As Christians continue to face imprisonment in Iran due to their faith in Jesus Christ, we ask that you specifically remember the following believers in your prayers this week.
In mid-November, authorities arrested 32-year-old Ebrahim Hossin-Zadeh, a house church leader in the city of Shirza, after raiding his residence. Many of Ebrahim's personal belongings were confiscated -- including his books, cell phone and computer. The church leader, who converted to Christianity several years ago, was interrogated before being transferred to a detention centre. At last report, no further information had been provided to his family regarding his whereabouts or condition.
Meanwhile, authorities have increased Farshid Fathi's sentence by one year. Farshid, a house church leader who has already served more than four years of his original six-year sentence, will now have to endure three more years of incarceration. The increased sentence is reportedly related to a controversial security raid at Evin Prison that left the Christian man hospitalized with a broken leg and damaged joints. (For more information on these injuries, read a previous prayer alert.)
On a positive note, six-year prison charges placed against three Christian men were revoked in early December. Behnam Irani, Matthias Haghnejad and Silas Rabbani were initially charged with the capital offence of "spreading corruption on earth." Behnam and Matthias were later accused of "enmity of God." These charges were dropped and the men were instead tried for "action against national security" and "creating a network to overthrow the system." Matthias and Silas were released after the charges were dropped; however, Behnam remains imprisoned in Karaj where he is serving a previous one-year sentence for "action against the state" and a five-year sentence for "action against national security." (For more information on the trials these men have faced, go to this page.)
While praising God for the release of Matthias and Silas, let us remember in prayer the many others who remain imprisoned in Iran because of their faith. In particular, lift up Ebrahim, Farshid and Behnam to our gracious Heavenly Father, asking that He sustain and protect them as they languish in prison. Pray that the charges placed against them will be dropped and, as a result, they would soon be released! In the meantime, may they follow the Lord faithfully even while in chains, interceding for their fellow inmates and serving as effective testimonies. Additionally, ask God to encourage the hearts of these believers' loved ones as they navigate the legal system and try to go about their daily lives with His ongoing help and strength.