VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

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Persecution Watch: Praying for Iran

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Tuesday, Nov 1st, 2022, in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

Iran: Population 87 Million

  • Islam 99% – Shia Islam -90% to 95%; Sunni Muslims – 4% to 8%
  • Christianity – 0.15%
  • Iran – officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia
  • Iran has numerous ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups – Persians, Azeris, Kurds, Mazandaranis, and Lurs.
  • Judaism has a long history in Iran, dating back to the Achaemenid conquest of Babylonia

Prayer Points

The many promises of the Iranian Revolution proved hollow.

  • Pray people look for new answers with Jesus

Iran’s government has been in an unofficial war with Israel.

  • Pray the country would look at their own problems instead.
  • Pray for the Iranian women, girls, Christians, and all who are protesting Iran’s government.

Iranian authorities surveil and raid the house churches where converts from Islam to Christianity attend. Pastors and church members are often arrested and imprisoned, often on charges of threatening national security or promoting Christianity. Converts may also be cut off from their families.

  • Pray for Christians who have converted from Islam.

There are now at least 10 Christian prisoners of conscience in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison and many more at various prisons throughout the country.

  • Pray for Christians who are imprisoned for their faith
  • Pray for the Iranian regime – Keep Praying that a Great Wave of the Holy Spirit in Iran will Continue Bringing Muslims to Faith in Jesus Christ.
  • Keep Praying that the death curses spoken against America and Israel will be broken and turned to the Blessing of Knowing Life in Jesus Christ.
  • Show yourself in mighty ways – in visions and dreams and in different ways.
  • Comfort – Many protestors have been arrested and their families do not know where they are. Many people are afraid to leave their homes amid the unrest. Many people are so hurt and angry they are consumed by it. Pray they find comfort in Him.
  • Hope – So many people are hurt, angry, and despairing. They desperately need hope. They feel unseen and unheard. But Father, you see all. You hear the cry of every heart.
  • Courage – Strengthen the church to be courageous as they go out to share your love with the hurting. Be with them by your Spirit and protect them as they go on prayer walks, as they hold out your words of hope, as they minister to people practically.
  • Light – We pray the fear of God would enter the hearts of Iran’s leaders: that they would repent and turn to you.
  • Massive numbers have been turning to Christ, and there are an increasing number of ministries reaching out to Iranians – pray they continue!
  • The Iranian diaspora is over 4 million, usually in places easier for missionaries and ministries.  Pray that they hear the Gospel!

We are continuing to lift up these persecuted witnesses to the Lord:

Leah Sharibu prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Pray for her release.

Alice Loksha Ngaddah was kidnapped in February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.

Pastor Wang Yi to be released from Chinese prison.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran for his release and his family as their persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence.

Anita, a Christian convert, had faced a long prison term but was able to escape from Iran. She and her family have finally arrived in their permanent host country where they can express their faith openly. Pray for an easy transition into the new culture. Pray also for her family still waiting for asylum. May they be reunited soon.

The Harvest

“I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18)

Michael Laird, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: (667) 770-1476 

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign-up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

News: Iran Punishes Christians with Harsh Prison Sentences

Sara Ahmadi and Homayoun Zhaveh. (Article 18)

(Morning Star News) – When authorities in Iran summoned a Christian couple in Tehran on Aug. 13, the house-church members supposed it concerned the return of their confiscated belongings.

Instead, Homayoun Zhaveh and his wife Sara Ahmadi were detained in Tehran’s Evin Prison, notorious for its harsh treatment of people deemed political enemies of the state, rights organizations say.

“Friends are concerned about their well-being, especially as Homayoun suffers from advanced Parkinson’s disease,” Christian Solidarity International (CSI) said in an Oct. 6 statement, citing information from Middle East Concern.

CSI and other advocacy and aid organizations recently issued calls for prayer for Zhaveh, 63, and Ahmadi, 44. Middle East Concern (MEC) reported they were first arrested in June 2019 on suspicion of belonging to an “illegal organization,” with Zhaveh spending a month in Evin Prison and Ahmadi held there for 67 days – half the time in solitary confinement.

