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Pray On: O Lord, hear our prayer

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Psalm 143:1, “Hear my prayer, O Lord; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness.”

(Voice of the Persecuted) There are many praises to God for the situation that Saeed and Naghmeh Abedini find themselves in. So many changes in this global event; today I am led to provide a prayer list for all of you to follow in your prayers for Saeed. Please pray for the following;

1) For Saeed’s immediate release.
2) For the Abedini support, for one another that we may never tire on waiting for the Lord to be glorified.
3) For Saeed’s Health; for medicines to be received.
4) For the pain to cease from his injuries.
5) For Saeed to receive treatment for his injuries.
6) For Saeed’s peace of mind, for his mental regulation and his wellbeing.
7) For Saeed’s safety in prison, that cellmates will not danger him.
8) For prison guards, wisdom and discernment as they oversee Saeed’s ward.
9) Pray for cellmates and guards to come to know Christ .through Saeed’s testimony. For spiritual support.
10) For Naghmeh’s faith in Christ to grow, to remain strong and humble in spirit.
11) For Naghmeh to know when to rest. Her peace of mind, and emotional regulation.
12) For Saeed’s children Rebekkah & Jacob that they will enjoy life and know their dad is safe in Christ.
13) For Saeed’s imprisonment will point to Christ and souls saved around the world, changed hearts.
14) For the Iranian country that many will come to know Christ and their world view will change to Christ.
15) For the unity of Christians, for revival to occur, for our voice to be stronger in Christ for souls to be saved.
16) For President Obama’s voice to be louder and stronger for the release of Saeed.
17) For Secretary of State John Kerry that he will begin to consistently ask for the release of Saeed.
18) For the Iranian Supreme Leader’s heart and mind to be changed and clemency to be given.
19) For the preparation of Saeed’s release when that time arrives that events are in order.
20) For the persecuted church, around the world, that God will provide a hedge of protection around them as they worship and share Christ.

I am confident all of you have been praying (Col 4:2) as we continue let us watch and as each prayer is answered let us praise God and rejoice.

By Dr, Jim Seward – Voice of the Persecuted

Opening Photo Courtesy : bigbirdz

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Have Peace and Pray On

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How many of us lose “hope” after we misplace or not-have–in-possession something dear to us? Such as keys, wallets, assignments, purses, cell phones, computers.  Your heart rate raises, you’re not able to think clearly, your not able to communicate; it is your sensorium process going in over drive.  You have heard of flight, fight, or freeze process?

Jesus Christ experiences something similar. He didn’t lose his keys, he was going to lose his life, for us.  He was experiencing what the medical field now calls a rare occurrence hematohidrosis, it is better explained in Luke 22:44 (ESV),”And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”  Even though Jesus was in agony and blood drops like sweat where exiting his glands, what did He do? He prayed more earnestly.

We may not experience hematohidrosis when we are in distress, but we still feel the absence and the pain, be it momentarily for losing something.  Momentarily, i.e., briefly, quickly, fleeting moment.  There is no linkage to momentarily when you haven’t been with that something or in this case someone for 920 days.  It has been 920 days since Saeed Abedini has been in prison.  Naghmeh hugged Saeed 2 years, 9 months, 1 week, and 5 days ago on June 22, 2012, when he went to Iran to finalize the openings of an orphanage for kiddos in his homeland.

I am confident that Naghmeh is in agony, but what does she continue to do? What Jesus showed us in Luke, she prays earnestly; praying for husband, but also for many of us, her support.  So I challenge all of you to pray on by praying for Naghmeh. Pray specifically for Gods peace that will guard her heart and mind in Jesus.  In Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV), we read, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Jesus Christ taught us how to pray earnestly in times of agony, and the Apostle Paul encouraged us to control our sensorium process by praying with thanksgiving; giving our anxieties to God. What does God give us? Peace.  So pray on for Naghmeh to continue to experience peace, but with that peace emotional regulation, so she can continue to perform her daily living activities of being a mom, and the other expectations she has chosen to carry, such as, a voice for her husband, which has directed her to be share Christ worldwide.  Sharing with the world Jesus and the experience He had which was preceded by the hematohidrosis on the Mount of Olives.

