Tag Archives: persecution

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

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.

Alireza Seyyedian: Iran

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UPDATE  August 4, 2015
Alireza has been released from prison early!  He is now home with his family.  His future plans are not know.  Please pray for him as he adjusts to life, once again.


UPDATE October 16, 2014
Alireza continues to show signs of psychosis as his stay in Evan Prison is taking a hold on him.  He told Persia BBC that he is addicted to drugs he’s taken for insomnia, stress, and depression, given to him by prison doctors.  Please pray for him.  His prison term will be up in 2017.  He was sentenced to six years in prison for converting to Christianity.


Alireza Seyyedian has been imprisoned in Evin Prison in Iran since 2011.  He is serving a six-year sentence.  He was a happy, healthy, young man when he entered prison, but during a 3 day leave to visit his family, they saw a completely different man.  During the first year of his internment Alireza managed to cope, but then depression and psychological problems began to take their toll on him.  “I just wanted the days to pass quickly,” he said, so he began to take drugs recommended by his fellow prisoners.  Now he appears to present symptoms of psychosis and drug addiction.  He stopped taking the drugs during his home visit, but was trembling, vomiting, and “robotic” in effect.  He spent 4 days of his visit in the hospital, which he left prematurely due to the desire to spend time with his family.  Please pray for this young man who has been in one of the worst prisons in the world for five years.

What You can Do:
Pray for Alireza, his family, his jailers, and his country.

Father,  We can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like for Alireza, living in unsanitary and dangerous conditions at Evin Prison.  Thank You that he has survived there for five years.  We pray that You will strengthen him and support him during his final year in prison.  Move strongly within Him, Father.  Be his family, his brother, his father, and his best friend.  Prove to him that You have never and will never leave him nor forsake him.  Forgive him, Father, for none of us are as strong as we think we are, we are just dust.  Heal him.  Refine, and then restore him to greater heights than before he began this ordeal.  Encourage and support his family.  Soften his jailers, and let Your light shine in and through him for the duration of his prison sentence.  Give him a glimpse of the glory that is about to be revealed as a result of his suffering.  Even Jesus “endured the cross because of the joy that was set before him,” Father.  Set Alireza’s joy before him in visions, in songs, in memories.  Sustain him with your outstretched arm.  Amen.

Source:  Present Truth Ministries

Robert Asserian: Iran

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UPDATE  December 1, 2014
Pastor Robert was released on bail on July 2, 2013, and told to “be quiet” about what he went through.

Source:  Rach’s Thoughts
The Christian Post


Robert Asserian, pastor of the Assemblies of God church in Tehran, was arrested on May 21.  His church was invaded by Islamic security forces, and may of his personal belongings were confiscated.  No one knows where he was taken.

A close friend of the Pastor Asserian said,

“The church knew it was only a matter of time until something like this happened. I would like to ask the global Church to pray for Pastor Asserian; he is a much-loved pastor, husband and father of two young sons. Please also pray for the whole church at this traumatic time. I would like to see the international community holding Iranian authorities to account for this incident, which is just one example of the regime’s systematic and flagrant abuse of Iranian freedoms.”

Father in Heaven,
I thank you for Article 18 (UN Declaration of Human Rights) that states that everyone has the right to freedom of religion and conscience.  I pray that You will raise up mighty support for all people who are suffering because of their relation with You, and for reasons of conscience.  I pray that the international community will take a strong stand against religious persecution, and move together against all abuses world-wide.  But even with that, Your word says that we, Your peculiar people, have been called to suffer, to “fill up what’s left of the sufferings of Christ,” and that suffering brings fellowship with him, so I ask you to fill up the lives of all those who are suffering with the life of Jesus.  Make his presence real in their lives, fill up their prisons with Your glory and grace, and let Your kingdom come to the hearts of everyone who is being treated unjustly.  I thank you for this pastor and his congregation.  Be all they need, in all of them, all the time, Father.  Overcome evil with Your good in every way, in every need, in every circumstance.  Teach us to pray faithfully and consistently for those who are in such fearful places, and enduring such unspeakable acts.  In Jesus mighty name, and for Your great glory!  Amen.

Sources:
Voice of the Martyrs
Elam Ministries
Article 18

Boko Haram: Nigeria

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UPDATE  November 8, 2014
Boko Haram terrorists attacked a church in Adamawa State in late August.  They killed more than 70 people and kidnapped teenaged girls.  (The exact number of missing girls is not known.)  They entered the church and ordered women and children to get out, and then began firing on the people inside.  Then they left the church and continued firing on the people as they ran away.  They set fire to surrounding houses, stole food, livestock, and a large amount of cash.


