Saeed Abedini and his family mourned an anniversary this week. Imprisoned by Iran because he is a Christian, Friday, September 26, 2014 marked Saeed’s second year of captivity. Iranian-born, Abedini is an American citizen—a pastor who went back to Iran (at the request of the government) to build an orphanage. Condemned for sharing his faith, Pastor Saeed’s imprisonment began with torture intended to force him to recant his faith. He refused, and by all accounts, continues to share the hope that lies within him. Saeed says the intent of his persecution is to shame Christ—and in a letter to supporters, he asks for prayers for himself to remain faithful—and he encourages all enduring hardship to do the same. Our prayers allow us the incredible privilege of sharing in the harvest of suffering with our brothers and sisters-in-Christ.
This week Franklin Graham (www.SamaritansPurse.org) and other national and international organizations issued special calls to prayer on Pastor Saeed’s behalf. In support of those requests and the multitude of needs in our world, an honest look at prayer weighs on my heart. Prayer is something we know we should do but like the father in scripture, sometimes we want to cry, “I believe, help me in my unbelief.” We know thousands prayed passionately for the ISIS captives recently murdered. We know millions have prayed, ‘thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,’ yet we see evidence of God’s will not being done every day. Countering those dreary, seeming truths, we know Jesus promised, ‘Ask anything in my name and it will be done.’ In fact, His name is “Yes and Amen.” Our key, then, is to ask in His name and know that greater things are happening that what we see.
The wonderful name of Jesus Christ is our key to the very will of God. The thoughts of God are higher than ours; His ways often not what we would choose. Jesus showed us the way in the Garden of Gethsemane. He poured his heart out to the Father and asked that the cup be taken from Him—IF it was the will of the Father. The will of the Father is that none should perish, and Jesus came to do His will. He trusted in the goodness of God when the path led to Golgotha. Job foreshadowed this perseverance with his words, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” Both Jesus and Job poured out their pain and held fast to their faith. We must do the same.
Yes and Amen prayers sprout from the soil of redemption. We must pray for Pastor Saeed and his family with the same passion and confidence in God’s good plan. God desires deliverance for every captive. It is His will to do good for the Pastor, his wife and their precious children. Our prayers play a part in strengthening our brothers and sisters-in-Christ as we wait together to see the glorious plans of God unfold.
For more on Pastor Saeed, you may wish to visit:
Excellent article on the need for fervent prayer. Our prayers ARE always heard. They are always answered… in God’s time…according to His will. Prayer builds our own spiritual muscles. It helps our faith to grow. We only know our what WE think should happen for the ones for whom we praying. God knows what will fulfill His purpose. Learning to trust the outcome to God is evidence that our faith is growing stronger.
Prayer changes things. It may not always change a situation. It is however, an encouragement to others. And it changes US.
Amen! I was reading this morning the passage of the widow before the unkind judge which ends with a question, ‘When Jesus returns, will he find faith?’ Our prayers evidence faith in His goodness. Pastor Saeed wrote a letter to his daughter that said ‘When you ask why, know the answer is who.’ We must know who God is and throw ourselves whole-heartedly on that. God has got it…whatever it is!