August 26, 2010

Praying for the Persecuted - Iran


Pray that God may open a door to proclaim the Gospel of Christ.

"100 million Christians around the globe are currently suffering persecution for their faith.  Most often persecution takes the form of imprisonment, abuse, and hostilities. In some cases, however, Christians are asked to face more than scorn, prison, or the loss of health—they are asked to face death.
These individuals are the Christian martyrs of our faith. Jesus said in Matthew 10:39 “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” 

During the first century, almost all of Jesus’ disciples suffered martyrdom for his sake.  Peter was crucified upside down, Mark was torn to pieces, and Paul was beheaded. As Christianity spread throughout Europe and the British Isles, countless numbers of Christians were tortured and burned at the stake. And few can forget the moving story of Jim Elliot and four others who ventured into the Ecuadorian jungle, never to return.
This history reminds us of the great price that belief in God may demand and the great impact that such a sacrifice can have. 

But that history has not ended. 

Today there are still many Christians martyrs, those who give their life for their faith.  Every year and on every continent men and women face death because of their belief in Jesus Christ.  They are the Christian martyrs of this century; the fathers, mothers, grandparents, and children who have lost their lives for the sake of the gospel.  Around the world the light of their testimonies continues to shine.  Their impact is immeasurable and their stories should not be forgotten." (from Open Doors USA)

Persecution is real and it continues to plague the nation of Iran.  Of the 71.2 million people who call Iran home, only .35% are Christian.  They live in an Islamic run government, where christians are regularly harassed, abused, and imprisoned.  Read a few accounts of the persecution happening to believers:

  • Ali Golchin, an Iranian Christian, has been held in solitary confinement in Tehran’s Evin prison since he was arrested several months ago.  His wife has been warned to not attend church and told that she will not see Ali until she converts to Islam.
  • Ali Kaboli (51) converted to Christianity as a teenager and has been serving in lay ministry for decades.  Over the years, he has been repeatedly arrested, threatened and interrogated and has faced travel restrictions and an arson attack on his home but has remained undeterred.  On May 2, secret police arrested him in his carpentry workship in Gorgan. With the exception of one brief telephone call, he has been refused contact with any visitors since his arrest. Since his arrest, several of the Christians who attended Bible studies in his home have been questioned by police. Though he has not yet been charged, Kaboli faces the possibility of prosecution for holding "illegal" religious meetings in his home. He could also be charged under Iran's apostasy laws for converting from Islam, even though it took place thirty-three years ago. Kaboli is married with five grown children.(Source: persecutionblog.com) 
  • On July 18, 15 newly converted Christians who were travelling to the north eastern city of Bojnoord to meet and to fellowship with believers were arrested in the city of Mashhad, the capital of Razavi Khorasan. Government security forces reportedly had previous knowledge of this trip and, in a pre-planned and coordinated effort, forced the bus carrying the Christians to be stopped en-route to their destination. The security then boarded the bus and arrested the believers.All 15 detainees were transferred to the Ministry of Information's central detention centre. In the days that followed, they were subjected to harsh and inhumane interrogations. After one week, 13 of the believers were conditionally freed, after they agreed to sign promissory notes and post bails.Two remaining detainees, 48-year-old Reza and 23-year-old Ehsan Behrooz, refused to sign any forms or post bail and thus remained in detention at last report. (Source: Farsi Christian News Network)
Would you please join me this week in praying for the nation of Iran and the Christians who call this country home?

4 comments:

  1. Great post!!
    We all need constant reminders of the cost many have had to pay for their faith in Christ. Most of us have it so easy.
    God bless you and your ministry.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Such an awesome post, Cherie! And yes, I will join you in praying for them! Two of my best friends in high school were from Iran and they still have many family members there. So sad... and scary!

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  3. Thank you for visiting my blog this week. I will add Christian Iranians to my list. It is great that you are doing a study on the persecuted church. We sometimes take for granted that we have it easy compared to others to live out our faith. You may want to visit the Voice of the Martyrs website. They have some excellent information on the persecuted church.

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