Category Archives: Iran

Benham Irani: Iran

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UPDATE  December 6, 2016
Pastor Irani was released from prison on October 17, 2016, after having served a 6 year sentence.  He was reunited with his family in Turkey on November 17, 2016.  Thank you for all your prayers on his behalf!  Blessings and healing to Pastor Irani, his family, and all his friends!


UPDATE  June 16, 2016
Pastor Benham Irani is once again suffering from severe coughing as he completes his prison term.  The doctor doesn’t know what is causing the coughs, and he has not given him any treatment or medication.  Please pray for strength and healing.


UPDATE  January 7, 2016
Pastor Irani is currently serving a six-year term in prison (he has nine months left on that sentence), and has been very ill for much of that time.  On top of back problems, worsening eyesight, and bleeding intestines, he is now suffering from influenza.  He is very weak, and unable to speak with others.  Please pray for him!


UPDATE  October 3, 2015
Pastor Irani has been released from prison again, this time for 2 days.  I pray that he will enjoy this short rest, and that the courts will reconsider his request to spend the last two years of his sentence under house arrest.


UPDATE  August 4, 2015
Pastor Irani is still on prison leave.  He is expected to return to prison on August 7, 2015.  He has been on leave since July 4, 2015!


UPDATE  August 1, 2015
Pastor Irani was recently granted two weeks of prison leave, during which he was able to return home to his family.  He will return to prison following his leave.


UPDATE  February 19, 2015
Under Iranian law, a prisoner may be granted a conditional release for good behaviour when they have completed more than half of their prison sentence.  Pastor Irani recently applied, and although the prison officials  agreed, the judge turned down his request.  Pastor Irani remains in poor health as a result of his incarceration.  Please continue to pray for him and his family.


UPDATE  December 16, 2014
Pastor Benham Irani has won his appeal!  He will continue to serve out the terms of his first conviction (a sentence of 6 years) and then he will be released!  Finally some good news!


UPDATE December 6, 2014
Tomorrow Pastor Irani will be able to represent himself as the Iranian court hears his appeal.  Please pray for him and for the courts!


UPDATE  December 1, 2014
Pastor Irani recently wrote a letter from prison.  He wrote it to encourage you!  You can read it at Present Truth Ministries.

Reports indicate that Pastor Irani remains a concern of Iran’s secret police, and that they intend to keep him in prison for the rest of his life.  Threats have also been reported against his wife Kristina, and their children, Rebekah and Adriel.  Please continue to pray for them, and that the Western governments who are negotiating with Iran will not be complacent about the government’s policies of persecution and intolerance.

Source:  Present Truth Ministries


UPDATE  November 3, 2014
Six more years have been added to Pastor Irani’s sentence (making a total of 12 years), but the charges against him of “spreading corruption on earth” were dropped for him as well as two other leaders of the “Church of Iran”.  This took away the possibility of their receiving the death penalty.  Pastor Irani is being moved to a new prison near the Afghanistan border where it will be hard for his family to visit him.  The other two men, Abdolreza Haghnejad and Reza Rabbani, are being moved to a prison at Minab, in the south of Iran.

Please continue to pray for these three men, their families, and their church.  Do whatever you can to make the people around you aware of the horrific persecution that is going on all around the world.  Millions of Christians have been affected, but many other minorities are being targeted as well.


UPDATE  October 16, 2014
Pastor Irani was beaten on June 7, 2014 and held in solitary confinement for weeks in an unknown location.  He has been returned to prison where new charges have been brought against him.  A judge has charged him with “communicating with media.”  Authorities interrogated the pastor on five separate occasions, for four hours at a time.  Please pray for him!


UPDATE  April 5, 2014
Pastor Benham Irani has been in prison since 2010.  He is a Christian convert from Islam.  Recently his prison cell was searched by the authorities who took his Bible, his notebooks, and books he had checked out of the prison library.  According to Iranian law, citizens of Iran are allowed access to religious materials, but this does not always seem to apply to coverts from Islam, who are considered apostates.  His wife, Kristina, is raising their two young sons alone while her husband is in prison.  She has developed stomach ulcers.  Please pray for this family.

What You can Do:

  • Pray for Pastor Irani.
  • Pray for his wife Kristina, and their two sons.

