National church shutdown underway

By January 22, 2014
national church shut-down underway

(Image courtesy Open Doors)

Iran (MNN) — Earlier this week, international leaders praised Iran for closing down some of its nuclear program. The U.S. and EU are both reportedly easing some economic sanctions on Iran as a result, one of the conditions of an agreement made last year.

According to Michael Wood of Open Doors USA, a nationwide church shutdown is also underway.

“It’s basically illegal to even go to a church,” Wood explains.

“Those that have been going: the government has their names, their addresses; they’re really being scrutinized and followed.”

Believers began meeting in houses instead, but even then they weren’t safe.

“Anything that draws large crowds to a home brings attention and investigation,” says Wood.

“I know of one church leader who is encouraging his people to…just go out and have coffee or something, and that’s their church. They share what God’s doing in their lives one-on-one.”

Wood says the situation has gotten increasingly difficult for believers since the last presidential election. More people are coming to Christ, he says, which results in resistance from Iran’s Islamic government.

Shortly after Christmas, Farsi-speaking members of a major church in Tehran were told they can no longer attend service. Farsi is Iran’s official language, and the majority of this church’s congregation are Farsi-speakers.

“[The government] thought that would prohibit or inhibit people from wanting to come, but it did the opposite: more people were trying to attend a worship service,” Wood explains.

When government officials became aware of this reaction, they ordered a nationwide church shutdown.

It’s the latest move in a nation holding the ninth spot on the Open Doors World Watch List. The annual publication is a ranking of 50 countries where persecution of Christians is most severe. Iran’s Shi’ite-led government views Christianity as a threat, and any Muslim who becomes a follower of Jesus faces the death penalty.

And yet, “under the persecution that’s going on, you see a growing Church,” says Wood.

See how Open Doors cares for Iran’s persecuted believers.

Pray believers can share their faith boldly with wisdom.  (Image courtesy Open Doors)

Pray that believers can share their faith with wisdom.
(Image courtesy Open Doors)

A knee-jerk reaction to this story might be to pray for persecution in Iran to stop. However, as Wood points out, “the only way that you’re going to stop persecution is to stop sharing your faith in Jesus Christ.”

Instead, ask the Lord to protect Iranian believers. Pray for perseverance and strength for believers who are tortured in prison for their faith. Pray that more Muslims will discover the truth of the Gospel.


  • Your Name says:

    praying for the church in iran.lord strengthen the bretheren,give the courage to continue sharing the gospel.

  • Ted Veer says:


  • Bro. Nick says:

    Oh that CHRISTians in the US [and other ‘1st world countries’] will actually obey – because we truly love the LORD Jesus Christ, what He commands us to do – to put on, and keep on ‘the Whole Armor of GOD’ and to sincerely pray “with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Eph 6:18), and to remember to “… pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16)
    Ps- we should depend on GOD and pray sincerely. Why do we bother with political petitions in this evil world.

    We should also seriously consider that if truly converted believers in the LORD Jesus Christ here in “Amerika” won’t bother to pray for our persecuted CHRISTian brothers and sisters – will they be burdened by THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY to pray for us when we are persecuted?

    We need to be so very thankful that our persecuted brethren in North Korea are praying for the church in the US – because we are under the judgment of prosperity and complacency. May GOD have mercy in His judgment of the US and other ‘civilized’ countries.

    Luke 17:1 / Habakkuk 3:18 / Psalm 115:1

  • joshua says:

    I am the way, the truth, and the life. said jesus, who is one with the father.
    By the gospel of John , we are told God is Light, Life, and LOVE,

    That means,
    Love is the way,
    Love is the truth,
    and Love is the life.

    May Love (as Jesus taught) be the foremost quality in all professing believers. And its light shine onto those in darkness.

  • Margie says:

    I confess my lack of prayer for my sisters and brothers in Iran, and now commit myself to pray daily for them, thanking God for giving them courage and asking for them to continue to persevere, and that God will draw Muslims to faith as they see the testimony of the faithfulness of Christians.

  • Your Name says:

    thank God for all of you may God bkess and strangth you all in Jesus name amem

  • Evelyn Hale says:

    I do pray for our persecuted chritian, ,but I do need to pray more ferfently Ev. Hale

  • silmária says:

    Boa tarde a todos ai do outro lado, olha sou pela misericórdia de Deus uma cristã, serva do Senhor, e digo com toda a sinceridade do meu coração graças a Deus não moro ai, e se nas minhas orações sempre apresentei toda humanidade nesta baixa terra agora mais ainda, e em especial esse povo ai do Irã que não tem fé, nem crença, estar repreendido todo pensamento ruim que é contra Deus , o fim dos tempos se aproxima e os descendentes do inimigo estão se revelando, nos aproximamos do nosso Senhor Jesus clamando ao nosso Pai Soberano por misericórdia .Outra coisa reflitam sobre seus atos antes de repreender alguém por buscar a face do Senhor em santa oração, peça um sinal ao verdadeiro e único Deus que deu seu Filho unigênito pela nossa alma, clamemos pelo sangue do Cordeiro que se crucificou por nós, não é se voltando contra que se retribui é dando um bom testemunho e profetizando seguindo os Seus passos até o dia do juízo final e tenho dito.

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