Pray for Naghmeh, pray for each other, to have peace and pray on.

By Dr. Jim Seward

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Patience to PRAY ON (Matthew 26:36-44)

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Praying for the Persecuted Church

 

(Voice of the Persecuted) Patience to PRAY ON Matthew 26:36-44 (ESV) “Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again.”

The above description of Christ with Peter, as well as “the sons of Zebedee”, more than likely James and John, who are called this in Mark 10:35. Went to a secluded place to pray, he prayed steadfastly and asked the disciples to do the same, how Jesus found the three – sleeping. Were they so tired that praying was a task for them? Do you believe the stressors they had were matched to what Jesus was enduring? (Luke 22:44). In love Jesus asked Peter “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” and a second time they were found asleep, but this time he did not say anything he went on to pray more stating the same as he did earlier, “”My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Praying not only in a secluded place, but possibly even feeling alone, knowing his three disciples were asleep, not keeping watch.

As you read this, our friend and brother in Christ, Pastor Saeed Abedini has been in an Iranian prison for over 900 days; that is 2 years and 5 ½ months in a prison. Thousands of us around the world have been praying, daily, sometimes twice a day. Many of us may be like Peter and the sons of Zebedee, with good intent motivated by our spirit, but our flesh gets in the way and we fall short of continuing to pray.

I am writing to encourage all of us to pray for Families of persecuted Christians, one of the seven points of prayer that we’ve prayed during the prayer vigils on September 26th (the date that Saeed was imprisoned). But not only for the families but for the support of those persecuted. Yes, that means for you and those who acknowledge praying for Pastor Saeed and others persecuted. Therefore, we pray another point of prayer for revival in our cities as we gather in unity to pray for the persecuted Christians. That the Lord would use this time to awaken the churches and the Body of Christ in our cities and in our countries. Pray On, do not get weary, pray and watch, and see Gods hand at work.

I encourage you to pray on, to rejuvenate your willingness, your good intent, and your patience for prayer, by stopping what you are doing now to pray specifically for Saeed’s protection, his release, and for his support. And as you pray for Saeed, replace his name with the persecuted church and pray the same for them. Pray for Naghmeh, if we grow weary of praying, keep in mind the emotions which our sister in Christ endures, and the mountain of expectations she must carry. You have heard this before, I will share it now, Galatians 6:9 (ESV) “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Do not get tired of praying, of doing well, in Gods timing we will see, don’t stop until it is complete, be watchful as Jesus told Peter. For what reason? So that we may not fall into temptation. There is a direct correlation of praying (talking to God) and temptations; if we are not praying, growing in God, what are we doing? Being stagnate in our faith? Opening doors for temptations.

Allow the following three bible verses to be a source of encouragement; strength to your personal walk and a prayer source towards all of us. Pray as you are led but use the content following the specific verses if you’d like:

• Psalm 27:14 (ESV), “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!”

a. Lord, help me to be strong, to wait for you to watch and take courage in all of what is happening. I pray for my brothers and sisters for them to do the same, that we will not lose courage in you, we can be strong for one another. We ask you to remind those who are persecuted to remain strong and encouraged by the words in this verse, “Wait for the Lord” it is your timing, your will be done, not ours.”

• Philippians 4:6 (ESV), “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

a. Lord, I worry for the littlest things, I ask that your words in Philippians 4:6 penetrate my heart that I am freed from worrying, and thoughts of concern, of anxiousness arise in me that I can pray and begin to thank you for the source.

• Roman 8:25 (ESV), “But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”

a. Lord, we hope for so many things in you, you are our living hope. Grow our patience as we wait for your coming, provide the patience in us to show the world, You. I pray for our brothers and sisters who are persecuted that their hearts are revived in You, the living hope (1 Peter 1:3; 1 Timothy 4:10).

