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‘Thousands of buildings collapsed’—Christians in Turkey call for urgent prayer

February 6, 2023 by Global Christian Relief in Asia

Sleeping residents woke to the quakes, which sent tremors across the two countries as thousands of buildings collapsed, quickly trapping people under the rubble. It is the strongest earthquake to strike Turkey in 100 years.

We reached out to our contacts in the northern region of Turkey for reports and asked how we can pray specifically, especially for the church in these regions. In Turkey, that includes many Iranian Christians who have left Iran to seek safety from arrest and imprisonment and now live in Turkey as refugees.

Jonathan*, a prayer partner in the region, tells us: ““We are still learning the full extent of the damage. After another earthquake about an hour ago, there have now been three earthquakes of 7.0 or stronger in Turkey today. At least 10 cities in the southeast region have had buildings collapsing.”

The most urgent prayer need for both countries, Jonathan says, is for strength and wisdom for rescue teams to deliver those who are currently trapped.

“From what I know right now, there is a couple from one of the churches we serve who’s trapped under rubble in the coastal city of Iskenderun; a family Iskenderun who has lost their 7-year-old daughter; and in Elbistan city, where another believer was also trapped. In the same region, a hospital building also collapsed.

“After this, pray for shelter and safety for many thousands who will probably be homeless. Pray for churches in the region to have wisdom for how to provide help to people in need in their own communities, and wisdom for the church nationally as it prepares to coordinate responses. Also, pray for encouragement, peace and pastoral wisdom in churches where families have lost loved ones.”

Wahid*, another one of our prayer partners in Turkey, shares: “Small Christian congregations in those areas suffered losses to their homes and belongings, based on what their pastor told me this morning. Please pray that they may receive the support and the help they need from local authorities since being a non-citizen might sometimes be an obstacle to being able to receive proper help and support.”

“Pray for the protection and comfort of those who have lost loved ones, homes and belongings. Ask that He may bring swift and effective aid to those in need and give strength and courage to those who are helping with the rescue efforts.”

Authorities fear the death toll will continue to climb as rescue teams search through crushed buildings—many of which were already severely damaged by a decade of civil war and bombings.

Father, we come to you now with our hearts breaking over the video footage and photos we’re seeing of this horrific disaster. We pray right now for those trapped under the rubble. We pray you would give the rescuers and first responders insight for where to search, physical endurance and the emotional mettle to persevere. We pray for this family who has lost this young child and ask you to give them—and all others who lost loved ones—your comfort and your peace. We ask that you would give the church in these regions the courage to share your light in these dark hours. Lord, we know we live in a broken world, but that doesn’t make the pain or tears any less. Thank you. We know that you are a good God who loves your people and like your Word shows, inevitably will work things together for the good. We pray in Jesus’ name… amen.

This is a developing story. We will continue to bring updates as we get them.

*representative names used for security reasons

Photo: Civil defense workers and security forces search through the wreckage of collapsed buildings in Hama, Syria, Monday, Feb. 6, 2023. A powerful earthquake has caused significant damage in southeast Turkey and Syria and many casualties are feared. Damage was reported across several Turkish provinces, and rescue teams were being sent from around the country. (AP Photo/Omar Sanadiki)







Pray with us!

  • Pray for Christian refugees living in Turkey. Many are from Iran, Afghanistan and Syria and are already treated badly. Ask God to remove any obstacles that keep these non-citizens from receiving help from authorities.
  • Pray for the believing couples trapped in rubble in Iskenderun and Elbistan, that their rescue would come swiftly.
  • Pray for a family in Iskenderun who are grieving over the loss of their 7-year-old daughter. Ask that God would comfort them as they mourn.
  • Pray for the shelter and safety of thousands who are now homeless because of the quake.
  • Pray for wisdom for area churches as they seek ways to provide relief aid and shelter to those impacted.
  • Pray for pastors as they minister to those who’ve lost loved ones. Give them wisdom and a special grace to help them through the grieving process.