Prayer Vigil Set
Christians around the world will participate in a prayer vigil Sept. 26 to remember the third anniversary of the incarceration of American pastor Saeed Abedini in an Iranian prison.
Abedini is a native of Iran who left the Middle East nation in 2005 and became an American citizen in 2010. He settled in Boise, Idaho, with his wife Naghmeh. They have two young children, Rebekka and Jacob.
In 2012, Abedini returned to Iran in an effort to start an orphanage. Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces detained him. In 2013, an Iranian court convicted Abedini of intending "to undermine national security" because more than a decade earlier he had gathered with other Christians for a home Bible study. He received an eight-year sentence and is being held in Rajai Shahr Prison, which is notorious for holding murderers and rapists.
Naghmeh has been working tirelessly in an effort to free her husband, enlisting support from the American Center for Law and Justice. The ACLJ says Abedini has faced beatings, intimidation from both guards and fellow inmates, been placed in solitary confinement, and has been targeted for his Christian faith. The organization, working with an Iranian human rights agency, says Abedini has sustained injuries in prison requiring surgeries that haven't been performed.
In a recent letter, Naghmeh Abedini made U.S. Assemblies of God General Superintendent George O. Wood aware of the third annual global prayer vigil. She is asking church leaders to join her in prayerful petition before God for Saeed's release by hosting prayer vigils at noon local time on Sept. 26.
In a return letter, Wood expressed regret that President Obama didn't insist on the return of Saeed and three other Americans in prison as part of the pending U.S. Congress nuclear agreement with Iran.
"Thank you for the way in which you have conducted yourself during this unbelievably difficult three years," Wood wrote to Naghmeh. "We are all praying that the prison doors will open soon for Saeed."
"We continue to hold up Saeed Abedini in prayer, as well as the many Iranian pastors who face persecution," says Omar Beiler, Assemblies of God World Missions regional director for Eurasia. "We encourage prayer partnership with as many believers as possible. May this be the year Saeed is released, and may the gospel reach more Iranians than ever before."
More than 600 prayer vigils occurred on the anniversary last year. Those interested in organizing a prayer vigil this month should visit this site. There also is a Facebook page for prayer for Abedini.