The Islamic Republic of Iran dominates the US news cycles again. There are conversations about sanctions, gas prices, and debates about political posturing. At Southeastern, Iran has a special place in our hearts for different reasons.
The first ever Southern Baptist missionaries to Iran, Dr. George, and Joanne Braswell were students on our campus and later came back to teach missions. Southern Baptists appointed George and Joanne in 1967 and sent them into Iran where they worked until the time of the Islamic Revolution. The book To Ride a Magic Carpet is a fascinating memoir of their time. The Braswells continue to be friends of the seminary and of our Center for Great Commission Studies.
SEBTS also has an initiative dedicated to the training and education for Iranians around the world. This initiative provides theological education in Farsi, the mother tongue of Iranians. As far as we can tell, this is the only opportunity in the world for Iranians to receive this type of training. You can find out more about our Persian Leadership Training Initiative here: https://www.sebts.edu/academics/gti/persian-initiative.aspx
As I read the news and listen to people talk about Iran, I thought it would be good to challenge Great Commission Christians to commit to pray for Iran for the next several weeks.
Here are several ways to pray:
1. Pray for the Gospel to Expand
We do not know how many Iranians believe in Jesus. The statistics vary. However, we do know that God seems to be doing a mighty work among these people. Many are hearing about Jesus and are putting their trust in him.
In 2 Thessalonians 3:1 the Apostle Paul asks the believers to pray that the word of the Lord would “speed ahead.” The image here is of an unencumbered runner reaching his maximum potential.
Let’s pray this for Iran. Despite the restrictions and persecutions, let’s pray that the Lord’s message will reach its maximum potential among these people.Let’s pray this for Iran. Despite the restrictions and persecutions, let’s pray that the Lord’s message will reach its maximum potential among these people. Click To Tweet
2. Pray for the People of Iran
There is an ancient proverb: “When the elephants fight, its the grass that suffers.”
The people of Iran are some of the most fun-loving, gregarious people on the planet. They dance, laugh, make music, write poetry, and cook fantastic food. But in seasons of political tension, they are the ones who suffer. If political sanctions are rolled out, the people will feel it. If governments retaliate, the people will receive the brunt of the pain.
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus shows us that the true neighbor is the one who looks beyond racial and religious distinctions and extends love. Most of us cannot physically care for the people of Iran. But we do serve a God who can bind the wounds, administer the healing balm, place people under his protection, and pay all the expenses.
Let’s pray for the people of Iran and ask the Lord to care for them.Most of us cannot physically care for the people of Iran. But we do serve a God who can bind the wounds, administer the healing balm, place people under his protection, and pay all the expenses. Click To Tweet
3. Pray for the Leadership of Iran
Two men head the different leadership structures of Iran:
- The President of Iran is Hassan Rouhani
- The Supreme Leader of Iran is Ali Khamenei
1 Timothy 2 calls us to pray for “kings and all who are in high positions, that we may live a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”
Please add these two men to your prayer list:
- Ask the Lord to guide them.
- Ask the Lord to give them wisdom, grace, and courage to lead.
- Ask the Lord to draw them to himself.
- Ask the Lord to use them to achieve His purposes and accomplish His mission.
Featured photo from IMB.