Serving Persecuted Christians Worldwide - Five ways you can pray for Iran - Open Doors UK & Ireland
Prayer
19 May 2024

Five ways you can pray for Iran

As tensions rise in the Middle East after recent events, here are five ways you can hold the church in Iran in your prayers. 


God is at work in Iran in so many ways - please pray with our brothers and sisters there as tensions rise across the Middle East

Recent events have once again shone a spotlight on the nation of Iran, and their role in the Middle East. For the beleaguered Christians in Iran, their ever more extremist government presents many challenges. So, as we pray about the situation in the Middle East, here are some ways in which you can pray for the Christian witness in the country. 

Pray for the growth of Christianity among disadvantaged groups 

Christianity has been growing in Iran as Christians have been helping vulnerable groups. Stories have been shared of drug addicts turning to Christianity in a search for peace and a new path for themselves. Some have even formed house churches.  

An Open Doors partner and church leader in a neighbouring country to Iran says, “We’ve been serving among drug addicts and have witnessed how God amazingly transforms their lives and uses them. However, we recently heard that the government has found out about the activities that many Christians do in many cities, serving among addicted groups. 

“Please pray with us that God would protect the believers who preach the gospel in such environments, especially when they gather in the house churches,” our partner adds. “Please pray that God would keep using the weakest ones to show His glory.” 

Pray for the effect of forbidden media 

Christian satellite TV channels and an active presence in social networks — especially Instagram — have given people the opportunity to learn about Jesus. This increase in social media engagement has, in turn, led to an increase in the number of people coming to Christ. Again, the government is extremely concerned about this. They have prohibited the possession of satellite dishes (although many people still own them nevertheless) and the authorities do all they can to stop access to satellite broadcast channels and internet sites which they disapprove of, including Christian media – in particular, Christian sites focusing on evangelisation are blocked. Part of their goal is to slow down the growth of the church.  

Iran has bought state-of-the-art surveillance systems from China and is able to monitor its citizens, including their movements, purchases, tele-communications and online activity. But even a Christian's public and private online presence (including email) while located outside of Iran could lead to the Iranian government’s identification of their faith. 

However, Iranian Christians report that contact with the wider world is nonetheless growing rapidly through such media as satellite TV and Internet, despite all restrictions and monitoring by the government. 

Please pray for the continued effectiveness of this ‘forbidden media’. 

Pray for more freedom for Christians  

In Iran — officially an Islamic republic — the only official religion is Shia Islam. Some Christians are permitted to publicly follow Jesus in very limited ways: they must belong to historical churches, and they are not allowed to worship in Farsi, the national language of Iran. And converts from Islam are certainly not allowed. The punishment for converting Muslims or for converting from Islam can be the death penalty, though this has rarely occurred. At the same time, attendance at mosques is falling – interpreted by many as lessening support for the Iranian regime. 

Pray that the recent waves of protest and the increasing dissatisfaction with the regime will lead to an opening up and a change in the spiritual landscape of the country.  

Pray for Christians in prison 

Many Christians are in prison in Iran.  

Both leaders and ordinary members of Christian convert groups have been arrested, prosecuted and have received long prison sentences for ‘crimes against national security’. 

Simin* attended a house church in Iran, for which she was arrested. In prison, she was even told that she may never see her daughter again.  

She eventually escaped to another country where she and her family had to make a new life. She was helped by Open Doors partners’ training which helps women process the pain of persecution. Through an online ministry, Simin now teaches the Bible to women in Iran and prepares them to lead house churches. 

Praise God that, reportedly, at least nine Christian prisoners serving long prison sentences because of their faith were paroled and released last year. But please remember others who remain in custody. 

Four Iranian Christians were recently arrested in a raid on a house-church gathering. Pray for their safe and expedient release and that they would see God’s hand continue to move in their lives. One of the believers arrested is a refugee from Afghanistan. Pray that that God would bring comfort and peace in unexpected ways to this believer far from home.  

Pray too for your brother Esmaeil Narimanpour, a new convert in Iran. After being forced into ‘re-education’ sessions with an Islamic cleric, he has now been arrested. Pray that he would continue to seek and trust God in these trials. 

Pray for safety, strength and justice for all Christians in Iran’s prisons, and for their families as they wait for their release. 

Pray for peace 

“You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed” (Matthew 24:6). Jesus shared this with His followers, along with warnings about persecution, before He died.  

Pray for peace in Iran and over Iran. Pray for wise governance, that the Iranian authorities will put the safety of their people above any desire for retaliation or escalated conflict. 

And pray for the peace of Christians in Iran, that they will cling to the promises of Jesus and the hope that they have in Him. Pray too that their peace will overflow into the lives of their families, workplaces and communities, and draw many to the love of God. 

*Name changed for security reasons 


Please pray
 

Heavenly Father, we pray for our brothers and sisters in Iran who risk so much to follow You. We think of those in prison for their faith; would You be with them, right now, showing them Your grace and mercy? We also think of those forced to flee the country; be with them and help them to know they aren't alone. Finally, we pray You would strengthen the courage of the underground church in Iran — thank You for their example, and may they couple wisdom with boldness. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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