In closing I encourage all of us to pray, as it states in Isaiah 40:31 (ESV), “but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Let us wait, renew so that we are not weary and faint. Pray for one another, pray for the persecuted Church and pray for our brother Saeed and his family. With the hope of Christ as our motivation and the power of prayer that we have seen and heard of as our encouragement and the Word of God shared and known to all of us, allow your hearts to wait, watch, and Pray On.

by Dr. Jim Seward

Voice of the Persecuted

Steadfast in Prayer #PrayOn

PRAY FOR THE PERSECUTED

PRAY FOR THE PERSECUTED

One month ago thousands to millions of people across the globe gathered to pray for our Brother Pastor Saeed Abedini’s release. Today Saeed has been imprisoned for 2 years and 1 month, this article is a reminder to continue to pray for his release.

If you look back to the 7 points of prayer of the vigil the first prayer request is for Saeed’s immediate release. As Colossians 4:2 (ESV) urges us to “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” I humbly request that you continue to pray for Saeed and for his immediate release.
Recently, on October 24, 2013 an article was written encouraging us to pray for a minimum of 2 minutes a day for the immediate release (http://freeallthree.com/2014/10/24/thirty-days-to-november-24-deadline-for-p51-iran-to-reach-final-nuke-deal-can-you-pray2minutes/). This is one worthy of being read.
Encouraging 2 minute prayer, one that might look like this;

“Dear God, thank you for allowing me to pray for my brother Saeed Abedini, and the persecuted church. You encourage us in Matthew 21:22 (ESV) “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith. “to ask in faith as well as in James 1:6 (ESV), “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” without doubt I ask with faith for Saeed’s release and the many other refugees and believers in Christ that you know.

I thank you God for the growth in my faith through the persecuted trials, thank you that I can pray earnestly night and day for our brother and sisters in Christ who suffer, through this fill what is lacking in my faith. You tell us in 1 Thessalonians 3:10 (ESV), “ as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?”, show me where I can grow, challenge me and comfort me in times of growth. I love you God and thank you for your son Jesus who died and rose for my salvation.

I ask that in my life I can be a testimony for you, that those in persecution will be an encouraging factor in my life to share Christ with boldness. As Apostle Paul has done in Phillipi may I have the same boldness in my household, town, and beyond? I am reminded of that boldness in 1 Thessalonians 2:2 (ESV), “But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict.” As Paul has done and my persecuted brothers in Christ have done. Prepare me for the persecution in my life, your Word tells us in 2 Timothy 3:12 (ESV) “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” All who desire to live godly lives in your son will be persecuted, let my life reflect you, I welcome the persecution and count it joy when these trials come, as you say in James 1:2 (ESV), “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,”

I pray this in your precious Son’s name: Jesus Christ, may I glorify Him in everything, Amen.”

Setting an online timer, the prayer above is a little over 2 minutes. I encourage you to pray that daily. I also encourage you to add to it, as the Lord leads you, add to it.

https://voiceofthepersecuted.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/idop14-the-international-day-of-prayer-for-the-persecuted-how-to-participate/

Mark your calendar -IDOP14 Participate and PRAY with us for the Persecuted Church!  Click to enlarge

Mark your calendar -IDOP14 Participate and PRAY with us for the Persecuted Church!
Click to enlarge

The shared attachment is an opportunity for you to participate in a worldwide prayer meeting. This year, Voice of the Persecuted is uniting together in prayer with other organizations and in promoting the International Day of Prayer, or IDOP, among Christians in the U.S and around the world. In the spirit of oneness that Christ commanded: For, if one suffers, we all suffer (Hebrews 13:3).

I challenge all of you, as it is written in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (ESV), to “pray without ceasing,” Join me and thousands around the world on Sunday November 2nd between 8a and 8p and again on Sunday November 9th between 8a to 8p to do one thing and that is PRAY ON.

by Dr. Jim Seward

Pray ON! Call to Prayer for the Persecuted Church

 

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(VOP) I was introduced to Naghmeh Abedini, on a cold December 2012 morning, while getting ready, I turned the television on to find a woman speaking of her husband who was imprisoned in Iran, for nothing more than being a Christian.  I stopped everything and watched more.  Naghmeh, whom I learned was his wife, shared that Saeed was in Iran to start an orphanage and how the Iranian Guards forcibly took him. It wasn’t until I learned of Rebekka and Jacob, his two children that I thought, there must be something I can do?

