Posts Tagged ‘the suffering church’

Please Pray for Youcef Nadarkhani who has been sentenced to Death in Iran

July 8, 2011

How shocked I was to hear that Youcef Nadarkhani, a 34 year-old pastor from Rasht in Iran who has been jailed since 2009, could be executed at any time. Youcef left Islam to be a Christian when he was still a teenager and later became pastor to a small evangelical church known as the Church of Iran. Married to Fatemah Pasindedih, he has two young sons aged six and eight. Because Youcef’s sons were being forced to learn the ways of Islam at school, he decided to protest about the matter and as a result of this the secret police called him before a political tribunal where the original charge was for protesting. Later those charges were changed to apostasy and the evangelising of Muslims.

The latest news is that Youcef could face execution by hanging within hours or days. Previously many relatives of victims of this regime have discovered that their loved ones were murdered without their knowledge and they were never even allowed access to their bodies after death.

Please pray also for Youcef’s family and others who may be in a similar position right now. Rumours that the death sentence has been annulled are unlikely to be true, according to those who have known about such cases in the past. It is more likely that Youcef has been given an ultimatum: “renounce your faith or face execution.”

If we are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we too could quite possibly be asked to renounce our faith some day – but praise God for the strength that He gives His children under such horrific circumstances.

In John 16v2 we read these words: “…yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God a service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.” (John 16v2&3)

We live in days when the forces of evil are slowly creeping into societies where freedom of choice in matters of faith have previously been taken for granted. Oh, that we would be vigilant and pray for the societies we live in, as this subtle erosion of civil and religious liberties spreads like a cancer across a complacent world.

The days are closing in, the signs of our times are evident and we must “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear…” (1Peter 3v15)

Let us never forget all those across the world who suffer for their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, in the knowledge that it is quite possible that we too may suffer such things in time to come. We must act as we feel led by the Lord… write to authorities, embassies, political representatives, create awareness… but above all we must pray (and encourage others to pray) at all times for all our suffering brothers and sisters in the Lord, including Youcef Nadarkhani, his wife Fatemah and their little sons in Iran at this terrible time in their lives.

“Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.” (Hebrews 13v3)