I step off a dirty Turkish street and into a perfectly clean apartment. My friend welcomes me with kisses and smiles, but the first thing I do is take off my shoes so that I don’t tread dust into her home. I didn’t bring terlik (house slippers) with me, so my hostess offers me some from her collection kept especially for guests. She ushers me into her salon, only used for guests, and I sit in the appropriate place.

An older teyze (“aunty”) has the most honorable seat, furthest from the door and any drafts. I greet her by kissing her hand and touching it to my head, as a sign of respect. My hostess’ daughter offers me kolonya (sweetscented liquid), pouring it into my cupped hands to wash them.

I’m offered Turkish coffee accompanied by a glass of water and a piece of Turkish delight. Other times the hostess might offer çay (Turkish tea) with sweet or salty biscuits; for special occasions she might invite my whole family to breakfast, a vast spread eaten slowly with plenty of time for talk and endless glasses of çay.

We talk about my friend’s unemployed son and frail mother-in-law; she says that they will be provided for Insha’Allah (“God willing”), but with no confidence that Allah is concerned about these matters. She eagerly accepts my offer to pray in the name of Isa (Jesus) but is surprised that I mean there and then!

WAYS TO PRAY

  • The importance of cleanliness reflects a deep desire to be acceptable to God. Pray for
    Turks to discover the once-for-all cleansing of Jesus’ blood, and our acceptance through Jesus’ righteousness. (John 13:8–10; Hebrews 10:19–22)

  • Recent political and economic instability in Turkey has made people feel insecure and fearful, undermining hospitality. Pray for peace in the nation and wisdom among governing authorities. (1 Timothy 2:2–4)

  • Pray for believers in Turkey as they invite Jesus into people’s everyday lives.