Millions of Muslims live in Southern Russia. Walk with us through the Caucasus and meet some of the people who live there. Each stop on your journey is a prayer point.
The Circassian • There are 500,000 Circassians in southern Russia. There is also a diaspora of several million Circassian. • Although Circassians speak many different dialects, they see themselves as one people group because they have a strong unifying cultural identity. • Almost all Circassians are Muslim.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to draw increasing numbers of Circassian people to Himself.
Pray that God would call out Circassian men who could lead the emerging church.
Circassian Muslims are a fiercly independent people. • Please pray for the Circassian youth as evangelistic teams share the gospel with them. • Pray that they would not only hear, but also believe. • Pray that they would have a life-changing encounter with the Messiah.
One good way to reach Circassians, and other Central Asian Muslims, is with a Russian-language Bible correspondence course that can introduce Jesus in a non-threatening way. The course begins with Genesis and covers the entire redemption story. • Pray for the success of this project, that it would be well advertised, well received, and well used!
The Tartars • There are about 5.5 million Tatars living in Russia, making them the largest Muslim people group in the region. • Due to forced conversion to Christianity by Ivan the Terrible in 1552, many Tartars still equate baptism to rape and view the cross like a swastika. • Today the Tatars remain 99.99% lost. Only a few hundred Tatars know Jesus as Lord. • Tatars are very slow in coming to Christ and the mountains that separate them from the love of Christ seem too high to climb.
It is said, “If you want something done, give it to a Tatar.” Because of this aggressive attitude, Tatars spread Islam to several other nations, including Kazakstan.
Pray for God to raise up workers for a great Tatar harvest. If you want the Good News to spread, give it to a Tatar.
Lezgis have a great fear of evil. Many women wear safety pins on their shirts to protect them from the evil eye and houses often have thorns and broken tea pots hanging in front of them to ward off spirits that might enter their homes. People have no rest or feeling of assurance because they do not know the great Protector.
Pray that the Lezgi will no longer remain in darkness. “The People who were sitting in darkness saw a great light, and to those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them a light dawned.”—Matthew 4:16
The Chechens On February 23, 1944, Stalin ordered the deportation of the Chechen people from their homeland in southern Russia into Central Asia. The Soviet Army followed his mandate, cramming the people into cattle cars. During the week-long journey the Chechens were not given food or water. Many died during the grueling journey. The bodies were rolled off the trains by guards. Upon arrival in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, they were forced to live in open fields in the winter until they could build homes.
Pray that God will bring healing to a people still struggling with these bitter memories. Only God can bring reconciliation between the Chechens and the Russians and bring a mighty revival to the precious Chechen nation!
The Karachai, Balkar and Nogai The Karachai, Balkar, and Nogai peoples number almost 300,000 Muslims in southern Russia. They are different from almost all the other Muslims in this area because their heart language is related to Turkish. In the post-Soviet era they now have freedom to learn about Islam. Most Karachai and Balkar are hostile to Christianity because they see it as being “Russian.” They were heavily persecuted by Stalin 60 years ago when up to 40% of their people died while being deported. There are few believers among these people groups.
Pray for God to raise up those who would understand these peoples and minister effectively to them. Pray for the Holy Spirit to draw these Muslims to Himself through dreams, visions, miracles, and healings.