As a father of three young children, in similar ages, my heart hurt for Saeed.  Naghmeh shared of the upcoming January 27, 2013 sentencing and how confident she was that he’d be home.  I ran into the living room to find my wife preparing my girls for school, i.e., brushing hair, etc.  I told her of the story I heard and said I was going to start a prayer facebook page to encourage others to pray for Saeed.  The facebook group page “Praying for American Pastor Saeed Abedini” was born.

After inviting all my friends and my wives friends to this page, it began to attract others. It wasn’t until I noticed Naghmeh’s name requesting to be a member when I thought I have a responsibility to encourage this woman and trust others will with this group page.  As I encouraged her, I was being encouraged, I noticed more people submitting encouraging prayers, verses, and thoughts.  Through this facebook group, we assisted in yellow page letters campaigns to the Secretary of State office, we’ve shown support by having yellow within your profile picture. The most memorable was the “Endure for Saeed” 5K that Boise, Idaho hosted.  My wife Amy stated something about it in May 2013, we both said “we should do that?’ 5 months later, in October 2013, we hosted one here in Fort Dodge, Iowa, where Naghmeh came and spoke.

Endure for Saeed 5K was held October 19th at Northfield Church of Christ, Fort Dodge. 160 people endured the 40 degree weather, the drizzle, and the 15 mph winds for Imprisoned American Pastor Saeed Abedini.  Naghmeh Abedini, wife of Saeed, was there to share his story: on September 26, 2012, Saeed, an Iranian born American citizen, was jailed in Iran and thrown into one of the worst prisons in the world – Evin Prison – simply because of his Christian faith.  Saeed has been beaten, tortured, and put under great psychological and emotional pressure. Pastor Saeed has stood strong in his faith in Jesus Christ and has become for many the face of the persecuted church around the world and a symbol for religious freedom and human rights.  This message was presented by a woman who has received peace from God. 160 people from Fort Dodge and surrounding communities and as far as Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa and Overland Park, Kansas came to support, love, and encourage Naghmeh.

It was an exciting time to meet and hear the woman I have been praying for. My whole family prays for Saeed, and we still do. We circle up in the morning to “pray in” and always close with Saeed’s immediate release and safety.  It was this visit from Naghmeh to see and hear her passion and love for the persecuted church, it was an awakening for me.  They were brothers and sisters in Christ who for their faith had to find refuge in other lands.  So I prayed steadily for Saeed and the persecuted church.

I admire Naghmeh, I respect her, and love that she is Saeed’s voice.  I truly believe God is using her as the face to the religious freedom in the United States.  I enjoy what Dr. Charles Stanley has said,

God isn’t looking for impressive people; He wants willing ones who will bow the knee in humble submission.   Being weak and ordinary doesn’t make you useless. Rather, it positions you for a demonstration of divine power in your life. He takes insignificant ones and delights in making them great.

If you’d ask Naghmeh, she’d tell you that she was not “impressive” but meek, quiet, humble.  Not a fan of public speaking, enjoyed being supportive, but now God is using her.  He has allowed her to speak to 196 nations about Jesus Christ, while sharing Saeed’s story.  Therefore I add her to the praying points.  I am confident she’d probably not want the attention, as humble and grace filled as she is.  Even in the midst of concerns, there are many praises to God for the situation that Saeed and Naghmeh Abedini find themselves in.  Psalm 143:1 (ESV), reads “Hear my prayer, O Lord; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness.”  Although there has been many changes in Saeed’s situation, one thing I know that is constant, our prayers.  I’ve taken the privilege to extend seven prayer points that was prayed at vigils across 500 cities and 35 countries adding detail to them for guidance in praying for Saeed and the persecuted church. Please pray for the following;

