Iran is a country where the persecution of Christians has been described as “extreme.” As an Islamic Republic, Iran’s government sees Christianity as a Western influence and a threat to Iran’s Islamic identity, resulting in continual persecution of the country’s few but growing Christians. Believers are often discriminated against in jobs and schools, imprisoned, or even killed for their faith. Muslims who convert to Christianity often face the worst of this persecution.
Yet, the church in Iran continues to grow. Muslims continue to turn from Islam to Christ. House churches continue to spring up all over the country.
How is this growth taking place? How can you pray for the church in Iran?
Below is a short list of characteristics of the church in Iran today. Take a moment to read these and pray for our brothers and sisters who face daily persecution for their identification with Christ.
House Church Growth
Only a handful of Iran’s churches operate publicly, and these are heavily monitored. Most of the “overground” churches must adhere to the government’s strict ban on evangelizing Muslims. However, the majority of Christians in Iran meet in underground house churches, especially Muslims who place their faith in Christ. Interestingly enough, these secret churches are contributing exponentially to the growth of Christianity in Iran. House churches must operate in small numbers and multiply once they grow too large to avoid detection, resulting in multiple house churches in multiple areas reaching even more people for Christ.
Please pray for the continued growth of house churches in Iran and for house church leaders to be raised up all over the country.
Satellite TV Evangelism
Satellite TVs are banned in Iran, but some estimates say that millions of people have satellite TV access. Christian programs are able to gain access to homes that would not be reached otherwise, spreading the message of Christ far and wide in Iran. Thousands of people have responded to these messages.
Please pray for Christian TV programs to continue to reach millions in Iran and for new believers to become part of house churches.
Despite the efforts of the Islamic Republic, political, economic, and spiritual turmoil in Iran has caused many Iranian Muslims to become disillusioned with Islam, leading them to explore other options. Hearts are open to the gospel message and people often receive Scripture with joy. Many times when one family member comes to faith in Christ, the family will follow. In 1979 when the Islamic revolution took place, Iran had an estimated 500 or fewer believers. Today believers number more than 300,000 and are growing steadily.
Please pray for continued openness to the gospel in Iran and for more Muslims to turn to faith in Christ.
Churches outside of Iran's capital, Tehran, face the most opposition, as fundamentalist forces hold more power in rural areas. Many towns and villages are without churches. Internet and satellite TV programs have begun to change this statistic, and young Iranian Christians are boldly making progress in taking the gospel to rural areas.
Please pray for Iranians who are spreading the gospel among rural areas to be bold and reach many for Christ.
Iran is the prayer focus for Secret Church 17. In addition to praying for the persecuted church in Iran during the Secret Church 17 simulcast, this will be our prayer focus throughout the month of May.