Since September 26, 2012; close to 800 days; 27 months ago, American Pastor Saeed Abedini has been imprisoned. Christmas has come and gone three times, and he’s missed children’s birthdays and other family celebrations. The Boise, Idaho, resident remains imprisoned by the Iranian government on charges related to his Christian faith.
Most recently a letter was shared by Saeed describing his resting place in Rajai Shahr Prison, Iran, as cramped and cold, he states, “My small space beside the window is without glass making most nights unbearable to sleep.” A letter that continues to explain his harsh treatment in one term “cold”, sharing that guards and other inmates are hostile towards him, in unnamed ways, because of his Christianity displayed by a paper cross. Although Saeed expresses loneliness being away from family, he is comforted and secure with not being alone. Through all of his circumstances Saeed continues to love and encourages us to do the same with these words, “We should be able to tolerate the cold, the difficulties and the shame in order to serve God. We should be able to enter into the pain of the cold dark world. Then we are able to give the fiery love of Christ to the cold wintery manger of those who are spiritually dead.”
Allow me to remind you of the fifth point of prayer, out of seven, we prayed for during the prayer vigil;
- The outpouring of the Holy Spirit and Spiritual awakening in Iran. That many Muslims would come to know Jesus in Iran and the Middle East.
My friends, I propose to you that our prayers are being heard and answered. As we recap yesterday’s celebrations with photos of family and friends, our hearts are reminded of Saeed, his third Christmas without family. I am encourage to have compassion (Hebrews 10:34) for Saeed through God to continually pray for his safety and release, but a peace from God is given to know that Saeed is not forgotten, but doing the work of the Lord while in prison. And doing the work that has been laid on his heart long ago when Saeed started Saeed Ministries, Inc. Where its purpose is “to preach the whole Gospel to the whole world.” We find in Saeed Ministries their mission statement which includes,
Penetrate the dark regions of the enemy and win the lost, especially those in the Middle East region, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ through Satellite TV programs, evangelistic events, and being a support to those who are ministering in-country.
As we read in Saeed’s letter, his paper cross that has become such an offense to others is actually a tool used to penetrate the darkness of the enemy in Rajai Shahr Prison. So let us be encouraged and continue to support Saeed in prayer, as he continues to steadfastly represent Christ and be a vessel for the sharing of the Gospel in the Middle East.
I encourage you to continue to pray on, asking God to comfort Saeed (2 Cor. 1:3-4), his family, and support. Asking God to give Saeed immediate peace (Eph. 2:14; Phil 4:7), and that peace/Joy of Christ (1 Chronicles 16:27; Psalm 32:11; Colossians 1:11) be as radiant as the sun in Saeed’s cold and cramped confines. Through this joy, a penetration of God will be so obvious that inmates and guards will see and ask “What must I do to be saved” (Act 16:30) and souls saved. And through this, new missionaries are assigned and the Gospel is spread throughout Iran, the Middle East, (Mark 6:7; Luke 10:1; Matthew 28:19) and Rajai Shahr Prison. Will you pray the same way?
As we pray, pray for your own and others spiritual growth, for your own mission field, we may not be in cramped and crowded confines physically, but we may be spiritually? Pray for each other, for our faith to grow (Hebrews 10:24). Use Saeed’s letter as encouragement, as he wrote, “In the same process, the work of the Holy Spirit is a fiery rain of God’s Holiness and Mercy that flows into our body, soul and spirit and brings the light of Christ into us and through us making this dark, cold, wintry world into radiant burning brightness.” Remember as we draw close to God (James 4:8) God will draw close to us, and grow our faith, as it is written in 1 Corinthians 1:6-7 (ESV), “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” And in Colossians 2:19 (ESV), “and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.”
by Dr. Jim Seward