May 12, 2020
Mahnaz nervously rings the apartment door bell. As she’s quickly ushered in she sees a few well-worn Bibles and smiles on six familiar faces: She’s in the right place. This small Christian fellowship of new believers meets in a different home each week as part of their efforts to avoid detection.
They begin the meeting by singing worship songs, but quietly so as not to alert the neighbors. After worship, they share testimonies and then listen to a sermon online. The teaching, from Matthew 10, is hard-hitting: Jesus told his followers to expect to suffer for His name. Indeed, the preacher was himself forced into exile because of persecution. Mahnaz listens carefully. She already knows the risks and has decided Jesus is worth it.
Mahnaz is part of Iran’s rapidly growing house-church movement, which first emerged in the late 1990s. After decades of restrictions on church gatherings following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, church leaders realized the only way to continue sharing the gospel with Muslim-background Iranians was to operate in secret.
What began as a trickle has become a flood! Now, secret fellowships are forming weekly as the gospel spreads. It is not uncommon to hear of whole families coming to faith together.
Iran’s government responds harshly when a house church is discovered. Nevertheless, there are many like Mahnaz who are hungry to gather with other believers to learn more about their precious Savior. And as non- Christians see believers willingly suffering for their faith, the curiosity about Jesus only spreads wider.
IDEAS FOR PRAYER
1. BLESS new believers like Mahnaz as they grow in their faith, and pray for protection for their churches.
2. PRAY FOR peace, prosperity and stability in Iran, and for freedom for all Iranians to worship as they want.
3. PRAY FOR the authorities in Iran to be just towards Christians, and for Christians to be salt and light. (Matthew 5:13–16)
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