In an interview on Fox News Wednesday morning, newly freed pastor Andrew Brunson talked about his staggering Turkish prison ordeal and recalled the many things that helped him stay strong in his faith during his two years behind bars.
The pastor explained how he traveled to the dangerous country because “it’s one of the places in the world that has the least Christians.” The motivation, Brunson said, was to share Jesus with as many as possible in the volatile Muslim-majority nation.
“We wanted to tell people about Jesus Christ. That’s what our life has been about,” he added.
As she continued to watch her husband suffer at the hands of the Turkish authorities, Brunson’s wife, Norine, said she repeatedly asked God whether her husband’s ministry was “worth it.” It was something Pastor Brunson himself thought long and hard about while he was behind bars. But his answer was very clear — the cause of Christ is absolutely worth suffering for.
“Is it worth the suffering that we went through? Yes, it is,” he declared.
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But in such a dire and uncertain situation, Brunson knew he had to actively seek God in order to gather the strength required to endure such a long period of uncertainty and imprisonment.
“I just kept talking to God,” he said, adding that he was advised to just “hang on” to his faith by those close to him.
Brunson also explained how one way he coped with the incarceration was through the medium of music. He recalled writing a worship song to help him through the long days in his crowded cell.
“One of the lines is, ‘Jesus, the faithful one who loves me, always good and true,'” the pastor shared.
“These are the things I doubted,” he admitted. “But I declared every day that God loves me, He’s true, He’s faithful, He has not abandoned me.”
When asked whether managed to convert any of his fellow inmates, the pastor’s answer was very telling.
“No,” he said bluntly. “They were all very strong Muslims — they were trying to convert me.”
In an interview with Sean Hannity Tuesday night, Brunson added that “it was very difficult to be the only Christian” among his cellmates.
Norine Brunson explained how she was granted just one hour of access to her husband on a weekly basis. She recalled how she would say to Andrew, “put your hand on the glass,” and then the pair would pray for the duration of time they had together. Through seeking God together, they were rejuvenated to keep going forward and reassured of God’s sovereignty in light of a a very uncertain future.
In his interview with Hannity, the pastor talked openly about the bizarre criminal charges leveled against him by the Turkish authorities, which included plotting to overthrow the Erdogan administration.
“What was surprising is that they told me I was being held for terrorism and for trying to overthrow the government,” he said. “The truth is if we had been preaching Jesus Christ — that’s why we were in Turkey — is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with Turks.”
“We did that openly, and never had a problem,” he added. “It was very shocking to be accused of terrorism.”
Upon his arrival back in the United States over the weekend, the North Carolina native was whisked off to the White House for a meeting with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office. In that meeting, he did something very bold — he got down on his knees and prayed for the president.
“Lord God, I ask that you pour out your Holy Spirit on President Trump,” the pastor declared as Trump bowed his head. “Would you give him supernatural wisdom to accomplish all the plans you have for this country and for him.”
Brunson then asked God to give Trump wisdom on “how to lead this country, and to righteousness.” Surrounded by advisors, reporters and photographers, the packed Oval Office fell silent as the faith-filled pastor continued his bold prayer.
WATCH: Pastor Andrew Brunson, freed from being detained in Turkey after almost two years, prays with President Trump pic.twitter.com/ZpFIL1NbkE
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“I ask that you give him perseverance and endurance and courage to stand for truth. I ask that you protect him from slander, from enemies and those who would undermine. I ask that you make him a great blessing to this country,” Brunson said. “Fill him with your wisdom and strength and perseverance.”
“We bless him,” he concluded. “May he be a great blessing to our country, in Jesus name, Amen.”
“My wife, for at some time, wanted to pray some verses over him from Isaiah,” Brunson said of the powerful time of prayer, adding that the couple simply wanted to ask “for the spirit of God to come upon him.”
“It’s a great privilege, I think many pastors would love to do it,” he said of the special moment. “Our president needs prayer.”