Iran Prayer Alert: Iranian Pastor Faces Execution
International Christian Concern urges immediate prayer for imprisoned Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani in Iran who received notification that he will be executed on charges of “apostasy” – conversion from Islam to Christianity – and is now awaiting the court’s final verdict.
Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, a church leader in Rasht, Iran, was arrested on October 13, 2009 for questioning the Islamic education practice of Christian students – including his own children – to be required to read the Quran in school. His execution, initially scheduled for October 24th, was postponed to an unknown date by security forces in hopes that Youcef will renounce Christ and return to Islam. Once the court’s final verdict is delivered, Pastor Youcef will have 20 days to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Pastor Youcef’s wife, Fatemeh Passandideh, was arrested on June 8 and sentenced to life imprisonment. However, after filing an appeal, she was released following a hearing on October 11th. Although his wife was acquitted, it is unlikely that Pastor Youcef will be granted the same relief as his Christian activity was more prominent and his charge more severe.
In a letter to the international Christian community, Pastor Youcef took courage and consoled believers around the world: “What we are bearing today, is a difficult but not unbearable situation, because He has not tested us more than our faith can endure… We must consider these bumps and prisons as opportunities to testify to His name.”
Pray for Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani – that he will trust and find courage in the Lord. Pray also that if it be God’s will, he will be released and if not, he will exemplify Christ and give God glory in his calling to suffer for the name of our Savior.
Pray for Pastor Youcef’s wife and two children – that God will sustain them during this period of great trial. And that they may remain strong in faith, and persevere in the face of tyranny and loss.
Pray for Iranian Christians – that they would not be intimidated or grow weary, but will continue to share the Gospel with courage and seek the Lord’s guidance and grace daily.