In the past two months alone, Iranian Revolutionary Courts have sentenced 18 people, who had converted from Islam to Christianity, to a combined total of over 23 years in prison for evangelism and forming house churches.
According to Mohabat News, many of those sentenced were arrested in a house church raid in Shahin-Shahr city, Esfahan province, on 20 February 2013. None of them had previous charges against them, but each was sentenced to a year in prison plus a two-year ban on leaving the country.
Iranian authorities feel threatened by the growing number of Muslims becoming Christians. A report published on 1 May 2015 by Mohabat News recorded Ayatollah Jafar Sobhani, an Islamic religious expert, warning Iranians “to be cautious and not let house churches be planted”.
“Enemies of the Islamic revolution and the Islamic regime of Iran,” he said, “are investing money and providing means to make the people … turn their back on Shi’ite Islam”. Mohabat News, however, said that the Ayatollah’s allegations were exaggerated and a tactic “to provoke security authorities and intelligence services into pressuring Christians”.
- Pray for Christians in Iran, where they face ongoing and increasing harassment and persecution.
- Pray for the 18 Christians recently imprisoned for their faith. Pray that they will remain strong in their faith and be a witness to others in prison.
- Pray for the Iranian Church, which has seen unprecedented growth over recent years, to continue to grow, both in numbers coming to know Christ, and is strength and depth of faith.
- Pray that the Iranian Government and Religious leaders will come to see Christianity as good and trustworthy, not as a threat.
Hebrews 13 vs 3: “Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured.”
Source: https://www.barnabasfund.org/news, http://mohabatnews.com