It has been months since the protests started in Iran, and there is no end in sight. Demonstrations began after word spread that Mahsa Amini died on September 16 after being taken into custody by the Iranian morality police for wearing a headscarf incorrectly. Three days after she had been arrested, she sustained a fatal head injury allegedly dealt by police through severe beatings.
Since protests began, Iranian police have arrested over 18,000 protesters. Although many are facing harsh persecution, God is moving in powerful ways to draw people to Himself. The persecuted church is growing rapidly and scared people are experiencing peace from a loving God for the first time!
Iranian Leaders Call for Harsh Persecution of Protesters
Though it’s difficult for people not experiencing religious persecution to understand the situation, it’s important to note that Iran’s situation is about to worsen. According to state-run Press TV, 227 of 290 members of parliament signed a letter calling for swift consequences for protestors to deter dissent from spreading. The letter reads, “We, the representatives of this nation, ask all state officials, including the judiciary, to treat those, who waged war [against the Islamic establishment] and attacked people’s life and property like the Daesh [terrorists], in a way that would serve as a good lesson in the shortest possible time,”
To put this into action, Iran’s parliament voted to execute their political prisoners who are being punished for merely speaking up against the severely corrupt regime. Their resistance against the Iranian army is to object to the religious persecution being inflicted by political leaders. Protests include demonstrations by women burning their headscarves or cutting their hair to rebel against unjust Iranian laws. Among these women are leaders of the persecuted church. God is using women to lead His movement of raising up this next generation of believers. Men and boys have also joined in speaking out against the trampling of human rights. Unfortunately, the Iranian government responded to this with violence and have killed thousands more, including more than 60 innocent children.
Guards Marry Child Brides for Legal Loopholes
Many minors are included among the 18,000 political prisoners. Under Iranian law, it is illegal to execute a minor who is still a virgin. So, to usurp this law and create legal loopholes, they are scheduling wedding ceremonies the night before the girls’ sentences. The girls will be forced to marry the prison guards and then forcibly raped to ensure they are no longer virgins.
A government claiming to uphold laws of morality is willing to inflict horrendous atrocities on innocent victims in order to maintain power and control over its people. The people of Iran are seeing the hypocrisy of Islamic leaders and are beginning to question the religion itself.
Persecution Intensifies in Iran, but God is More Powerful
The Iranian government is desperate and willing to resort to threats and violence to maintain control. Circumstances like these would easily warrant fear, but the persecuted church is experiencing a peace that passes all understanding and are not only leaning on God, but on each other as well. Their community and fellowship are growing, leading them to meet in secret so they will not be found by the Iranian regime. Because they have seen God move in powerful ways again and again, they know that He is with them. He is mighty to save, upholding them with His righteous right hand.
As the church in Iran remains faithful, they are not praying for the persecuted church to cease. Instead, they see it as a gift to keep their hearts pure. Difficult circumstances keep them on their knees in prayer and fasting. They are growing closer to the Father and experiencing intimate moments of His presence. The Holy Spirit is moving! He is appearing in dreams, visions, and powerful encounters. Though His heart is grieved by evil, He is using the circumstances to draw people to Him. They know that they could be raped, tortured, kidnapped, abused, or murdered for their faith, and yet they press on. Instead of begging for it all to end, they plead with God to help them suffer well.
“The revolution started in Iran in order to flee from the security agents. People would run into random homes for protection. One time when my father and I were home alone, some security agents came to our apartment building. I was asleep and the security agents entered our apartment looking for two young men. They found the young men outside and killed them near the entrance to our apartment building. My father went out to see if he could protect or help the young men. There was blood everywhere and everyone was screaming and I was scared so much so that I had a seizure out of all the fear.
The security agents took my father to an undisclosed place for one week and afterwards they took him to the desert to kill him. At that point my father begged them to let him speak to me, his daughter and they felt sorry for him. So they gave my father’s location to my uncle and left him in the desert. When my uncle picked him up and brought him back home, he had been severely beaten, his whole body covered in blood and he was seriously injured…When these recent events began to happen in Iran I would relive those days and became very upset and lost my peace. Then I read the story of Christ and I understood who he was and why he came. It became clear to me why God kept me. Since my childhood, I didn’t want to be alive. Christ saved me.”Underground Church Leader
Pray for the Persecuted Church
As things heat up in Iran, there is no better time to join with the persecuted church prayers. We can pray for strength and endurance in their suffering, and we can even ask that God would hide them in plain sight as He did for Jesus in John 8:59. God has been so faithful to the underground church, but just imagine what else He might do through these prayers!
He has more power than any government or army, and His heart is compassionate toward the persecuted and oppressed. The most powerful counter-movement Christians across the globe can join in is a movement of prayer. Throughout history, God has toppled corrupt governments and performed mighty miracles through the prayers of His people.
How You Can Be a Light in the Darkness
Be a light in the darkness. Help make disciples in the darkest places like Iran and Afghanistan. Global Catalytic Ministries teaches and trains disciple-makers to listen to the voice of God and obey Him. The result of an effective disciple is that they are reproducible, they can stand alone without human leadership, are highly obedient to Christ, and they love God so much that nothing else matters.
Because of donors partnering with what God is doing, the persecuted church has grown from 750 to 1,400 churches planted and operating in 10 to 16 countries in the last year alone. This is a supernatural movement and we believe this is only the beginning. With the rise of civil war in Iran and the continued hunting of Christians in Afghanistan, the world is ready for an encounter with the hope of Jesus. We are asking everyone to prayerfully consider partnering with what God is doing and light up the darkness together.
Your gifts help…
- Plant new church in harsh environments
- Develop access into new countries
- Train new believing indigenous leaders
- Support our indigenous core Disciple-Makers to disciple, bring relief, train, and plant churches
- Provide families housing, food, transportation, and additional supplies
- Distribute Humanitarian Medical Aid Packages
- Help provide secured communications for the underground church
- And so much more…
As you pray for the persecuted church, would you consider investing in this campaign to provide practical resources, protection, and leadership as they navigate unprecedented times? Your gift of $20 or $200 can make all the difference for a Christian with nowhere else to go.