UPDATE July 16, 2014
You can download a prayer bulletin to aid in your prayers for Boko Haram.


Boko Haram rebels killed more than 400 people in Nigeria in the first six weeks of 2014.  President Goodluck Jonathan declared a State of Emergency in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states in May of 2013, and his government has been bombing Boko Haram hideouts, but criticism is increasing regarding his failure to stop the rebel forces.

On February 15, 2014, members of Boko Haram, dressed in uniforms, surrounded the village of Izghe.  They separated the Muslims from the Christians, and then killed 106 Christians, looted their businesses, and took off into the surrounding countryside.  “Not a week has gone by this year that our Christian brothers and sisters in northern Nigeria have not been threatened, beaten and murdered,” wrote Olaiya Phillips and national secretary Emmanuel Danjuma Subilim, in a statement.  Although many of the attacks have been specifically aimed at Christians, members of many faiths have also been harmed.

On January 26, 2014, rebels attacked St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Adamawa state.  They blocked the exits during a worship service, threw bombs into the building, and shot those trapped inside.  They also burned houses and took hostages during the four hour attack.  Four days later a similar attack was made against the Church of the Brethren during a prayer meeting, killing the pastor and ten congregants.  Local and national leaders are calling on the president to stop these attacks.  The Governor of Borno state, Kashim Shettima, said, “Frankly speaking, officers and men of the Nigerian army and the Nigerian police force are doing their best given the circumstances, but you and I know that Boko Haram are better armed and better motivated.”

What You can Do:

  • Pray for the President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, for wisdom and resources to combat these terrorists.
  • Pray for the local leaders and law enforcement officers as they attempt to deal with the attacks.
  • Pray for people of all faiths to unite together in resisting terrorism.
  • Pray for the salvation of the members of Boko Haram.  It’s happened in the past, and God can do amazing things with rebels.  He is the Ultimate Redeemer!

Source:  Open Doors

Heavenly Father,
We are Your children.  You have a plan for each of our lives, and there is nothing man can do to thwart Your purpose and intention.  We lift up all the people of Nigeria, its leaders, and law enforcement officials.  We ask you to give them wisdom about how to stop these vicious, barbaric attacks, and we ask You to provide them with the resources necessary to do so.  We pray for those perpetrating the attacks.  Bring them to their senses.  Set them free from their delusions, and the lies of hatred.  Surround them with knowledge of You, and flood their lives with the power of Your mighty love.  Bring them to their knees in repentance, and make them into Your sons and daughters.  Father, pour out Your love on the victims of these attacks.  Comfort them in their pain, their sorrow, and their losses.  Fill their hearts with forgiveness and Your love for their attackers.  Let Your light shine in that dark place, and bring everlasting good out of this evil.  Show each of us what we can do to help the people of Nigeria.  In Your Eternal Name, Amen.

“James”: Columbia

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Two men on a motorcycle got Pastor “James” and his wife out of bed one evening recently, when they knocked on his door and asked him to help them repair their motorcycle.  As “James” was looking at the bike, he heard the men talking to his wife.  After asking her for her name, they shot her twice at point-blank range.  This family was the only Christian family in the village.  “James” and his two teenaged daughters have been moved to another location where they are being helped by Voice of the Martyrs.

Source:  Voice of the Martyrs

What you can do:

  • Pray for “James” and his 2 daughters.
  • Pray for the men who attacked his wife.
  • Pray for the government and the people of Columbia.

Father,  it seems like the attacks on Your people are constant, and yet wherever the persecution is harshest, more and more people are turning to You.  I thank You for the strength of Your people, for their patience, endurance, perseverance, and faith.  I ask You to pour out Your mercy and grace on “James” and his children as they deal with this irrational and horrific event.  You are the only One who can bring good out of evil, and I ask you to flood the hearts and minds of this family with good, which is the only thing that can overcome evil.  I pray for the men who caused this death–I ask You to convict them, torment them, as You pour out Your Spirit within them, to bring them out of darkness into the kingdom of love.  In Your kindness, lead them to repentance, and transform them into the image of Jesus.  Embrace Columbia, Lord, which is so torn apart by drug wars.  Give wisdom to the leaders of the country and lead them to a solution.  Bring peace to the people, and the true liberty of Your Spirit.