Pray for Iran and the Iranian People

Iran documentary by Rick Steves
This is a nice documentary by Rick Steves on Iran.  Tears came to my eyes when the man from his car said, “Your heart is very kind.” and “We wish the relationship between Iran and America become good.” (at the 27:16 mark)
We should pray for Iran and the Iranian people.  They generally and historically have good family values (although in recent years, there has been an upheaval in families because of the reactions of young people to the pressures of the Iranian government).  Iran has a rich and deep culture, amazing and beautiful architecture, art, profound poetry, many engineers and scientists, and a glorious history.  But many Iranians have fled Iran in recent years and have found much success in business and science and the arts in western countries also.  In my opinion, Iranians are the friendliest and most hospitable people in the world!  They have very delicious food also!
خیلی خوش مزه  (Khailee Khosh maze)
“Very delicious!”
Generally, Muslims fear and respect God and many of the non-fanatical Muslims have a kind of respect for God and family values that is similar to the Biblical idea of “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10)  They have this kind of worldview; that is a basic kind of 10 commandments morality.   Most Muslims just don’t know who Jesus really is (although Islam claims to know him and respect him) and don’t understand the gospel and don’t understand true Christianity; and in fact have been taught the wrong meanings of phrases like “the Son of God” and the Trinity and a wrong understanding of the crucifixion; a distortion of the purpose of Jesus’ atonement on the cross.
But in the past 30 years, many Iranian Muslims have become disillusioned with Islam and are open to Christ and His gospel.  God is working in many hearts as never before in history in the Muslim world!  Unfortunately, there has also been a lot of other reactions to the disillusionment with the government and these are also increasing – increase in atheism, skepticism, agnosticism, drugs, promiscuity, underground criminal activity, depression, etc.
May God bless them and protect the people of Iran, and the people of Israel from whatever the governments decide to do.
Iranians have a very interesting saying,
“siyasat pedar o madar nadareh”  سیاست پدر و مادر نداره
It means – “Politics has no father or mother”; meaning politics is illegitimate and mean and cruel and inhuman.
Pray also for the Jewish people and Israel. (Psalm 122; Romans chapter 11)
Pray for peace and that no war will happen.  God is sovereign (Proverbs 21:1; Ezra 1:1-4, Psalm 47:8-9; Daniel 2:19-23), and we don’t know the future as to what will happen, but we can still pray and hope for peace and no more wars in the Middle East.  People are tired and weary of these wars after Afghanistan and Iraq.
Just as God moved the heart of great kings of Iran like Cyrus کورش, (in Ezra chapter 1, Isaiah 44:28-45:1 ff) Dariush (English: Darius) the Great داریوش کبیر , (Ezra chapters 5- 6; Zechariah 1:1, Haggai 1:1)  and Artaxerxes  اردشیر  (Ardeshir)  (the book of Nehemiah; Malachi) to be kind to the Jews in their empire, we pray that God would again move in the hearts of Iranian leaders today to be kind to the Jewish people.
Maybe I am too idealistic.  The most idealistic prayer is to pray that the regime in Iran will change without any American or Israel intervention.   I am not completely naive, even if that should happen, the government of Iran will still blame everything on USA and Israel and England.
Pray that Muslims will be disillusioned with Islam and seek out the Injeel (the NT) and the Bible and read it, and that the Spirit of God will work in their hearts and change hearts. (Acts 16:14)   Muslims are people, created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-28) who need the love of God in Jesus Christ.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8
اما خدا محبت خود را نسبت به ما کاملآ ثابت کرده است زیرا در آن هنگام که هنوز گناهکار بونیم مسیح بخاطر ما مرد . رومیان ۸:۵
(Romans 5:8 in Farsi)
Pray for wisdom for the government leaders of USA, Iran, and Israel.  (I Timothy 2:1-5)
Israel is understandably concerned for its own existence.  Israel is so small, one nuclear strike would be a very devastating event.  At the time I originally wrote this article, Jewish people all over the world are reading from the book of Esther, as they celebrate the feast of Purim, where God used Esther to protect the Jews from the evil plots of wicked Haman.  In the end, God’s justice was done against evil Haman, and the Persian king ordered that the Jews be able to defend themselves; the Jewish people in the land of Israel were able to defend themselves.  It is interesting that the result of the events of God’s protection caused “many of the peoples of the land to become Jews” (Esther 8:17)  Pagan peoples converted to the true God!
