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(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
Naghmeh Abedini, wife of Pastor Saeed to visit DETROIT AREA: Religious Freedom Rally Saturday, Nov. 15
Come and hear Naghmeh Abedini, Pastor Saeed’s wife, as she shares the latest updates regarding her husband, who is currently serving an 8-year prison sentence in Iran for sharing his Christian faith.
Hear how this has strengthened her faith in God. Join us as we petition the international community to demand release of this innocent man, followed by a time of prayer for the persecuted church.
FRIDAY NIGHT Nov.14, 2014 at 8pm-11pm
Naghmeh will also be at the Dearborn Justice House of Prayer
Springwells Church -14900 Michigan Ave., Dearborn, MI. 48126
SATURDAY NIGHT Nov.15, 2014 at 5pm
Religious Freedom Rally at
Dearborn Heights First Assembly of God
5650 Telegraph Rd., Dearborn Heights, MI. 48125
VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED has organized an International Christmas Campaign Mission, along with his wife, Nagmeh Abedini to REMEMBER SAEED ON CHRISTMAS.
American pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen has been imprisoned in Iran for his Christian faith, since September 2012. Practically without representation, the Iranian government sentenced Pastor Saeed to eight years in prison after convicting him of “undermining” the government by spreading his religious beliefs.
Saeed had previously worked with house churches in Iran. In a previous detainment, the Iranian government had Pastor Saeed sign a document promising he would not proselytize. He claims he has upheld his side of the bargain. Having a heart for orphans, in 2012 he was visiting family and organizing board members for a government approved orphanage that he was starting for Iranian children regardless of their faith.
Pastor Saeed has endured psychological/physical torture, because he will not deny his Christian faith. These beatings have caused him to suffer internal bleeding, while medical care was withheld for months. The treatment he finally did receive has been very minimal.
In a new upsetting development last month, he was transferred from Evin Prison, a facility for political prisoners, to Rajai Shahr Prison, the deadliest prison in Iran. He is now held in a violent criminal ward, where hardened prisoners have unfettered access to him. His health has also been deteriorating. He is experiencing increased pain in his stomach as he is being denied necessary medication and treatment. He is malnourished, losing weight and covered in lice, due of the horrific prison conditions. He has also been threatened at knifepoint and robbed of the few basic hygiene items he had.
Though many have been devastated that Pastor Saeed’s release was not procured by the U.S. Administration during recent agreement talks with Iran. Until he is back home with his family, the American people and many others from around the world have not forgotten him and will not give up in their demands for his release!
It is hard to imagine what Saeed must be going through as he suffers in chains for Christ. It is painful to think about the grief his wife and two young children are experiencing in his absence. They too have been forced to share in the suffering of persecution.
This holiday season is the perfect time for us to flood Rajaei-Shahr Prison with messages and share this Christmas with Saeed! JOIN with us to let him & Iran know he WILL NOT be forgotten! With Christ & our prayers, he is NEVER alone.
We encourage you to write a personal letter of encouragement and Christmas greetings to Pastor Saeed. You can personalize the card or letter by sending a family photo. Younger children may participate by sending a drawing, encouraging him in this time of trial. Most likely the guards will read these cards and letters. Include in your message, the love Jesus has for us and the ultimate gift of sacrifice that Christ gave for all people. Sharing this with them may be the first and only time they will get to read about what Christ has done for them. Pray the Lord touches their hearts!
Your help is crucial in making this mission a success!
PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH YOUR FAMILY, FRIENDS, PASTORS/CHURCHES, MINISTRY GROUPS, ORGANIZATIONS, CLUBS, COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL MEDIA SITES, SUCH AS FACEBOOK AND TWITTER.
Share often, motivate others to care, you CAN make a difference and bring joy in this world! Help us spread this mission around the world to start sending love and light to Iran. And to REMEMBER SAEED ON CHRISTMAS!
Dec. 2015 UPDATE:
Share a Christmas message with Saeed here
This is a terrible move for Saeed and he is in much greater danger there than he even was while he was in Evin prison. Rajai Shahr is the place they send prisoners who are seen as a nuisance. Bijnen, an expert on the prisons in Iran said, “Going to Karaj is a severe punishment. Once in there one stops to be a human being. One is put out of sight, even of human rights activists and the press. In Rajaï Shahr, political prisoners have to share cells with dangerous criminals like murderers, rapists and drug addicts who don’t hesitate to attack their cell mates. They have nothing to lose: many of them are condemned to death anyway. Murders or unexplained deaths are a regular occurrence.” Please uphold Saeed in your prayers during this terribly difficult time.
In addition, please pray for Saeed’s wife and children. As you can imagine, they have been devastated by this latest development. She recently wrote the following message: “Yesterday when I heard Saeed’s news of being transferred to Rajaei Shahr prison, I fell to my knees crying uncontrollably. Feeling so weak and worn. I felt that this was the blow that I couldn’t recover from. I Didn’t have the strength to stand up or speak a word. The kids immediately came to my mind. Their innocent faces as they waited for Saeed’s return. Saeed’s face raced before my eyes. The pains and tortures he must be enduring. Defenseless in the hands of the radicals. I knew I had to get back up again and fight for his life. Relying on my faith in Jesus Christ and the prayers and support of all of you surrounding me, I am up by His Grace. Knowing that more now than ever we have to raise our voices together. We have to pray. We have to take action against this injustice.”
Please join with us in upholding Saeed and his family in prayer!!
Sign the NEW petition to urge President Obama to take immediate and decisive diplomatic action for his freedom. Time is of the essence!
Saeed is number 9 on things that are trending on Yahoo! Let’s keep tweeting and sharing about Saeed!