In November 2020, Ahmadi was sentenced to 11 years in prison for her alleged role in leading a house church, according to MEC, adding that Zhaveh was sentenced to two years for house church membership. The sentences included a two-year ban on membership in any social or political group, a two-year ban on foreign travel and six months of community service.

The convictions were upheld on appeal in December 2020, but Ahmadi’s prison sentence was reduced to eight years, MEC reported. The couple expected to start their prison sentences on June 15, 2021, but upon arrival at Evin Prison in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, they were told they could return home for an indeterminate time.

“On Aug. 13, Homayoun and Sara answered a summons to the prison, expecting to have confiscated property returned,” MEC stated. “Instead, they were both detained. Prayer is requested that their harsh sentences will be reviewed, especially since Homayoun is in poor health, and that they will be acquitted; and that the Iranian authorities will stop the persecution of their citizens for the peaceful expression of their faith.”

Rash of Imprisonments

Also serving time in Evin Prison for his faith is house-church leader Joseph Shahbazian, sentenced to 10 years by Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court on June 7 for “founding and leading an organization that aims to disrupt national security,” according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

Initially arrested on June 30, 2020, following raids on house churches in several cities, Pastor Shahbazian was released on bail on Aug. 22 of that year. An appeals court in Tehran rejected his appeal in August of this year, and on Aug. 30 he began serving his sentence at Evin Prison, USCIRF reported.

As an Iranian-Armenian he was permitted to worship as part of Iran’s historic Armenian Christian community, but he was targeted as a pastor of a church that included Iran converts from Islam, according to Barnabas Fund.

In the Shiite stronghold of Mashad in northeastern Iran, a grandfather with cancer is being held in Vakilabad Prison for converting to Christianity, according to advocacy group Article 18. Gholamreza Keyvanmanesh, in his late 50s, and three other Christians arrested in Neyshabur face charges of “acting against national security through propaganda against the regime” and “insulting the sacred” (blasphemy), Article 18 reported.

“The other three – two women and another man, in their 40s and 50s, whose names cannot be reported – are being held in Neyshabur Prison,” the organization stated.

Members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps warned at least eight other Christians present at the meetings of the four arrested Christians that they will soon be summoned for further questioning, according to Article 18.

“They were also forced to sign commitments to refrain from gathering with other Christians,” Article 18 reported. “Bibles and mobile phones were among the items confiscated from the church members.”

Christianity is among the official minority faiths in Iran, but converts to Christianity are not recognized and are vilified as “enemy groups of a ‘Zionist’ cult,” the group stated.

Converts are banned from attending the churches of Armenian and Assyrian Christians, who are permitted to teach only in their own ethnic tongues and not to seek new members, Article 18 stated.

Hence converts meet at private homes but are frequently raided and charged with belonging to “illegal” groups with “anti-security” purposes, “even though in reality the meetings are no different from church gatherings anywhere else in the world,” Article 18 stated. “In recent years, dozens of Iranian Christians have been handed prison sentences of up to 15 years on such trumped-up charges.”

Iran was ranked 9th on Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

Persecution Watch: Praying for Believers in Iran

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday July 7, 2022, in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch

IRAQ: Population: 42.6 million, Christians 166,000 thousand

Iraq continues to be plagued by conflict, losses of territory to the Islamic State Group which effects the Christian minorities. In 2003, before the US invasion of Iraq, there were an estimated 1.2 million Christians living there. Today, that number is less than 250,000 — an eighty percent drop in less than two decades. If this trend continues, a religious minority that has been in Iraq for centuries will be gone entirely.

Persecution level have remained the same.  This not only includes ISIS’s reign of terror, but day-to-day discrimination against Christians that is causing so many to seek to leave the country.

Also, the Turkish government is using its military actions against the Kurds in Iraq to further its longstanding persecution of Christians. This persecution includes the ongoing discrimination against and harassment of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the remaining Christians of Turkey.  

On March 7th, 2022, just a few hours before the start of March 8th, also known as International Women’s Day, another femicide occurred in the southern Kurdish capital Erbil. 20-year-old Iman Sami Maghdid, also known as Maria, was murdered in cold blood. Several shots ended her life.