Father, today we lift up Pastor Irani and his wife Kristina.  Remind them of the glory that awaits those who suffer because of their relationship with You.  Strengthen them.  Support them.  Lead them.  Guide them.  Heal them.  Protect their children from evil, and reveal Yourself to them so that they will follow You, as do their parents.  Pastor Irani has lost his Bible, Father, but he hasn’t lost You.  Speak to him directly.  Remind him of who he is and who You are.  You are the Most High God.  Prove Your presence to these children of Yours each day, and every hour.  Amen.


Pastor Behnam Irani began serving a sentence for “crimes against national security” after turning himself in on May 31, 2011.  His sentence was for 1 year, but was later increased to 5 years.  Since being imprisoned he has been beaten repeatedly by fellow inmates (with guards watching).  His beatings have resulted in lose of vision, and difficulty in speaking and walking.  He also appears to be suffering from an inflammatory bowel disease.  Sources close to the situation fear he is so ill he will die in prison, unless the conditions change.

Pastor Irani was the leader of a house church in Iran.  On April 14, 2010 security officials interrupted a worship serviced to arrest the pastor.  They confiscated Bibles, DVDs, and other Christian literature.  In January of 2011 he was tried and convicted of crimes against national security.

What you can do:

  • Please pray for Pastor Irani, his family, and his fellow prisoners and jailors.

Father, God of all Creation,

We lift up Pastor Irani before you today.  He has laid his life down to serve You, and all those with whom he comes in contact.  You have brought him into contact with those who hate him, who repeatedly beat him, and who have wounded his body, perhaps to the point of death.  Jesus, you know exactly what that is like.  Pour out your Spirit upon him.  Fill him with your mercy, grace, forgiveness, and love.  Let his light shine before the men in his prison so that they will see his good works and glorify You.  Speak through his mouth, Father.  He is not able to speak freely anymore, but You can speak through him.  Heal his wounds.  Comfort his spirit.  Release him from pain.  Let him soar on wings like an eagle above the chaotic fray.  Open up the hearts and minds of his captors and persecutors.  Reveal Yourself to them with power and authority.  Turn the prison into a sanctuary where Jesus, the King, is praised forevermore!  Nothing is too hard for You.  With You, nothing is impossible.

Comfort and protect the pastor’s family, Father.  Surround them with Your protection and power.  Lift up their heads, be the strength of their lives, and be their portion forever.  Fill them with confidence in You, in Your plan for the world, and in their place in Your plan.  Keep them strong in the faith.  Hold them in Your hand and never let them go.  Thank You for the powerful work You are doing through Pastor Irani and his family and church.

In the awesome, sweet name of Jesus, Amen.

Source:  Voice of the Martyrs

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Yasser Mossayebzadeh, Saheb Fadaie, and Mohammedreza Omidi: Iran

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Yasser Mossayebzadeh, Saheb Fadaie, and Mohammedreza Omidi were arrested on May 13, 2016, along with Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, his wife, and his sister.  At that time authorities confiscated Christian material and Bibles.  Nadarkhani, his wife, and his sister, Tina, have been released, but the other three men remain in prison.

Source:  Present Truth Ministries

What you can do:

  • Pray for brothers Yasser, Saheb, and Mohammedreza as they spend their days in prison.
  • Pray for their families.
  • Pray for justice in their trials, and for all people in Iran.
  • Pray for Iran, its leaders, and its people.

Father, I thank You that Pastor Nadarkhani was released, along with his wife and his sister.  I pray for these three men, and all the other people imprisoned in Iranian prisons because of their beliefs.  I ask You to make Your presence known, intimately, to each person who has been unjustly imprisoned.  Let Your light shine through each of Your children during their prison terms.  May they be a rich and constant blessing to everyone around them.  Protect them from pain and the torture that so frequently comes with prison in Iran.  Meet the needs of their families while they are away.  Don’t let them be ashamed, discouraged, or grow weary.  Strengthen their inner man, and fill them with Your Spirit.  Bring glory to Jesus through them.  Amen.

Ebrahim Firouz: Iran

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Ebrahim Firouzi, a Christian convert, was arrested on January 11, 2011.  He was convicted of working against the Islamic regime of Iran, organizing evangelistic events, contacting foreigners and anti-Islamic networks, and running a Christian website.  He was sentenced to two years of exile, followed by one year in prison.  Pastor Firouzi was scheduled to be released from prison in January  2015, however he was not.  He was retried in March of 2015, when his sentence was extended for five more years.

