The Persecution Of Pastor Saeed

Saeed-Canyon-Text2If you watch the news at all you are aware of Pastor Saeed Abedini’s story. Pastor Saeed is an Iranian-American pastor who is a convert from Islam. He was imprisoned by the Iranian government in 2012. He was charged with “compromising national security” (though it is believed it was because of his Christian faith.)

What Happened…

Pastor Saeed began opening “house churches” in Iran in the early 2000’s. It is estimated that he helped to establish about 100 house churches in 30 Iranian cities (having more than 2,000 members.) In 2005, when Mahmoud Abmedinejad was elected President of Iran, Pastor Saeed and his wife moved back to the U.S. because of the danger to their lives because of their faith.

Pastor Saeed became an ordained minister as well as an American citizen in 2008. He visited Iran many times over the years to visit with his family. He and his wife made their home in the U.S. and have two children. In 2012, Pastor Saeed went to Iran for a visit with his family and to help build an orphanage in Rasht. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps took his passports and placed him on house arrest. Later, he was transferred to Evin Prison.

In early 2013, he went to trial as stated above (though he was captured in late 2012). He was sentenced to eight years in prison by the Iranian government and was transferred to the Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj (one of the most violent and harsh prisons in Iran.)

Pastor Saeed has been beaten and tortured for his faith in Jesus. This man of God is in prison. Not just any prison, but one of the harshest and violent prisons in Iran. His faith in God put him there.

He stands firm in his faith and now he sits in a prison cell.

This reminds me of the apostle Paul. He suffered so much for his faith in Jesus. His suffering never deterred him from living a Christian life. Just like Pastor Saeed converted from Muslim, Paul (formerly Saul) converted to Christianity as well. Paul despised Christians before he came to Jesus. He persecuted them, tortured them, and cursed them. But, God used him in a mighty way to spread the Word. Paul is one of the greatest evangelists of all time.

Paul said, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10, NIV)

Paul was imprisoned for his faith a few times. God was always with him though. Pastor Saeed is suffering for his faith as well. Many others have been imprisoned for their faith throughout history as well. I see the comparison between Paul and Pastor Saeed as significant because neither one of them has ever denied their faith to save their lives. Paul even went so far as to become a martyr. He was beheaded in in Rome after his last imprisonment.

I pray that Pastor Saeed does not become a martyr but is reunited with his wife and children. But, we are all called to walk a life of faithfulness to God. It makes me wonder if I would deny the Lord to save myself. I pray that we never have to make that decision. Christians are being persecuted all over the world. Pastor Saeed is one of many Christians who are in the midst of the battle for Christ.

Paul traveled tirelessly throughout the world spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles. Pastor Saeed, knowing the dangers of being a Christian in Iran, still went back with the message of hope through Jesus. He did not stop because of fear for his life. He kept his faith and is still keeping his faith in prison.

Just as God gave Paul strength, wisdom, and endurance, I believe He will give Pastor Saeed the same. One of Paul’s most famous quotes is, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phillipians 4:13, NKJV).

We get strength from God, not from ourselves.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. ” (2 Timothy 4:7, NIV)

Pray for Pastor Saeed

Keep praying for Pastor Saeed. Keep believing that he will be released from prison. God IS with him and IS for him. Part of being Christian is defending the faith. That is exactly what Pastor Saeed is doing. He is keeping the faith and no matter what any person does to him on this earth, his reward is in Heaven.

*Image belongs to

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