The South Kurdish (Iraqi Kurdistan) public began the ceremonies on International Women’s Day with more shocking news, part of a series of cruel murders of women since the beginning of 2022. As if the news of the murder and the perpetrators, who often fled, weren’t bad enough, all sorts of political parties and personalities took this day as an opportunity to announce their supposed commitment to the issue of women’s liberation. Unfortunately, they are nothing more than platitudes, which was made clear by the fact that on the evening of March 8th, a radio interview was aired by what is one of the largest broadcasters, K24, where Maria’s brother and murderer was able to explain the motives of his cold-blooded murder for almost 15 minutes uncensored and without criticism – while he was still on the run.

  • Pray to the Lord that He will give Iraq a stable government that will be able to take control over the radical groups as Islamic State and like groups.
  • Pray to the Lord that the politicians will continue to work for more religious freedom and thwart and block the influence of Islamic hard liners. (Christmas is now an official Holiday)
  • Pray for peace and stability so that displaced Christians can return home. 
  • Pray for unity among churches of all denominations, that all minority Christians will live in peace with each other.
  • Pray to the Lord for special protection for all MBB to be protected from so-called “honor’ killings.
  • Pray to the Lord to comfort believers who feel isolated and help them to connect with other believers for fellowship.
  • Pray for believers to continue to grow in strength and faith and keep their eyes on Jesus. That they know they are not alone, that they are prayed for.
  • Pray for powerful messages on the internet that draw Muslims in and minister to Christians.
  • Pray to the Lord that His believers are bold and courageous to witness to Muslims. 
  • Pray that Christians will remain love to their enemies and forgive them.
  • Pray that pastors and elders will be granted protection and wisdom as they minister to Christians.
  • Pray for the NGOs who bring hope, relief, and spiritual nourishment to the Iraqi Christians.
  • Pray for the Lord that He will do a mighty work in Iraq in multiplying the number of Christians 5, no 10-fold.

We are continuing to lift up these persecuted witnesses to the Lord:

Leah Sharibu prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Pray for her release.

Alice Loksha Ngaddah was kidnapped in February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.

Pastor Wang Yi to be released from Chinese prison.

Anita a Christian convert, facing a long prison term who escaped from Iran and praying to go to a country where she can express her faith openly.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran for his release and his family as their persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence.

The Harvest

“I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18)

Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: (667) 770-1476 (Note: We have a new call-in phone number)

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Persecution Watch: Praying for Believers in Iran

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday, May 12, 2022 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

IRAN: Population: 84.3 million, Christians 800,000

Iran Seeks Regional “Eliminationism” of Christians. Iran is an overlooked source of Christian persecution in the Middle East, according to a senior fellow with The Philos Project. In a recent presentation, Farhad Rezaei discussed the West’s view of Christian persecution that often silos the issue to jihadists, failing to account for Iran’s “strategy of eliminationism” in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon.

In an organized and strategic campaign, Iran seeks to shrink and suffocate the Christian minority communities in the Middle East through discrimination, imprisonment, abduction, and confiscation of property, to name a few. Domestically, Iran has made recent headlines for a “victory” in a case of nine Christians who were acquitted of their crimes of house church membership. However, several of the Christians from the group already face new charges and the vast majority of Iranian Christian converts have little hope for appeal. Intelligence officers at the notorious Evin Prison also recently violated the rights of imprisoned Iranian Christians by refusing to return the confiscated equipment to the interrogation branch.

Regionally, Iranian-backed factions in Iraq and Syria disrupt attempts for peace and restoration, pushing an anti-Christian agenda. Rezaei provided two rationales for Iran’s attempts to smother the region’s Christian population. One is strategic for Iran to expand a land bridge to the Mediterranean, across land that Christian communities currently reside in. The second is ideological and the “new Shi’ism” views that Christians are “pollution”.

The severity of persecution facing Christians in Iran remains largely unchanged. Sadly, things may get worse following changes to the country’s penal code, which further strangles religious freedom. Under the amendments, teaching the Bible or telling others about the Christian faith—which contradicts the teaching of Islam—could result in prosecution, as could the claim that Christians can communicate with Jesus, whom Islamic teaching regards as a prophet. Christians could also be accused of “insults … with the intent to cause violence or tensions.” This vague wording is open to interpretation, making Christians more vulnerable to unjust accusations.