American Pastor Saeed Abedini was moved from Evin Prison in Tehran to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj – an even more dangerous prison where he faces life-threatening conditions and treatment. Many are sent there to disappear, or even be killed!
Join the cause let’s keep pressing on until Saeed is back home with his wife and kids where he belongs. Constant prayer but also constant actions. He is our brother in Christ and when your family is in danger you keep pressing on for their safety. #SaveSaeed
Sign the NEW petition to urge President Obama to take immediate and decisive diplomatic action for his freedom. Time is of the essence!
Four Iranian Christians were reportedly sentenced to 80 lashes for drinking wine for communion, a shocking punishment meted out even as a new United Nations report blasted the Islamic republic for its systematic persecution of non-Muslims.
The four men were sentenced Oct. 6 after being arrested in a house church last December and charged with consuming alcohol in violation of the theocracy’s strict laws, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide. They were among several Christians punished for their faith in a nation where converting from Islam to Christianity can bring the death penalty. According to a new October UN report by Ahmed Shaheed, UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, such persecution is common, despite new President Hasan Rouhani’s pledge to be a moderate.
“At least 20 Christians were in custody in July 2013,” Shaheed wrote. “In addition, violations of the rights of Christians, particularly those belonging to evangelical Protestant groups, many of whom are converts, who proselytize to and serve Iranian Christians of Muslim background, continue to be reported.”
Iran’s regime has made stopping the spread of Christianity a cornerstone of its crackdown on religious freedom. There are estimated to be as many as 370,000 Christians in Iran, according to the most recent U.S. State Department report. The clerical rulers see Christianity as a threat to Iran’s majority ultra-orthodox Shiite Islamic religion.
“Despite the recent Iranian charm offensive, Dr. Shaheed’s report reminds us of the true nature of the Iranian regime where the abuse of human rights continue,” Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), chairman and founder of the Iran Dissident Awareness Program, told FoxNews.com. “Political prisoners like blogger Mohammad Reza Pourshajari are being denied adequate medical care, journalists and their families continue to be targets of the regime, Pastor Saeed Abedini and Amir Hekmati are still languishing in prison and the Baha’i community faces increasing persecution. This is the true nature of the regime we’re dealing with during negotiations in Geneva.”
Alireza Miryousefi,a spokesman for Iran’s mission to the UN, did not respond to requests for comment, but Iran’s government blasted Dr. Shaheed’s report as not objective. According to Iran’s state-controlled news outlet Press TV, an Iranian official from the UN mission said Shaheed “has not paid sufficient notice to Iran’s legal system and Islamic culture and considers whatever he sees in the West as an international standard for the entire world.”
Shaheed is widely considered to be one of the world’s leading authorities on human rights. He served as the minister of foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives.
“It should be no surprise that Iran’s human rights record as documented by the UN is nothing short of atrocious,” Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told FoxNews.com.
“If the regime thinks that its international charm offensive will help whitewash its appalling human rights record as documented by the UN report, they are sorely mistaken.”
The UN reported noted Iran’s “Authorities continue to compel licensed Protestant churches to restrict Persian-speaking and Muslim-born Iranians from participating in services, and raids and forced closures of house churches are ongoing…More than 300 Christians have been arrested since 2010, and dozens of church leaders and active community members have reportedly been convicted of national security crimes in connection with church activities, such as organizing prayer groups, proselytizing and attending Christian seminars abroad. “
On Monday, a retired California pastor, Eddie Romero, managed to sneak into Iran to demand the release of imprisoned Iranian Christians. Pastor Romero protested in front of Iran’s notorious Evin prison, declaring “Let my people go.” Prison officials detained Romero and he was sent back to the U.S. Romero sought to shine a spotlight on the plight of imprisoned Christian Iranians, including Farshid Fathi, the American-Iranian pastor Saeed Abedini, Mostafa Bordbar, and Alireza Seyyedian.
The four Christian Iranians sentenced to 80 lashes for violating Iran’s anti-alcohol law have ten days to appeal their verdict.
“The sentences handed down to these members of the Church of Iran effectively criminalize the Christian sacrament of sharing in the Lord’s Supper and constitute an unacceptable infringement on the right to practice faith freely and peaceably,” Mervyn Thomas, chief executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, said.
Pleases continue to pray for our Christian family in Iran. And pray for the all Iranians who are being oppressed by the government.
Islamic Republic of Iran
Sept. 23, 2013
Dear President Rouhani,
I have been watching with great concern about the case of Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American citizen who is currently a prisoner in your country. He was in Iran working to build an orphanage when he was arrested and later sentenced to eight years in prison. His situation has been receiving an increasingly high level of attention in the United States. Unfortunately this publicity has been entirely negative for Iran, with the belief that the primary reason for Pastor Abedini’s imprisonment was because of his Christian faith.
As you may know, as a religious leader I have often spoken (both publically and also privately with our national leadership) about the need for greater understanding and peace among the nations of the world. As you come to the United States this week for the U.N. General Assembly in New York, it is my sincere hope that ways may be found to reduce the current tensions between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The announcement on Monday that your country has freed 80 political prisoners is very encouraging. I fear, however, that the current publicity surrounding the continued imprisonment of Pastor Abedini, an American citizen, may further harm the already fragile relationship that presently exists between our two nations.
On September 26, the one-year anniversary of Pastor Abedini’s imprisonment, thousands will attend prayer vigils in more than 70 U.S. cities, calling on your country to release this husband, father and servant of God. I join them by respectfully asking you to release Pastor Saeed Abedini from prison. Such an action would, I believe, have a positive impact in our nation, and might well be perceived by our leadership as a significant step in reducing tensions.
Click here to see the original letter.