Even though it seems very improbable, by human standards as we look at the world and the events and politics and we hear of “wars and rumors of wars” (Matthew 24:6); we can still pray for the leaders of USA and Iran and Israel that somehow they might come to hear and understand the gospel of Jesus Christ and be saved.  We wish God’s blessing on them, that they might know true repentance and faith in عیسی مسیح Jesus Messiah / Jesus Al Masih عیسی المسیح/ Yashua HaMashiakh ישׁוע המשׁיח (Jesus the Messiah) and come to know the true God, the God of the Bible, and have true peace (John 14:27; Romans 5:1-11).  Salvation from sin and guilt and hell is God’s greatest blessing.  USA leaders need salvation in Christ also.  We pray the somehow God will give them all wisdom on what to do.
Pray for the gospel to go forth with the power of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 4:31)  (2 Thessalonians 3:1-3)
Daniel 2:19-23
19 Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven;
20 Daniel said,
“Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever,
For wisdom and power belong to Him.
21 “It is He who changes the times and the epochs;
He removes kings and establishes kings;
He gives wisdom to wise men
And knowledge to men of understanding.
22 “It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And the light dwells with Him.
23 “To You, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise,
For You have given me wisdom and power;
Even now You have made known to me what we requested of You,
For You have made known to us the king’s matter.”
Proverbs 21:1
The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.
Ezra 1:1-4
1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying:
2 “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 3 Whoever there is among you of all His people, may his God be with him! Let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah and rebuild the house of the LORD, the God of Israel; He is the God who is in Jerusalem. 4 Every survivor, at whatever place he may live, let the men of that place support him with silver and gold, with goods and cattle, together with a freewill offering for the house of God which is in Jerusalem.’”
2 Thessalonians 3:1-3
“Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you,
2 and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith.
3 But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.”
Pray for the right priorities
We also pray that certain American churches and TV preachers will stop trying to predict the rapture and the Second coming of Christ, and instead focus on prayer, evangelism, missions, walking in the Spirit, sound doctrine, sober and careful exegesis of Scripture, and holiness.
Regarding His second coming at the end of time, Jesus clearly said, “no one knows the day or the hour” (Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32)
Jesus said that the Father has fixed in His authority the future events.  And Jesus said to the disciples “it is not for you to know the times or seasons which the Father has fixed by His own authority . . . ”  (Acts 1:6-8)
Even after the resurrection, it seems the disciples thought that now Jesus was going to lead a military expedition against the Romans and “restore the kingdom to Israel”.  (Acts 1:6)  While there is lots of scholarly debate over what Jesus mean by restoring the kingdom to Israel, Jesus said essentially, “no; you are focusing on the wrong thing”.   If God restores Israel to what it was under David and Solomon, that is up to the Sovereignty of God – “It is not for you to know the time or seasons which the Father has fixed by His own authority”.  What is clear is that Jesus clearly took the kingdom of God away from political and theocratic Israel in Matthew 21:43 – “the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and given to a nation producing the fruit of it.”  (see the whole parable in Matthew 21:33-46 and that the Pharisees and chief priests understood that Jesus was talking about them.  Remember Jesus’ words to Pilate:  “My Kingdom is not of this world, if it was of this world, My servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”  (John 18:36) Another thing that is clear for the church age is that churches are to put evangelism and witnessing and missions above the issues of politics, and trying to focus on and predict the end time events. (Acts 1:6-8)  Jesus in effect was saying, “I will give you a new kind of power and authority – not one of politics or military might, rather, a power to witness the gospel, to preach the gospel with boldness (Acts 4:31) and ability to live holy lives as you witness (I Peter 1:15-16; 2:12; 3:15; Ephesians 5:3-18; Galatians 5:13-26)

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