Imprisoned U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson, jailed in Turkey since October 7, 2016, has been on my mind all evening. As I sat down to dinner with my husband and then later snuggled my baby girl, my soul felt impressed to pray for my Christian brother. Brunson is married too and has three children. We cannot imagine his suffering.
If you have not heard this news story, Brunson has lived and ministered for 23 years in Izmir, located along Turkey’s Aegean coast. He is the pastor of Resurrection Church in Izmir and an ordained minister of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, as reported by Religion News Service.
Brunson is accused of espionage and aiding terrorists in a failed coup against Turkish President Tayyip Erodgan. If convicted, he faces up to 35 years in prison. However, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has condemned the bogus charges and called for his immediate release.
“USCIRF’s position is clear,” stated USCIRF Chair Dr. Daniel Mark. “Pastor Brunson is an innocent religious leader whose imprisonment for over 18 months on false allegations is an abomination.”
Last month, Brunson’s daughter Jaqueline appealed to the United Nations Human Rights Council on behalf of her father. During her address, Jaqueline read a letter written by her father stating:
Let it be clear, I am in prison not for anything I have done wrong, but because of who I am – a Christian pastor. I desperately miss my wife and children. Yet, I believe this to be true, it is an honor to suffer for Jesus Christ, as many have before me. My deepest thanks to all those around the world who are standing with and praying for me.
U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Samuel Brownback traveled to Turkey this week to show his support for Brunson during his Monday hearing. Though he requested home arrest, Brunson will remain in prison until his next hearing set for May 7, 2018.
Please join me in praying for Pastor Brunson. Let us appeal to our Heavenly Father on his behalf and remember, too, all those who are currently suffering in the name of Jesus Christ around the globe.
Dear Heavenly Father,
We are grateful you are a loving God. You already know the pain and suffering Pastor Andrew Brunson has endured and continues to suffer as he awaites his next hearing. Comfort him and grant continuous peace and confidence knowing you are in control of this situation.
Strenghten our brother to bear his harsh prison environment. Give him sleep, a healthy appetite, and good health during this time.
Ease Brunson’s anxieties and banish feelings of depression and despair.
Lord, also comfort Brunson’s wife and three children right now. Let Brunson’s family not grow restless, weary, or doubtful as they await his release.
May Brunson be a witness for Jesus Christ within the Turkish prison. Let his prison gaurds and fellow inmates come to know who you are through Pastor Brunson’s witness.
Protect him from further false allegations and dishonest testimonies. On May 7, grant wisdom and compassion to his presiding judge. Please bestow justice and Pastor Brunson’s freedom.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.