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