Pray for Our World: Iran

The Islamic Republic of Iran (formerly Persia from the Bible) is a desert region that strategically surrounds the borders of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Iraq, Caspian Sea, and Persian Gulf.  A wealthy country in oil and natural gas, 80% is export earnings and only 20% is private sector.  28% of the young people are unemployed.  The theocratic Islamic Republic was declared in 1979 after the Shah was deposed in the Shi’ite Muslim Revolution.  It is a religious dictatorship.  The courts can impose a death sentence to male apostates, and life in prison for female apostates.

The most amazing thing that has come out of the dictator revolution is that the forced Muslim regime has left many Iranians disillusioned about the religion and more open to the Gospel than ever before.  Massive numbers of Muslims have recently been coming to Jesus.  Never since the 7th century has the Church in Persia grown so fast as post-1979, and even more amazing for a country that imposes the death sentence for doing this.  There have been numerous stories of dreams and visions, signs and wonders, happening in the underground church.  I have heard some of them myself directly from Iranians who have escaped to the U.S.  These people risk everything in search of hope and meaning in life.  One man I spoke with had literally been chased from his home with only the clothes on his back, to escape to Turkey where he could be baptized.  “I never knew that God could be my Father!  My Father!”, he exclaimed with tears of joy and relief in his eyes as he told his story.

Pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to move in this country, to shed a light to the darkness.  Pray for the underground churches and the new Christians.  May the people know the true joy and hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ.  It would be a shame to keep such knowledge from them, when we know and have the truth with us every day.  Do not take it for granted!  Do not keep it hidden.

In Jesus’ Words: I will give you rest (Matthew 11:25-30)

Come to Me, ALL of you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. – Jesus (Matthew 11:28)

This is one of the most powerful and reassuring statements ever said.  No condition required, no sin too great, no burden too big.  Jesus says His yoke is easy.

In 2006 Brian Welch, guitarist for the heavy metal band, Korn, and heavy drug addict, walked away from a $23 million contract in order to follow Jesus – all because of the promise of this verse.  He now has “Matthew 11:28” tattooed on his neck.

Rock-guitarist-gains-peace-joy

“I didn’t know how to get sober. No one could help me. When I went to church that day I was high on meth. Then I ended up seeing if Jesus was real. I said, ‘Heal me, God. You said you would heal me if I seek you with all my heart.’ And he delivered me from everything. He instantly took the drugs away. There’s no man or program that could have cured me. Only God. God told me, ‘I don’t condemn you. I love you’.”

baptism

In April 2013, 246 Iranians crossed the border into a neighboring country so they could be baptized. It was the largest recorded baptism in the area since the fourth century. Living in a place where talking about Christianity can get you killed, one man spoke up, “I’ve heard about Jesus. I love him. I want to know about Christianity.”

Jesus said, “I am gentle. Come to Me.”

Jesus did not come for the perfect and self-righteous, but just the opposite.
He gave His life for the imperfect, the burdened, the lost, the poor, the lonely, the sick, the abused, the desperate, the humble, and all who seek Him.

~ Matthew 11:25-30  For the weary and burdened ~

At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, because this was Your good pleasure. All things have been entrusted to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son desires to reveal Him.”

“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”