History reveals that where there is persecution for believing in Jesus Christ, His Church actually grows the most. Such is the case in Iran. Open Doors ranks Iran as number nine on its World Watch List of countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. Last year it ranked number one on another list: Operation World’s list of fastest growing evangelical churches.
House churches and Internet churches dominate the underground church network. These forms of church allow seekers and believers to interact under a relatively safe veil.
Despite seeming progressive and friendly to the West, Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei made converting from one’s native religion of Islam an illegal activity. A person can be arrested, imprisoned, and/or killed for refusing to recant faith in Jesus. Those caught watching Christian television programming, or talking to Christians on the phone have disappeared and been killed. In 2010, Khamenei issued a warning about the ever-expanding Christian network and dramatically increased persecution for participants.
However, Iranian Christian Believers have not been dissuaded from boldly witnessing about their faith. They speak of their disillusionment with Islam, and the freedom and joy they have found in Christ. Their infectious enthusiasm for their Christian belief has been responsible for fueling the fire of faith in Iran. Reports of visions and dreams have also abounded.
Iran now has 450,000 Christians, though some estimates place the number at more than a million. Even the low estimate is a sharp rise from 1979, when fewer than 500 Christians existed.
PRAY for the protection of Iranian Christian Believers, especially those translating and distributing Scriptures in the Farsi language (The Bible, Psalm 41:2).
PRAY that the more than forty Iranians imprisoned for their Christian faith will be bold and continue to have opportunities to witness (The Bible, Acts 4:29).
PRAY that the Christian revival will continue in Iran (The Bible, Acts 2:47).