Iran (MNN) – Merry Christmas from your friends at Mission Network News! Today, as many of us spend time with family and celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, millions of Christians in Iran must choose discretion in their faith.
The Iranian Christian Life
Iran is ranked #10 on the Open Door’s World Watch List (WWL). WWL ranks the top 50 countries where Christians face the most severe religious persecution. In fact, one report says due to the scarcity of funds, the Iranian government uses arresting Christians as a revenue stream. These arrests can happen simply because a Christian is viewed as a threat to the Mullahs and the Revolutionary Guard’s future in Iran’s government.
However, in this country, where sharing Christ is illegal, the people have a unique tie to Christmas. Peter Smith with Heart4Iran says it is believed the Persian wise men who visited Jesus originated from Iran.
“As you gather around your Christmas tree, your family table this Christmas, think about how those three wise men probably traveled for months to make that journey, but they were willing to come and worship the King,” Smith says.
“As you worship the King this Christmas with your family, say a short prayer for Iran that someday the true king of kings will have a chance to really display himself in a much wider and larger area.”
A Response to Christ
Prayer has been impactful in sharing Christ in Iran. On November 4, Heart4Iran; Network 7; and SAT-7 PARS each aired a one-hour program. This program told the Iranian people that people are praying for them.
“One of the networks actually had people calling them saying, ‘Hey, I just heard your program, how do I become a follower of Jesus?’ And so, that particular network had 14 people call that day, and they prayed to receive Christ,” Smith recounts.
Another network offered to pray with viewers if they called the station. At least 20 people called who wanted to know how to have a deep relationship with Jesus. Smith says it was exciting to see how a day of prayer provided an opportunity for not only multiple salvations, but discipleship, too.
“There’s 81 million people in Iran and the way I say it is there are 81 million people in Iran who are searching for the truth. We’re excited that when they accidentally come across our satellite channel and begin watching our programs that they realize this is the answer, this is what I need,” Smith explains.
Be Prayerful, Be Active
Smith says more than 400 people call and pray with counselors over the phone each month. Pray God would continue to work in Iran and bring people to a relationship with him. Also, pray for the support and encouragement of both the Iranian Christians and the satellite TV ministries sharing about Christ.
And please, be encouraged by how God is moving in Iran despite the challenges. The Church in Iran sees the largest response to the Gospel during the Christmas season. The Iranian government knows this, too. As you celebrate Christ with your family today, take time to remember and pray for the Christians in Iran and the people who are choosing to follow Christ this season.
Header photo courtesy of Heart4Iran via Facebook.