The nation of Persia is mentioned 23 times in the Bible and is introduced in the first chapter of Esther. In 1935 the Persian leader asked the League of Nations to change the name from Persia to Iran. The country was moving toward a modern westernized state, and women wore western dress.
Now the nation of Iran has about 82,000,000 people; Islam is officially the religion of over 99%, mostly Shi’a Muslims. In 1979 the Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew the Shah of Iran, and a hard-line Iranian regime was established with Muslim clerics in control, making a drastic change in the nation and freedoms disappeared.
Even though Christian missionaries served since the 1830s, there were only 500 Muslim background Christians. All missionaries serving at that time were told to leave, accused of being CIA agents. Evangelism was outlawed, Bibles in Persian were banned and soon became scarce, and multiple pastors killed. People feared the small Iranian church would quickly wither and die.
Today Iran ranks as one of the worst countries in the world for persecution and world terrorism. That has not stopped the move of God in their nation. Despite great persecution, continued hostility, and death of the innocent for more than 20 years, Iranians have become the Muslims most open to the gospel in the Middle East. Nothing can stop the power of the Holy Spirit!
The violence in the name of Islam causes widespread disillusionment with the regime. Many Iranians question their beliefs. Often videos are shown by the media, declaring Iranians hate the Western nations. America is called “The great satan,” and Israel is known as “The little satan”. Iranian protesters supporting the government are seen stomping and burning the American flag chant, “Death to America.”
One Iranian man of God said, “I can boldly say, there’s no country in the world that loves America more than Iranians do. They want American fashion, music, arts, and they want democracy.” This Muslim background believer beams Christian TV programs to Iran daily in their Farsi language. He shared that there are 1 to 3 million Muslims walking with Christ and reaching out to others. The church is rapidly multiplying. The power of God cannot be stopped!
- Iranian Christians who are suffering in prison testified to sensing the prayers of the global church. Pray they will experience endurance, favor, and joy, reaching the prisoners with the love of God.
- Pray for trained leaders, church planters and evangelists raised to disciple new believers.