A Call to Prayer for Iran: In Search of Freedom
On September 16, 2022, Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman was beaten and killed by the Iranian “morality police” for not wearing her hijab (Muslim covering) properly and showing a little hair, going against the government’s standards for how women should dress. This sparked protests all over Iran, mostly led by women demanding justice for Mahsa, asking the government for women’s rights and for the regime to leave. Thousands of women took their hijabs off in the streets, waving them in the air while dancing (dancing in public is also forbidden for women) as a sign of protest and demanding freedom for the people of Iran. Hundreds of women cut their hair in the streets, asserting that showing their hair was not a valid excuse to kill them.
The government blamed women for the unrest in the country, and they responded by sending out the secret police to harass women in the streets. Women have been beaten, kidnapped, and raped at random. These abuses sparked even more anger among the people, leading to bigger protests. The government then shut down the internet and started killing protestors, putting them in ambulances to be transported to secret locations, shooting at groups of people, and incarcerating thousands. All of the people who were arrested were sent to “Evin,” a jail to where people who speak against the government are sent. On October 16, 2022, the government set the jail on fire, and started shooting anyone trying to escape. Hundreds of people died, and hundreds more disappeared. Military tanks are being sent to women’s high schools and universities to abduct them and take them to “psychological facilities.” Their families neither have any communication with them nor know their location.
My husband H. is Iranian; he ran an underground church in his hometown. One day he was abducted by the secret police; a black cloth was put on his head, and they threw him in a van. He was tortured for three days, because the police wanted more information about who was part of the underground church. H. managed to escape. He left Iran with a broken knee, bruised and beaten, unable to even say goodbye to his mother. He fled and ended up asking for asylum in Central Europe. Together, we now serve the Iranian and Afghan refugees.
Seeing on the news how openly the secret police is killing, abducting, and oppressing people has been nothing but triggering not only for H, but for all of the refugees from Iran who had to leave their country for the exact same reason: persecution from their government. These are people whom we love and serve, some are brothers and sisters in Christ. For them it is not only heartbreaking to see their country suffer; it is also triggering to have to relive all of the trauma experienced while escaping from their own country.
I am sharing this with you not only because it literally hits home, and we have our family in Iran, but also because people are suffering. Hebrews 13:3 says, “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” Jesus was the greatest advocate for injustices and people’s suffering. He did not differentiate between ethnicities, gender, nationalities or countries. He did, however, love and advocate for those who were enduring persecution and suffering. He came to set all of us free, and that is exactly what the Iranian people need right now: advocacy, prayer and freedom.
The government is trying to silence the people by shutting down the internet and any sort of communication with the rest of the world. However, they cannot stop prayer, the most powerful and effective weapon we have. It is our opportunity to be their voice, raise awareness of the situation, and lift the people of Iran in prayer.
Please pray for protection over people protesting for their basic human rights. Pray for protection of the women who are being targeted for no reason. Pray for comfort for the families who have lost loved ones or cannot find them. Pray for the secret police to have compassion on their own people. Pray for Iran’s freedom from the regime. Pray for Iranians who are refugees around the world, who had to leave their country due to persecution from the government and now have had to relieve their trauma over and over again. Finally, pray for the Holy Spirit to manifest Himself in the midst of all of this pain.
**As a team, we serve refugees in Central Europe, and H. and I are highly involved in serving Iranians. We have a “Refugee Relief Fund” that we use to help refugees, not only from Iran, but from all over the world. We help with long-term & short-term needs such as; German classes, clothing, evangelistic resources and pastoral care.
If you feel led, please consider giving through the Refugee Relief Fund or send a check. Make checks payable and mailable to Global Partners, 13300 Olio Road Suite 400, Fishers, IN 46037. Write in the memo line, “Refugee Relief Fund”.