February 27 - Pray for: Azerbaijan

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God raised up an Azeri Church, even amidst trials! Only 40 known Azeri believers lived in the country in 1991. Now there may possibly be as many as 10,000, with the majority in Baku. Even more ethnic Azeris follow Christ inside of Iran. Some Azeri believers create their own music, literature, poetry, and other indigenous forms of worship. Even so, most Christians in Azerbaijan are primarily of foreign ethnicities (Armenian, Russian, Georgian, others). Pray for good fellowship among all the believers.


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Azerbaijan remains a politically volatile nation. The conflict with Armenia remains unresolved, with both sides manipulating the suffering of many for their own advantage. Regional tensions - involving Russia and its southern republics, Turkey, Georgia, Iran and with NATO - complicate matters further. Azerbaijani military spending is at an all-time high, and no long-term solution to any problem has been found, with most players being intransigent on key issues. Pray for stability and a genuine will to make peace in and around Azerbaijan.

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The Church faces intensifying opposition, even as it grows. Many churches find intimidation, surveillance and obstructionist tactics increasingly common. Despite these, there is relative freedom to share the gospel sensitively - many Azeris are Muslim out of cultural affiliation rather than deliberate choice. Pray that Christian witness to the majority Muslim population may be with humility, wisdom and love.

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Nagorno-Karabakh is an almost entirely Armenian enclave existing as a de facto separate state within Azerbaijan's borders, using Armenian money, licence plates and such. Escalating tensions began in 1987 and culminated in a war in 1990 with Nagorno-Karabakh's declaration of independence. A corridor between the enclave and Armenia exists, across which soldiers from both sides eye each other daily. Pray for:

  • Conflict to be avoided. Many fear an impending reawakening of hostilities as Azeri military spending and its ambitions peak. No one has committed to finding a political solution. Pray for the deliberate choice of all leaders to find a workable and peaceful solution.
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The unreached:

  • Most Azerbaijani towns and villages have never been evangelized.
  • The poor and displaced. Employment opportunities (outside of the fortunate few in the oil industry), clean water supplies and long-term solutions related to the 800,000 displaced are all needs. There are many untapped ways of showing Christian compassion to them.
  • The Caucasus peoples are mostly Muslim and unevangelized. The only exceptions are Georgians and Udi, who are traditionally Orthodox. Pray for the Lezgi, Avar, Tsakhur, Kryz and Buduq peoples, the most populous of these peoples.
  • The Indo-Iranian-speaking minorities of Talysh, Tat and Kurds are unreached.

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Content taken or adapted from Operation World, 7th Edition (2010) and Pray for the World (2015). Both books are published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.