Muslim authorities in Iran convicted a young Christian for “crimes against the state” because he refused to renounce Christ and call himself a Muslim and have denied his appeal for justice.
“Jesus is our example: the Savior who came among us to be crucified and save us. We sometimes have to sacrifice our freedom to live in God’s love, so I can’t think only about myself when there are so many believers suffering persecution. My freedom and getting out of prison cannot be my only purpose.” – Ebrahim Firoozi
Ebrahim Firoozi, imprisoned for his faith, wrote those words last April, asking for the international community to pray for persecuted believers in Iran. Last fall we prayed for Ebrahim as he awaited his trial to be heard.
This April, the 32-year-old convert from Islam received the crushing news that his appeal has been denied, and that authorities in Iran have convicted him of “crimes against the state” and sentenced him to five more years in prison. Ebrahim, first arrested for his faith at age 25, has been detained, beaten, and imprisoned multiple times since 2011.
Now, it seems he has no hope of freedom until at least 2020. Meanwhile, his elderly, nearly blind mother is suffering from cancer and undergoing chemotherapy, and prison officials refuse to allow Ebrahim even one visit to see her.
Even as he longs to be freed, Ebrahim is surrendered to God’s purposes and plan for his life while imprisoned for Christ. He writes,
“We think especially about the suffering of new believers. If my being in prison stirs the international community to work to prevent such future persecution of new believers, then my choice is to remain in prison. I ask you to pray for the reopening of the churches in Iran that the government has forcibly closed – let the sound of worship and praise be heard in the buildings again! Pray for me to be a good example before the other prisoners.”
Ebrahim is among at least 90 other Christians and pastors imprisoned for their faith today in Iran. Pray for their hope to rest in the LORD who will “renew their strength so that they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
“So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.” —Acts 5:41
5/17— In the past, guards have refused to let Ebrahim have any access to Christian literature, despite the law stating that he is allowed to purchase his own books; pray he is able to have a Bible.
5/18 — Pray for the witness, perseverance and ultimate vindication of approximately 90 house church pastors (many associated with our partner ministry) imprisoned unjustly in Iran.
5/19 — Ask God to provide for the families of the incarcerated Christians in Iran as we thank many of you for giving to help families of martyrs and prisoners such as these house church pastors.
5/20 — Pray for many dispirited and discontented Muslims in Iran to entrust their lives to Jesus. Pray that the abuse of their government opens their eyes to Islam’s true nature.
5/21 — Ask God to shorten Ebrahim’s 5-year prison sentence and bring about his release.
5/22 — Pray for healing for Ebrahim’s cancer-ridden mother and for him to be allowed to visit her.
5/23 — Pray for Iranian Christians to wield effectively the sword of the Spirit (God’s Word) and introduce Muslims to the good news of Jesus Christ.