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During Secret Church, we highlight a specific country or people group where Christians experience significant challenges or even persecution for following Christ.
The church in Iran is under constant attack.
Christians are routinely discriminated against, imprisoned, or sometimes even killed for their faith. Although the Iranian constitution recognizes minority religions that are historically common to Iran, Christians and other minorities face harsh restrictions and penalties. Churches are not allowed to preach or distribute materials in the official Iranian language. Sharing the gospel, especially with a Muslim, is strictly forbidden and heavily monitored.
The Islamic Revolution of 1979 ushered in a new Islamic Republic that condemned Christianity as a Western influence and a threat to Islamic Iran. Since the revolution, Christians have lived under strict Islamic laws and have been subject to widespread persecution. In 2017 Open Doors ranked Iran as #8 on their World Watch List for Christian persecution, labeling the persecution as “extreme.”
Christians make up less than one percent of Iran’s more than 81 million people. Muslims who convert to Christianity are declared apostates and face the harshest persecution. Though a handful of churches exist openly in Iran, most believers worship in underground house churches.
Despite all of this, the church in Iran is thriving.
Known Christians in Iran in 1979 numbered less than 500, but now conservative estimates place that number at over 300,000. Despite the efforts of the Islamic Revolution, Iranians have become increasingly disillusioned with Islam due to political and economic hardships. Open hostility to evangelical Christians caused much greater interest in the faith among Iranians, contributing to the growth of house churches. Though they face the harshest penalties, the number of Muslims coming to Christ in Iran continues to grow steadily.
Our brothers and sisters in Christ in Iran need our prayers. Join with us as we ask God to sustain their faith and empower their witness in the midst of extreme persecution. We are praying that, through the proclamation of the gospel, many Iranians would put their faith in Jesus Christ.
In the weeks before Secret Church, we will be sharing more about how God is at work in Iran. We encourage you to follow the Radical blog for these stories and specific ways to Pray for Iran.
During the month of May, we invite your church or small group to join us in a 31-day prayer emphasis for Iran. We will provide additional resources for you to use throughout May.