  1. For Saeed’s immediate release.
  2. For the Abedini support, for one another that we may never tire on waiting for the Lord to be glorified.
  3. For Saeed’s Health; for medicines to be received.
  4. For the pain to cease from his injuries.
  5. For Saeed to receive treatment for his injuries.
  6. For Saeed’s peace of mind, for his mental regulation and his wellbeing.
  7. For Saeed’s safety in prison, that cellmates will not danger him.
  8. For prison guards, wisdom and discernment as they oversee Saeed’s ward.
  9. Pray for cellmates and guards to come to know Christ through Saeed’s testimony. For spiritual support.
  10. For Naghmeh’s faith in Christ to grow, to remain strong and humble in spirit.
  11. For Naghmeh to know when to rest. Her peace of mind, and emotional regulation.
  12. For Saeed’s children, Rebekkah & Jacob that they will enjoy life and know their dad is safe in Christ.
  13. For Saeed’s imprisonment will point to Christ and souls saved around the world, changed hearts.
  14. For the Iranian country that many will come to know Christ and their world view will change to Christ.
  15. For the unity of Christians, for revival to occur, for our voice to be stronger in Christ for souls to be saved.
  16. For President Obama’s voice to be louder and stronger for the release of Saeed.
  17. For Secretary of State John Kerry that he will begin to consistently ask for the release of Saeed.
  18. For the Iranian Supreme Leader’s heart and mind to be changed and clemency to be given.
  19. For the preparation of Saeed’s release when that time arrives that events are in order.
  20. For the persecuted church, around the world, that God will provide a hedge of protection around them as they worship and share Christ.

I am confident all of you have been praying (Col 4:2); as we continue, let us watch and as each prayer is answered let us praise God and rejoice. As detailed as the above requests are for Saeed, I encourage you to continue to pray for the persecuted church in this manner:

  1. That the Lord would give them Grace and strength to endure the abuse and persecution that they may be a shining light for Jesus wherever they are at.
  2. Families of persecuted Christians. That their children would grow strong in their faith in Jesus and not be resentful. That the Lord would give the spouses strength and patience to wait and to be light of Jesus to their communities and to the hurting world.
  3. Revival in our cities as we gather in unity to pray for the persecuted Christians. That the Lord would use this time to awaken the churches and the Body of Christ in our cities and in our countries.

These prayer requests provide a concrete foundation for prayer for Saeed and the persecuted church, as well as for us the church.  To find unity and revival in our hearts, who are we that we should pray earnestly for Saeed and Persecuted Church and not for revival in our hometown.  Encouraged by Naghmeh to share Saeed’s story to share Christ, as strange a concept, it can be done.  Some Christians may have an easier time sharing Saeed’s testimony then Christ’s gospel.  But as you tell Saeed’s story, peppered in it the love he has for God, and the joy he finds in being imprisoned, the gospel is shared.

I pray that as you pray that you will grow in your prayer life and know that in doing so, you will have a better opportunity to resist the devil (James 4:7). The benefit of prayer is drawing closer to God and as you draw close to Him, what does He do? He is drawing closer to you (James 4:8), your relationship with God is strengthening and your love for Him deepens.

Rom 12:12 (ESV), “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

Phl 1:9 (ESV), “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,”

I leave you with this charge: continue to pray, for Saeed, the persecuted church, and for each other that through our experience of prayer our relationship with God grows, and we surrender to His will for our life, that His Kingdom in all that we do is glorified.  Pray on.

by Dr. Jim Seward

Voice of the Persecuted would like to welcome Dr. Seward to the team! His heart breaks for and is called to serve the persecuted Church. For this reason and for the commitment he has shown, we have asked Jim to press forward with us in the mission. He will being joining  VOP by sharing a monthly call to prayer helping us to remember and stay focused in our much needed prayers for our persecuted family. Please keep him in your prayers asking the Lord to lead him, as he embarks in this extremely important part of our mission, the power of prayer.

Lois Kanalos and the VOP team

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