[Prayed during the worship services at All Saints Presbyterian Church on 3/22/15]
Christ our Savior,
We thank you for making yourself known to people around the world, often in wonderful and miraculous ways. We rejoice that so many people, even from the most hostile places, are turning to you. Like a brother or sister welcomes a new baby into the family, so too we are happy to have new sisters and brothers join our family all around the world.
It does break our heart, though, that so many are born into hostile places where their love for you brings with it a threat to their safety. We fear for our friends whose health and lives are under attack because they are your people. Please comfort and encourage them, even in the midst of persecution. Please make them stand out as bright lights in dark places.
We pray specifically for our brother and fellow Boisean, Saeed Abedini. Please protect his body from the physical abuse that he is enduring. Heal the internal bleeding that has persisted throughout his imprisonment. Protect his mind, we pray. And make him able to continue to share with others his love for you.
We marvel at the number of guards and fellow prisoners, some even hardened men who have done vicious things, but have now turned to you and submitted their lives to you because of their interactions with Saeed. We celebrate our new Iranian brothers and welcome them into our family! And we look forward to hearing about others who will follow them into faith in you, even from places like Rajai Shahr prison.
In the meantime, please be with Naghmeh and all their family. Protect and encourage them until Saeed’s return. Give them all great confidence in your goodness and strength. Build their faith in you, Jesus our King.
We know that there are many other Christians like Saeed, with similar stories who are similarly being used by you in hard places around the world. We pray that you would build them up even while others are trying to tear them down. Expand their influence even while others are trying to limit it.
Remind them continually that you are Emmanuel, God with us. We most often think of that name at Christmas time, but it’s not your name only at Christmas, it’s your name all the time! You never stop being Emmanuel, and we ask that you would fill our sisters and brothers with confidence that you are Emmanuel, God with us, even now in the midst of their struggle.
May your Kingdom come, throughout all the earth — even the hardest places — as it is in heaven. Amen.