Source:  Voice of the Martyrs

What you can do:

  • Pray for Ebrahim, his family, and his friends.
  • Pray for Iran, its leaders, and its people.
  • Pray for the people imprisoned with Ebrahim.
  • Pray for him to be a light in a dark place.

Father, I thank You for the testimony of my brother, Ebrahim.  I pray that Your light will shine brightly through him during all the days of his imprisonment.  I ask You to make him a blessing to everyone he encounters, to protect him from harm, to strengthen and encourage him, and fill his cell with Your presence.  I ask you to provide for the needs of his family and friends.  Show me what You want me to do to support him during these difficult days.  I know that You will redeem every second of this difficult time for him and his family.  Surround them with Your power and love.  Amen.

Yousef Nardakhani: Iran

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UPDATE  June 16, 2016
Pastor Nardakhani and his wife, his sister, Tina, and three other Christians were arrested on May 13, 2016.  Authorities raided his house and confiscated Bibles and other Christian material.  Yasser Mossayebzadeh, Saheb Fadaie, and Mohammedreza Omidi remain in custody.

Source:  Present Truth Ministries


nardakahniDecember 25, 2012  ARRESTED AGAIN
Pastor Nardakhani was arrested again on Christmas day while he was celebrating the holiday at home with his family.  The 34-year-old pastor was originally arrested for protesting a policy that required all children to study the Quran in school.  Youcef claims this is in opposition to the Iranian constitution which allows for religious freedom.  He was held in prison for more than 3 years before he was released in September of 2012.  Officials claim he still has 45 days left of prison time in his original sentence.  (He was actually sentenced to death.  That sentence was temporarily annulled, and then reinstated, as it remains to this day.)  During his previous incarceration, the pastor was kept in Lakan prison, where authorities used many “techniques” including medication, to get him to convert back to Islam.

Youcef’s wife was arrested when her husband failed to recant.  She was put on trial without a lawyer, and sentenced to death.  She was later released when a lawyer appealed her case.  Relatives cared for the couple’s two children during the time both parents were in prison.

Please continue to pray for Youcef and his family as they face this new, unexpected trial.  Little information has been given to them regarding this new situation.

UPDATE
Pastor Nardakhani wrote a letter the day he was released, September 8, 2012, expressing his appreciation for all those who supported him during his incarceration.  You can read the letter here.

September 10, 2012  RELEASED
Pastor Youcef Nardahkani, arrested in September of 2009 and convicted on charges of apostasy (converting to Christianity) and sentenced to death, was released from prison yesterday.  According to CNN, a trial court in Iran acquitted him of apostasy, but convicted him for “evangelizing Muslims.”  He was sentenced to prison, but then was told that his prison time had been completed during the time he’s already served (3 years).  International efforts to secure his release have been going on during this time.  There are approximately 300,000 Christians in Iran, a country that is 98% Muslim.  Nine other Christians are imprisoned in the country because of their faith.  Keep praying for the release of all of them, and that religious tolerance will grow in Iran.  (Information from First Things.)

Since 2001, there have been more than 2,000 Christians brutally murdered in Iran.  Today Pastor Yousef Nardakhani has been in prison for over 2 years, convicted of apostasy.  He was given four opportunities to renounce his faith in Jesus in order to save his life, but his reply has been, “Jesus is my life.  How can I renounce him and save my life?”  Last month the courts signed his execution orders, which means he may be hanged at any time.

The internet has been filled with support for Pastor Nadarkhani, but where have the political powers been?  Many petitions have been sent to the US State Department urging them to intervene, or at least condemn the situation, but as far as I can tell they have not used their power on behalf of this man whose sole crime is being a Christian.  President Obama issued a statement on September 30, 2011:

“The United States condemns the conviction of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. Pastor Nadarkhani has done nothing more than maintain his devout faith, which is a universal right for all people. That the Iranian authorities would try to force him to renounce that faith violates the religious values they claim to defend, crosses all bounds of decency, and breaches Iran’s own international obligations.”

