Being imprisoned for your faith is something that Iranian believers have come to expect, but what happens to your child when you are taken away? One Iranian mother shared with Open Doors how she had prepared her daughter for the day persecution arrived at their door:
“I knew the day would come…the day they would ring my doorbell and take me and my husband to prison. Although everyone around me thought I was a housewife, I was, in fact, involved in full-time ministry. The authorities were bound to find out.
“We started preparing our daughter Lily (not her real name) for persecution when she was still in primary school. ‘When they come and take mum and dad away, don’t worry,’ we told her. ‘The Bible tells us it is normal to be persecuted as believers. They will take us to prison, ask us some questions, and hit us. Then we will come back.’”
“It was an early winter’s morning when the authorities came to our house. Lily was 12 at the time and had already left for school. They rang the bell and came to our apartment. They started searching everything. Then they ordered my husband and me to come with them.
“While we were being taken to prison, I knew what Lily would do when she was picked up from school by my sister—she would pray for us. And when she was afraid, she would pray more.
“In prison, my husband and I were split up. I was allowed to call Lily four times a week. I was interrogated daily and soon they found my weak point. My little girl. I told them everything they wanted to know about myself, but I refused to give the names of others. ‘Ok,’ they told me, ‘as long as you won’t give names, you can’t call your daughter.’
“I was devastated. Back in my cell, I couldn’t stop crying. I knew that I did the right thing. But how could I live without knowing how my daughter was doing? How could she be comforted without hearing my voice?
“But while I was praying, all of the sudden I felt a warm wind stroking my cheeks. ‘Take it in,’ I heard the Lord saying.
“With every breath of warm air I took, I felt my body being filled with joy. I couldn’t sit anymore, I had to dance for joy and praise God. It lasted all night. All night I was dancing for the Lord, until the next morning I had the strength to put my beloved daughter in the hands of God.
“Not long after, I was released, as was my husband … I was very happy to see my little Lily again. She told me that she had been praying a lot for us. Spending these times in prayer and trusting the Lord in everything was a completely new experience for her.
Looking back, she says that she never grew more in her faith than during that time we were in prison. I put my Lily in the hands of the Lord, and he had taken care of her.”
- Give thanks for the presence and comfort of God that is the testimony of so many believers in prison in Iran. And for the protecting presence that our Heavenly Father places around the families of imprisoned believers.
- Pray that the testimony of God’s faithfulness and love will reach into the hearts of the prison guards and Muslim leaders in Iran and that, even as they seek to persecute believers, they will encounter the living Christ and come to acknowledge Him and His truth and life.
- Pray for believers in Iran, as they daily face prison or worse. Pray for courage each day to walk in faith, for their faith to grow strong roots, and for encouragement and opportunities to meet together without fear.
- Pray for God’s protection and covering over the families of believers, especially those in full time ministry or leadership of churches, who are especially vulnerable to persecution. Pray that these children will know they are wrapped in the presence of God and guarded under the shadow of His wings.
- Pray for a move of the Holy Spirit across Iran, for many to encounter Christ and the truth of His Gospel.
Psalm 91 vs 1 – 4: “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ … He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge;“