Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pray for Iran

Having known an Iranian Christian in Japan, my heart went out to him as I read this post by Joshua Harris:

A few weeks ago our church prayed as a congregation for the nation of Iran. Among the things we prayed about was a bill before Iranian parliament to mandate the death penalty for Muslims convicted of apostasy. Sadly, the bill passed by overwhelming majority in favor of the death penalty. In fact, just two days before the vote two Iranian Christians were charged with apostasy.
Although apostasy is now a capital offense, judges are free to decide what penalty will be given, and the two men await their penalty. Please pray for these men, for other believers in Iran and for the leaders of this nation.
Here is some additional information compiled by my friend Kevin Rogers that will help inform your prayers for this country:
Formerly known as Persia, Iran is the seat of one of the world's oldest major civilizations, and Persian history figures prominently in the pages of the Old Testament. Today, this nation rich with history and culture faces grave circumstances. Human trafficking has been internationally recognized as a significant problem, religious persecution causes thousands of people to emigrate each year, and poverty and unemployment continue to rise. Despite these circumstances, God's unstoppable plan is unfolding in Iran. It is believed that people are responding to the gospel in great number. These converts face great cost as pressure from family, friends, and Islam looms ominously in their lives. By God's grace and in spite of the isolation from the outside world of believers, the young church in Iran thrives.
Still, most of Iran's 65 million people adhere to Shi'a Islam. This month, they will join Muslims around the world in celebrating Ramadan, a time of fasting, prayer and purifying themselves through self-restraint and good deeds.
Please Pray:

• For the Iranians and Muslims here in our community as they celebrate Ramadan, that they would see that only Jesus can purify them and reconcile them to God. • For Muslims in Iran who convert to Christianity as they potentially face significant penalties. Ask that God would protect Muslim-background believers in Iran and that they will stand strong against tremendous pressure to return to Islam.
• For the rapidly growing church in Iran, that God would raise up godly pastors and leaders and that they would be firmly grounded in biblical truth.

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