Although Iran constantly commits crimes against humanity, kills its own people, commits war crimes, aggressively attacks its neighbors, vows to “wipe Israel off the face of the earth”, and “won’t rest until the United States of America has been destroyed”, it is actually on the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women!  Women are stoned in Iran, yet Iran is on a committee to oversee the status of women in the world?  Are things upside down or what?

Pastor Nardakhani has a wife and two young boys.  Pray for them.  Pray that they will be safe, have a place to live, and that their courage and faith will grow as this most difficult situation continues to develop.  Pray that God may intervene on their behalf, and release Yousef from prison.  Pray that Yousef will know how deep, how wide, how long, and how high the love of God is, and that he will know the power of the resurrection of Jesus, each day in his prison cell.

Several more people were arrested a few weeks ago in Iran, and are currently in prison, facing the same charges:  Fashad and Shahnaz (husband and wife), David, and Naser.  Pray for them, too.

Father, we pray from the bottom of our hearts for Pastor Yousef, his family, and all the Iranians who are imprisoned and/or persecuted today because of their faith in You.  We ask You to intervene on their behalf.  Give them the courage to face whatever comes to them with courage, devotion, and joy.  Father God, Jesus is the Lord of all.  We ask that your Spirit invade the prisons of Iran in a mighty way, like a flooding river, bringing all the fruits of the Spirit to your people there.  We pray for the guards and authorities of the prisons–that they will see the love and joy in Your servants, and want it for themselves.  We pray that their eyes will be opened, that You will rescue them from the domain of darkness, and transfer them into the kingdom of the Son of Your Love.  Let our brothers and sisters know that we are praying for them, and overwhelm them with the joy of Your very powerful Presence.  Make the prisons Your sanctuary!  We pray for the believers in Tehran, Lord.  Give them a place to meet and worship, keep them safe from unrighteous laws, and send Your angels to guard and protect them.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Update, July 6, 2012
On July 4th, Yousef received information that he will be facing a new trial in September on charges related to national security.  There is also a report that a Russian Orthodox priest sent a letter to the Supreme Leader on Nardakhani’s behalf.  He was told the death sentence against the pastor will be dropped.

Update, May 10, 2012
Yousef’s lawyer has just been sentenced to 9 years in prison for violating national security.

Update, April 10, 2012
You can write to Pastor Yousef.  Get the information here at Voice of the Martyrs.

Update, March 29, 2012
Although rumors of his death circulated the internet last week, Pastor Nardakhani is still alive.  Read Joel Rosenberg‘s blog for more information.

You can pray for other Iranian prisoners listed here at Voice of the Martyrs.

Amin Khaki: Iran

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UPDATE  March 5,2016
The appeals of Pastor Khaki, Hossein Barounzadeh, Mohammad Bahrami and Rahman Bahmani, are over.  According to the court information, the men did not present any new evidence and so their sentences were upheld.  Each man was sentenced to a year in prison.  Pastor Khaki has already served 11 months, so he has one month left on this sentence.  However, he was released early on a previous charge, so he must not complete the rest of that sentence.  The other 3 men have 3-4 months of the one year sentence.  Please pray for them and their families as they serve out their prison terms.

Source:  Present Truth Ministries


UPDATE  January 8, 2016
Pastor Khaki and four other Christians, Hossein Barounzadeh, Mohammad Bahrami and Rahman Bahmani, were arrested and convicted of meeting in house churches in order to spread Christianity.  They are appealing their sentences.  Their trials are set to begin on February 1, 2016.  Please pray for them, the judges, and the country of Iran.

Source:  Present Truth Ministries


UPDATE October 7, 2015
Pastor Amin Khaki has been arrested, tried, and convicted of “advertising against the Islamic Republic of Iran through spreading Branhamite, Jesus Only, Christianity.”  He has been sentenced to one year in prison.  Since his earlier sentence was conditionally suspended, he will probably also have to serve the last two months of that sentence.

On Thursday, March 6, 2014, during a church picnic, Pastor Khaki and his friends were attacked by Iranian security forces.  They were beaten, arrested, blindfolded, and held in jail for 9-10 hours during which they were tortured.  The two other men arrested with Pastor Khaki were held in prison for months without a trial, and then released.

Please continue to pray for Pastor Amin, his family, friends, and his country.

