As time passes, the news cycle ebbs and flows with the tide of public interest. Often, a major injustice has only five minutes of fame while people rally around its cause. But, it soon fades out of the public eye, though it remains just as severe an injustice as the day it was discovered.
For my husband Saeed Abedini, nearly three years have passed since he faced the initial injustice of an arrest on account of his faith in Jesus Christ. Unlike an ordinary news story that fades into a distant memory, I know that Saeed’s suffering is never far from the hearts and minds of his brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. For that, I am grateful.
My husband and the father of our two children left for Iran in June of 2012. He travelled back to Iran to finalize work on an orphanage we were building. But days before he returned to our family, Iranian revolutionary guards detained him and said he must face criminal charges because of his Christian faith. In January 2013, an Iranian court sentenced him to eight years imprisonment.
He has now served just over two and a half years of his eight-year sentence but still clings to the knowledge that God is with him and that the church prays for him continually. God still answers our constant prayers by giving Saeed physical, mental and emotional strength, as well as peace despite his circumstances.
Saeed was initially arrested because of his Christian faith, but as Iran began negotiations with the world regarding its nuclear development, he has become entangled in a greater political battle. Because of this, it is important that we continue to pray. We must pray for our leaders sitting at the negotiating table with Iran. We must also pray for the hearts of the Iranian authorities who continue to detain him.
For the last two anniversaries of Saeed’s imprisonment, Christians have gathered across the nation and around the world to unite in prayer for him. This year, on September 26, 2015, we will once again gather in churches, parks and in front of government buildings to ask God to protect and provide for Saeed while he is in prison and to bring about his speedy release.
Whether you are a community leader or have never led a meeting of any kind before, you are invited to host a prayer vigil in your town on September 26 to help facilitate unified prayers on Saeed’s behalf. For more information on how to host a prayer vigil in your town or to register a vigil location, please go to saeedvigil.com.
God has given Saeed and our family strength throughout his imprisonment, and he has made our prayers an important part of His work. As we pray, God comes to Saeed’s aid and also brings believers into a closer relationship with himself and each other. While it might be easy to let Saeed’s situation fade away like an old news story or disappear behind the pressing concerns of our day-to-day lives, don’t miss the opportunity to be part of what God is doing in Saeed and the church as a whole. Please continue persevere in prayer for Saeed, others who are persecuted for their faith, and religious freedom in countries around the world.