Article Mar 4, 2015

Prayer, fasting and the persecuted Church

Over the last few years we have heard so much disturbing news regarding Christian persecution. Unfortunately my husband, Saeed Abedini, continues to be part of that news as he suffers for the third consecutive year in the notorious Iranian prison because of his Christian faith.

I have traveled the world and spoken in front of the United Nations, the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, the European Parliament, the Dutch Parliament and our own Congress. I have spoken multiple times before media (such as Fox News and CNN) and before hundreds of churches. I have spent every waking hour thinking of what the next step is that I should take in order to free my husband from one more day in that horrible prison.

Fasting for Saeed’s release

Recently, I was reminded of biblical examples of what servants of God did when they heard bad and disheartening news. What was the very first thing Nehemiah did? Or Esther? Or Daniel?

They prayed and fasted. They went to the one source that they knew held the world, governments and king’s hearts in his hands. They went before the King of kings.

On January 6, by the leading of the Holy Spirit, I started a 21-day fast (from pleasurable food based on Daniel 10), praying for a breakthrough. I asked my friends to join me on this journey. Every time that I would start praying about Saeed and my needs, the Lord would whisper for me to draw close to him and that he would take care of the rest (Matt. 6:33).  

The Lord’s amazing answer

Two weeks into the fast I heard that President Obama was coming to Boise. Why would the president come to Boise, Idaho, of all places, especially one day after his State of the Union address? Again, I asked my friends to join me in fasting from all food for three days (as Esther did) that the Lord would grant me to have a meeting with the president on his very short visit to Boise. On day three of the “Esther” fast, I got a call from the White House that my request of meeting with the president was granted.

After two and a half years of trying to meet with the president and having had traveled multiple times to Washington, D.C., with the hopes of meeting with the president, the Lord brought him to me. My meeting with President Obama was above and beyond my expectations, and I shared with him that it was through united prayer and fasting that that the Lord set up that meeting.

Soon after that meeting, there was a lot of movement and many calls with the State Department. A meeting was set with the Ambassador at Large for Religious Freedom for February 27. The Lord opened the door and has given me the platform I’ve prayed for in speaking out about Saeed’s imprisonment and for thousands of Christians who are persecuted across the globe.

Taking the first step

Over the last few weeks I have thought about the meeting with President Obama often and how encouraging it was to see God’s hand in arranging the meeting. I have wondered how many times we try everything before we decide to spend time in prayer. How much time have we spent worrying about circumstances around us instead of spending time laying prostrate before the Lord and interceding for our persecuted brothers and sisters, for our leaders, for our country? The first step is always prayer. Then, the Lord opens doors for us to step into in ministering to our persecuted brothers and sisters and in reaching the lost world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

ERLC2018