Every morning, before I leave for work, I grab my massive ESV Study Bible and spend time reading God’s word. If I am traveling, I take my smaller Bible. If a friend is staying with us and needs a Bible, I grab one of the many of the shelf. We have a plethora of Bibles in our home. And if a new one is released, we can run to the local Christian bookstore to grab one of the latest “stylish” Bibles. Bibles are everywhere. They are an accessory, even.
But imagine living in a world where Christian literature is banned. Bibles are scarce. And you can’t even talk about the greatness of Christ to a non-Christian for fear of being accused of proselytizing. This is Iran.
Iran’s population is over 75 million, with 99% of those people claiming Islam as their religion. Only .33% of the population is Christian. Less than 1%. That is staggering. While the government would say that being a Christian is allowed, it is closely monitored by them. And all Christian proselytizing, or evangelism, is forbidden. Basically, obedience to Christ’s command to go and tell about his atoning work for sinners is a serious offense according to Iranian law.
The Islamic Revolution of 1979 has failed to deliver. The Revolution has led to much corruption and tyranny. Because of the largely anti-Christian sentiment by the government, Iranians are more open to the gospel now. To be a “Muslim Background Believer” can mean persecution. But for the first time in history, these believers outnumber the other Christians within the Christian community. This is a tremendous encouragement.
Ways to pray:
- Pray for the Christian churches in Iran. Many live in fear of persecution at the hands of the government. Jobs are difficult to come by for Christians and the government is known to retaliate, especially against former Muslims. Pray for our brothers and sisters to have boldness and faith in the midst of a very daunting and difficult existence.
- Pray that God would open doors to Iran. Currently, Iran is closed to missions, while there are some “tent-making” opportunities for people who can work in the country; it is very difficult to make it in. There have been approximately 5 million Iranians who have fled to other parts of the world. Pray that God would provide a way for Christians to bring the gospel to Iranians throughout the world.
- Pray for the unreached of Iran—which is basically everyone. There are only known groups of believers in 8 of the 70 ethnic groups in Iran. The need is vast.
- Pray for access to the Bible and Christian literature. Both are very hard to come by in Iran, but desperately needed and desired. Pray that God would provide ways to get his word and other books to his people.