settle this matter as you have settled human crises throughout the ages.

You appoint leaders, form nations, put kings in power and bring them to dust.

You make all these things happen, you are Lord, you are sovereign in all the earth.

Let these nations now see what you have done, let Syria know your majesty, let refugees be comforted, let IS be confounded by your goodness and majesty, let political security develop in Turkey. Let these nations tremble as they come close to you.

I thank you that I can stand firm in the knowledge that you are in charge of human events. We often forget this as we pray for such huge issues. But I thank you for reminding me that you are the creator of all things and in control of all situations even if they seem out of control to us.

Amen to you – Alpha and Omega – keep us strong Lord, keep our hearts soft as we pray for situations beyond our comprehension. And keep our eyes open to see the work of your almighty hand throughout your world.

 

 

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