Source:  Present Truth Ministries


UPDATE  January 10, 2014
Amin Khaki has been released from prison and is now home with his family!  Thank you, God!


Iranian intelligence authorities arrested Pastor Amin Khaki, and two other members of his congregation during a church picnic on March 6, 2014.  They were beaten before being taken into custody.  After being blindfolded and held for six hours, other church members were released, however Amin, “Ziya” Bahmani, and Hossein Baroun, remain in jail.  Earlier in the year, secret police broke into Pastor Amin’s home, taking his computer and other religious materials.

Sources:  Present Truth Ministries
CBN World News
Release International

What you can do:

  • Pray for Amin Khaki, Ziya Bahmani, and Hossein Baroun, and their families.
  • Pray for the members of Pastor Khaki’s church.
  • Pray for the government of Iran, and all those involved with keeping these men in custody.

Father, Here we are again–more pastors and church leaders imprisoned for their faith.  I ask You to fill each of them with Your presence, transform every evil thing that happens to them into a jewel for Your glory, and flood their prison cells with love, joy, peace, and light.  Protect and defend their families.  Provide for all of their needs.  Bring light into darkness.  Set the captives free.  You are able to do far more than all that we ask or think, so Father, do Your work in the lives of these people, in the minds of the Iranian authorities, and in the hearts of the people of Iran.  Amen.

Farshid Fathi: Iran

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UPDATE  January 5, 2016
Farshid Fathi was released from prison two years before his sentence was over, in early December 2015.  He was home in time to celebrate Christmas with his wife and two young children.  Thank God!


UPDATE October 16, 2014
Farshid was transferred from Evin Prison to Rajaei-Shahri Prision in the city of Karaj on August 19, 2014.  The reason for the transfer is not known.  According to Mahabat News, the new ward “is isolated from other prison buildings and holds the most dangerous criminals.”  Please pray for Farshid that the sweet Spirit of his amazing Father will shine through him and bring light to the people in his new prison.


UPDATE June 23,2014
Farshid reports that his foot is healing and he is not in as much pain.  He thanks you for your prayers.  He says,  “Though I was in dire pain, I took it as a gift from our Lord to get out of prison even for a few hours. Of course, we forgive them for all they have done to us because we are followers of the One who says, ‘Father, please forgive…’.”


UPDATE May 3, 2014
Farshid is currently in the hospital, being treated for wounds received during a clash between prison guards and prisoners in Evan Prison.  One hundred guards began beating prisoners when they refused to leave their cells for an inspection.  A guard stepped on Farshid’s foot, breaking it and a toe, when he tried to help another prisoner.  It was three days before he was allowed to go to the hospital for treatment.

Source:  Voice of the Martyrs


 

UPDATE February 2, 2014


Although prison officials have often threatened to harm his family unless he recants his faith, Farshid Fathi has learned that his wife and children are safely in Canada where they have been granted asylum.  Please continue to pray for all of them, and for Farshid’s healing.


January 10, 2013
Farshid remains in Evin Prison in Tehran, infamous for its treatment of prisoners.  He expects to be released in 2017, after serving a six-year sentence for Christian activities.  Please pray that his wife, Leila, and two children, Rosana and Bardia, will be safe and at peace during this horrible time in their lives.

Farshid recently wrote a letter to the parents of children killed in Newtown, CT.  Here is some of what he wrote:

“I am so sorry, and you are in my prayers.  I am sure these high walls cannot stop my prayers for you.  Before this tragedy happened, I was thinking about my suffering that I’m going through because of my Lord Jesus Christ, expecially being far from my lovely kids.  But when I imagine how hard your pain is I forget my suffering.”

Please continue to pray for Farshid and his family.  You can also write to him in prison.  (Please don’t mention the names of any organizations from which you learned information about the situation, and be respectful toward the government of Iran.  These things can cause more trouble for inmates.)
Farshid Fathi
Evin Prison
Saadat Abad
Tehran
Islamic Republic of Iran

Source:  Voice of the Martyrs


Original Information
Farshid Fathi was arrested on December 26, 2010, as a part of a group of 22 believers, arrested in and around Tehran.  They were questioned intensely, and 10 were released after they signed statements that they would no longer participate in Christian activities.  Later, 11 others were released, as well, but Farshid remains in prison, although his family has spent a great deal of money posting bail for him.  He’s spent almost a year in solitary confinement.