Several Iranian Christian converts face persecution at the hands of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence. Fariba Dalir, age 51, began her two-year prison sentence at Evin Prison on April 16. Rahmat Rostamipour, age 49, remains imprisoned after being interrogated and arrested at his home on April 18. Rostamipour’s wife Azar was originally to be arrested as well but was summed later due to a panic attack their teenage daughter suffered during the raid. Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) agents arrested Dalir alongside five other converts in July 2021, including her fiancé Soroush. Guards held her in solitary confinement for 38 days and later released her on November 18, 2021 after posting bail of about $22,000 USD.  

Rahmat’s home in Anzali was raided by a dozen plainclothesmen in the early morning. IRGC agents confiscated Bibles, phones, ID cards, books, and the children’s school tablets. Authorities intended to arrest his wife as well but allowed her to stay due to their daughter’s trauma. Azar was summoned on April 19 for hours of interrogation, during which she was informally accused of “propaganda against the regime through involvement in house-church activities”.

  • Pray that President Raisi will honor the rights and contributions of Iran’s religious minorities.
  • Pray that God will change the hearts of religious leaders of Iran to recognize Jesus as their Lord.
  • Pray that God will open the eyes of the authorities to see that Christians aren’t a threat to Iran but a valuable part of Iranian society. Ask Him to change the hearts of those in charge, that they may even see the hope of Jesus.
  • Pray house churches will continue to powerfully equip believers for serving Jesus, and that God will keep them safe from raids and from harm.
  • Pray for believers who are in prison because of their faith that God will give them hope and peace.
  • Pray for the Christians to be protected and given wisdom in covert ministry work.
  • Pray that the believers keep their eyes on Jesus and remain joyful amid suffering.
  • Pray that the believers can love and forgive their persecutors.
  • Pray that the internet will be a spiritual resource for all Christians and also have messages that minister to Muslims.
  • Pray for believers that God will open doors to evangelism so that they can boldly share the Gospels.
  • Pray to the Lord that the NGO’s will continue to support Christians, both spiritually, trauma counseling and daily needs.
  • Pray to Jesus that He will continue to give an increase to the number of believers, encourage the leaders that the church will experience amazing growth.

Again, we want to lift up these persecuted witnesses to the Lord: 

  • Leah Sharibu, prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Pray for her release.
  • Alice Loksha Ngaddah, kidnapped February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.
  • Pray for Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
  • Pray for Anita, a Christian convert facing a long prison term who escaped from Iran and praying to go to a country where she can express her faith openly.
  • For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their Persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence.

Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: (667) 770-1476 (Note: We have a new call-in phone number)

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Persecution Watch: Praying for the Persecuted Church

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Tuesday, March 8, 2022 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

Dear Prayer Warriors for it is written, 

 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

” Strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. Acts 14:22

 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” 1 Peter 4:12-14

Based on the linked reports below, we will also pray for Believers in Uganda and Nigeria.

New Christian Seriously Injured after Church Service in Uganda

Islamic Terrorists Kill Three Christians in Chibok, Nigeria

We have a prayer request 

A wife and her husband are former Muslims, now Christians in Egypt. Her husband as sharing about Christ on Facebook and was arrested. As of this writing, he has been in jail for 3 months. He is being tortured by the authorities and the prisoners. She is pregnant with their first child and is due any day. She has no money, so our co-worker took her to a local hospital and prepaid for her maternity and delivery.

  • Please pray for her during this stressful time and please pray that her husband will be released soon.

We will also continue to lift up these persecuted witnesses to the Lord: 

  • Leah Sharibu, prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Pray for her release.
  • Alice Loksha Ngaddah, kidnapped February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.
  • Pray for Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
  • Pray for Anita, a Christian convert facing a long prison term who escaped from Iran and praying to go to a country where she can express her faith openly.
  • For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their Persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence.

