(Middle East Concern) Pray for the upcoming hearing on 18 July for American pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey.

Andrew faces charges related to terrorism and espionage that could result in a 35-year prison sentence. This is the third hearing, following hearings on 16 April and 7 May.

The indictment is based on “evidence” supplied by secret witnesses, accusing Andrew of links to the FETO organization (blamed for an attempted 2016 coup) and to the PKK – a Kurdish insurgent organization. Observers at the court hearings have commented on the fantastical nature of the claims and the miscarriage of justice in keeping Andrew detained. The head judge, however, has so far refused to acquit Andrew or grant him a conditional release.

US senators Jeanne Shaheen and Lindsey Graham visited Andrew Brunson in prison on 29 June and were afterward received by President Erdogan and appealed directly for Andrew’s release. Senator Shaheen has been a vocal member of the Senate, proposing sanctions against Turkey over the detention of Andrew. That the senators were received at short notice, while the president was holding an executive meeting, and the positive atmosphere of the discussions are seen as hopeful signs.

Andrew’s wife, Norine, has said that the summer heat is making prison conditions particularly difficult and that Andrew is having trouble sleeping. On their Facebook page, Norine writes:

He (Andrew) has been calmer recently as is trying to see things through the lenses of demonstrating the value, the worth of Jesus – that those whom He loves and who love Him are willing to suffer for Him. He often prays “Father, cause to burst into flame in me the love you have for Jesus, that I may be a fervent, ardent lover of Him, willing to undergo whatever is asked.”

Please pray that:
a. The judge will order Andrew’s release
b. The lies and false accusations will be very obvious and that Andrew’s innocence of all charges will shine through
c. Andrew will be able to sleep better and know God’s peace and abiding presence
d. Andrew will be able to express forgiveness to those former church members who became his accusers
e. The Lord will have his hand on all the legal and diplomatic efforts on Andrew’s behalf

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