Farshid was charged with “acting against national security through membership of a Christian organization, collection of funds, and propaganda against the Islamic Regime by helping spread Christianity in the country.”  On March 5, 2012, he was sentenced to six years in prison.  An appeal was rejected in June of 2012.

The son of an Iranian ayatollah, who shared a prison cell with Farshid, commented on his sweet nature.  It’s reported in a YouTube video.  His fellow prisoners love him, and Elam Ministries calls him “a man after God’s own heart.”

What you can do:

  • Farshid has a wife, Leila, and two children, Rosana and Bardia.  Please pray for them during this difficult time.  Pray that God will protect Farshid in prison, and bring many inmates and guards to Jesus through his loving, shining testimony.
  • Post information about Farshid’s situation on a bulletin board at church.  (You have permission to copy this post if you wish.)
  • Learn more about the underground church in Iran by watching a A Letter from Prison, a YouTube video (13 minutes–this is a dramatization).
  • You can write to Farshid at

Farshid Fathi
Evin Prison
Saadat Abad
Tehran
Islamic Republic of Iran

Please note:  When you write to prisoners, please never mention the names of any sources or organizations from which you may have received the information.  This can be very dangerous to the prisoners, and may result in harsher treatment or new charges against them.  It is fine for them to receive letters from individuals.  Be respectful of their country and the laws they live under.

Father, we thank you for the amazing testimony of Farshid among those imprisoned with him.  We pray that Your shining light will flow from him to enlighten everyone in that dark place.  We pray that you will keep him strong, loving, forgiving those who hurt him, sharing Your love with all around him.  Keep him safe.  Keep him strong.  Keep him healthy, Lord.  Fill his life with Your joy, and surround him with Your peace.  May every minute of his incarceration bring glory and honor to You, and light and life to others.  Let this time be an effective tool in advancing your kingdom in Iran, and around the world.

Protect his family, God of power and might.  Provide for all their needs.  Keep them safe and well as they wait for his release.  Give them the strength to endure, without hatred or bitterness, the unfair events that tightly hold them .  Lead them into an open place, a wide place of peace, confidence in You, and calm belief.  Bless his children, Lord.  Raise up men from the community who will be fathers to them in his absence.  Surround Leila with Your power, good judgment, and love.  Give her the strength she needs to support and nurture her children, and serve you with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength.  May You receive glory and honor from her endurance and perseverance in the faith.  Bless them, let Your light shine upon them, and bring them peace.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Source:  Voice of the Martyrs.

Amin Khaki, Rahman Bahmani, and Hossein Baroun–Iran

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UPDATE  October 7, 2015
On Thursday, March 6, 2014, during a church picnic, Pastor Khaki and his friends were attacked by Iranian security forces.  They were beaten, arrested, blindfolded, and held in jail for 9-10 hours during which they were tortured.  The two other men arrested with Pastor Khaki were held in prison for months without a trial, and then released.

Pastor Amin has just received a verdict in his trial.  He has been convicted of “advertising against the Islamic Republic of Iran through spreading Branhamite, Jesus Only, Christianity,” and sentenced to serve one year in prison.

Please continue to pray for these men, their families, friends, and the country of Iran.

Source:  Present Truth Ministries


Pastor Amin Khaki and seven other Christians were arrested during a picnic in a Shoush park.  They were beaten, blindfolded, and detained in interrogation rooms for several hours.  Five of the people were released, but Pastor Khaki and two other members of his church, Rahman “Ziya” Bahmani and Hossein “Daniel” Baroun remain in prison.  They have not been charged, nor has bail been set.  They have been detained since March 6, 2014.

What You can Do:
Please pray for Pastor Khaki, his family, and the church members incarcerated with him.  Pray for those who were arrested and released.  Pray for the government of Iran, and all the people of that country.

Source:  Present Truth Ministries

Father in Heaven,
Today we lift up yet another group of Your children who have been arrested because of their relationship with You.  Strengthen them, encourage them, strongly support them.  Fill their lives with Your tangible presence and remind them of all that they know about who they are and who You are.  Touch their jailors with Your mercy and grace.  Reveal Yourself to the leaders of Iran.  Protect the Iranian people, and bring them liberty and justice.  In Jesus Name, Amen.