The Harvest

“I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18)

The Lord’s servant

Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Conference Call Leader

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday (Nightly as the Lord leads us to pray for Ukraine)

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: (667) 770-1476 (Note: We have a new call-in phone number)

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Persecution Watch: Iranian Christians released from Prison / Suicide spikes in Japan

Evin Prison, Iran

12/12/2020 (Voice of the Persecuted) “15 Through Him then, let’s continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips praising His name. 16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:15-16

Two Iranian Christians acquitted after imprisonment

Iran (MNN) — Two Iranian Christians have seen their prison sentences (a combined 10 years) overturned in the courts. Both were arrested during a raid of a house church in Tehran in 2018. Authorities charged them with “acting against national security.”

Iran has recently been condemned by the United Nations for human rights violations, a report the country has rejected. This mostly related to allegations of abuse during the November protests last year.

Daniel Hoffman of Middle East Concern says it’s hard to know why these two sentences were overturned, while many other Iranian Christians continue to languish in prison. “It’s always difficult to know exactly why certain governments do certain things. Of course, Iran has been called out over human rights abuses for quite a long time now. So it’s difficult to know what exactly was the reason why this happened. But we know from the past that the Iranian government is concerned about its image in the international community.”

Christians still in prison — The two Christians stated they loved their country and were simply gathering for a legal house church meeting. Still many Christians using the same arguments in court have not seen their sentences overturned.

Hoffman says the release brings welcome news, but we must continue to pray for Iranian Christians still in prison. “Sometimes they are mistreated by either their captors or by other prisoners. And of course, there is still very much the issue of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well, which has spread through some of the prisons in Iran. So prayer for their physical well-being and protection is definitely appreciated. And of course, we can pray for justice to be done in their situation and for them to be released and reunited with their loved ones.”

Pray these prisoners will know they are not forgotten, and that Jesus will comfort them.

And rejoice over these two prisoners that have been released. Pray they would continue bearing witness to the love and peace of Jesus.

Dear Prayer Warriors, let us praise the Lord!

” 1 Praise the Lord!
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His mercy is everlasting.

2 Who can speak of the mighty deeds of the Lord,
Or can proclaim all His praise?” Psalm 106:1-2

“Let love of the brothers and sisters continue.” Hebrews 13:1

Suicide killing more people in Japan than COVID-19

(MNN) — While other countries battle rising COVID-19 cases, Japan is seeing a different kind of spike – suicides.

More people in Japan have died by suicide in 2020 than from COVID-19. In fact, their suicide numbers in October alone outnumbered the nation’s total COVID-19 deaths in the first 11 months of the year.

One of the reasons for the rise in suicides is because Japan has a very group-oriented culture. Belonging to a group – whether it’s a family, a workplace, or some kind of community – and functioning within that group is incredibly important.

Pandemic shutdowns and solitary quarantines can cut individuals off from their group identity. As a result, many Japanese people are dealing with severe depression and anxiety.

Takeshi Takazawa with Asian Access says even online tools like social media and Zoom aren’t the same. “I’m talking with you now even though we’re miles apart, but this is a little bit different from face-to-face group talking [and] processing, and that is challenging for us and especially younger people who need heavy connection.”

Many single young people in Japan travel to Tokyo to work. Throughout the year, they make frequent visits to their families back home, but the pandemic has changed that too.

Takazawa says, “They’re told by their homeland family, ‘Please don’t come back. Don’t bring the pandemic. It’ll be bad. Grandma and Grandpa need to be protected so don’t come back.’”

It’s also hard for college students. “Many of the freshmen, they never went to campus. They never met anybody even though they entered school. Then all they see is a screen… They join a club or team but they practice separately.”

What Japan needs is hope – the kind found in Jesus. According to The Joshua Project, 97 percent of the Japanese population is unreached with the Gospel.

Pray for the people of Japan to find their hope and belonging in Christ alone.

We will also continue to pray for:
· Leah Sharibu and Alice that they will be set free from Boko Haram captivity

On Jul 08, 2020 · Leah Sharibu was kidnapped along with 109 other students on February 19, 2018 when Boko Haram attacked a boarding school in the city of Dapchi, Maiduguri Diocese, in north-eastern Nigeria. A month later, some of the girls died in captivity and all the others were released, except Leah.

· Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison, for his family, the children, and the church in China

On December 28 the police raided the Early Rain Church and arrested Pastor Wang Yi, his wife Jiang Rong, and ten elders of the well-known 750-member church for holding “illegal” services. Some 100 believers were detained, questioned, and later released. Pastor Wang’s wife was also released. Pastor Wang remained in detention.

· For Anita, an Iranian Christian, persecuted by the Islamic regime.
· For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their Persecution continues

Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence, recently reduced from ten years.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani converted to Christianity at the age of 19 and leads a 400-member house church in Rasht, Iran. Since 2006, Iranian authorities have consistently harassed and detained Pastor Nadarkhani and his family. In 2010, the authorities sentenced him to death for apostasy before acquitting him in 2012. Pastor Nadarkhani was tried again in 2017 on false charges of “acting against national security” and promoting “Zionist Christianity,” for which he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. By July 2018, plainclothes agents raided Pastor Nadarkhani’s home to execute the sentence, beating and apprehending him and using a taser gun on one of his sons. He is now incarcerated at the notorious Evin prison near Tehran.

· For the harvest

“2 And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Luke 10:2

In the love of Christ,

Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

Time:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: 712 775-7035

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God.

The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own.

With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer.

Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you.

If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Separating a child from its parents Human rights violation in the courts of the Islamic Republic

The sentence was issued to a Christian couple converts who had taken care of a child from the age of 10 weeks. Because the child was born a Muslim, the Christian family could not take care of him.

(Mohabat News) – In an unprecedented case, a two-year-old adopted by a Christian couple was separated from his family by the ruling of the Bushehr Revolutionary Court!

The verdict issued for “Maryam Fallahi” and “Sam Khosravi”, a Christian couple who have taken care of a child from the age of 10 weeks, states that due to the child being born a Muslim, the Christian family cannot take care of him.
According to “Article 18” organization, the final verdict in this case was issued on Wednesday, September 23, 2020.

The verdict was upheld after a Bushehr family court judge ruled on July 19 that there was a “strong emotional connection” between the child and the Christian couple, Maryam Fallahi and Sam Khosravi. The orphanage has an “unknown future” ahead for him, and the chances of another family adopting Lydia due to her illness are “zero.”
The two-year-old suffers from heart and gastrointestinal diseases, and Welfare did not notify the Christian couple of Lydia’s condition, the report said. However, they are making every effort to improve the child’s condition without any objection. The Welfare and Forensic Medicine Supervisors have also confirmed that Maryam Fallahi, a nurse at Bushehr Heart Hospital for many years, and her husband provided the best care for the child during her care.

“The judge’s ruling to separate Lydia from the Christian couple is completely contrary to the fatwas issued by Makarem Shirazi and Yousef Sanei, two Shiite religious leaders,” their lawyer said. Nasser Makarem Shirazi, in response to the explanation and question of the lawyer of the case, had issued a fatwa that due to “necessity”, the child can stay in this family. Sanei also issued a fatwa stating that “his guardianship does not have any legal problems for couples, and that being a non-Muslim does not prevent them, and choosing a religion for the child should be done after puberty. The issuance of this sentence is not only contrary to international law, but also to Iranian law.”

The lawyer added, “Article 3 of the Law on the Protection of Unaccompanied and Malnourished Children and Adolescents states that all Iranian nationals residing in Iran can adopt children, and does not specify any religious affiliation. They are Iranians and the religion of Christianity is recognized in the system of the Islamic Republic of Iran. According to paragraph T of Article 6, the transfer of a child to religions accepted in the constitution is permitted.”

Maryam Fallahi and Sam Khosravi are among the seven Christian converts who were arrested by Bushehr security agents on July 1, 2019 and tried in the Bushehr Revolutionary Court.

Sam Khosravi was given one year imprisonment and two years ban to stay in Bushehr and Maryam Fallahi to 80 million Rials ($320) fine and permanent dismissal from government services

It should be noted that despite the fact that Christians are legally recognized as a religious minority, the security services are still pursuing the issue of Muslims converting to Christianity with particular sensitivity and are dealing harshly with activists in this field. Separating a child from its parents is the latest human rights violation in the courts of the Islamic Republic. “Adopted child” is just a legal term, and it is a crime to separate a two-year-old child who loves his [or] her legal parents.

The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on September 24 added a number of judges from the Islamic Republic’s judiciary, three prisons, and one Revolutionary Court to the list of sanctions.

“Revolutionary Court judges do not administer justice fairly, but instead seek to deprive the Iranian people of justice, as well as human rights and fundamental freedoms. The United States will continue to stand with the Iranian people,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. He called on the regime to treat them with the respect and dignity they deserve.

“The United States is exposing the true nature of the Iranian revolutionary courts and their judges as tools designed to carry out the Iranian regime’s brutal ideology and suppress dissent,” he said.

IRAN – A nation in urgent need of our prayers

(Voice of the Persecuted) Dear brothers and sisters, please take a moment to watch the video below and pray for Iranian Christians, those being persecuted. the nation and leaders of Iran.

SUMMARY

Known as Persia until 1935, today’s Islamic Republic of Iran is predominately Muslim (98%), mostly Shi’ite. With its proximity to Arabic speaking countries, it is often perceived to be Arabic, but Iran is Persian. The Elamites, descendants of Noah’s son Shem, first settled in the area and were followed by the Medes and Persians who established an ancient civilization and world empire.

The Bible records the names of some of its most famous:  Cyrus the Great, Darius, and Xerxes. Over the centuries, the Persian language (Farsi) and culture have prevailed even with many conquerors crossing through this land.

Persians comprise over sixty percent of the 79 million people in Iran and it’s as ‘Persians’ that many identify themselves.

With coastlines on the Caspian Sea in the north and the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman in the south, Iran’s large land mass is politically strategic as it shares borders with Iraq, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Geographically in the Middle East and Central Asia, Iran is a recognized regional power.

QUICK FACTS

Continent: Asia — Capital City: Tehran — Government: Theocratic Republic

Population: 82,021,564 — Major People Groups: Persian, Azeri, Kurd, Lur, Baloch, Arab, Turkmen and Turkic tribes

Religion: Muslim 99.4%, other 0.3%, unspecified 0.4%

Language: Persian, Azeri Turkic and Turkic dialects, Kurdish, Gilaki and Mazandarani, Luri, Balochi, Arabic, other

GDP Per Capita: $20,000

Literacy Rate: 86.8%

UNREACHED: 89.6%

The 1979 Islamic Revolution overthrew the twenty-five-hundred-year-old monarchy and converted Iran into a Shi’ite Muslim, cleric-ruled country.  A year later, Iraq attacked Iran and an 8-year war followed, helping solidify the rule of the Muslim clerics (Ayatollahs) and worsening the already hurting economy.

Currently, Iran’s over dependence on the country’s rich oil and natural gas exports, a significant increase in the birth rate in the 80’s, and economic reforms that fell short of their targets have resulted in high unemployment and underemployment, double-digit inflation, and almost 20% of the people living in poverty.

Furthermore Iran’s questionable nuclear program along with its geographic location and attitude toward Israel has stirred up considerable worldwide political concerns for the stability of the region and has resulted in economic sanctions and continued close scrutiny of all Iranian political activities.

FAITH

In Iran all ethnic Persians and those from Muslim backgrounds (even if not practicing) are considered Muslims.  Anyone who converts to Christianity is declared an apostate and could face death.

The Iranian constitution recognizes the historic minority religions of Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and Christianity, but it does not allow churches to preach or distribute materials in Farsi and proselytizing is forbidden.  Yet, the number of Muslim background believers coming to Christ in Iran continues to grow greatly regardless of certain persecution.

Believers and non-believers are having Holy Spirit-inspired dreams and visions and are seeing wonders. Many are curious about the Bible, but Bibles and Christian printed materials in Farsi are illegal. Smuggled Farsi Bibles and materials are quickly put to use.  The Internet and broadcasts by radio and satellite TV are providing encouragement, resources, and training for believers as more come to Christ and more underground house churches are established.

PRAYER POINTS

• Pray for a great harvest resulting from faithful believers sharing bold accounts of their faith.

• Pray for the church to rapidly multiply and mature despite horrendous persecution against non-Muslim peoples.

• Pray for Christians to capitalize on unprecedented opportunities to spread the Gospel via Internet, TV, and media.

 

 

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