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Saturday, June 03, 2006

Day 10 Forty Day ‘Pray for Iran’ Campaign.

One issue that Christians often discount is economics. The abuses of "prosperity preachers" who claim Jesus will make you rich if you just have the right faith, and the social gospel preachers who diminish the great commission into a political activism that does nothing for the individual's soul, have repulsed many from considering economics as a subject of prayer. The reality is anything that adds stress to the lives of people should be an object of prayer as it is a concern of God.
Iran has all the ingredients for a very successful, burgeoning economy. It holds 10% of the world's crude oil reserves, and in terms of natural gas is second only to Russia. It is also rich in other natural resources such as copper, zinc and silver. Furthermore, Iran’s young workforce is the envy of most developed countries in the world who are struggling to find a way to cope with the economic impacts of rapidly aging populations. Due to persistently high oil prices, Iran has a huge budget surplus, and the International Monetary Fund estimates that Iran's GDP will grow at least 6% during this year and the next.

And yet, Iran today has one of the world's poorest economic records when it comes to inflation and unemployment. The government's monopoly on the economy means that there is very little competition among producers, resulting in the poor quality of products and ever-increasing prices. Also, huge state subsidies mean that the country's firms are inefficient and unlikely to be able to withstand foreign competition should Iran decide to open up its domestic markets. The situation is made worse by decades of US-imposed sanctions and trade restrictions.

Unemployment (officially at 11%, but unofficially higher) is also a big issue. More than 50% of Iranians are under the age of 25, and with so many young people looking for work, Iran must create 1 million new jobs every year just to keep the unemployment rate at its present level. Unemployment has created many social problems, including crime and drug addiction.

So today let us bring the economic situation in Iran before the Lord:

* Pray for a radical change in Iran that would lead to a more prosperous economy as well as the lifting of sanctions which have inevitably compounded the misery of the average Iranians. Pray that Iran will become a blessing to the world economy.
* Pray for the unemployment issue, especially among the country's youthful population. Lack of job prospects has caused many Iranians to feel depressed, and some have sought refuge in satanic cults and drugs. Pray that they would hear about the hope in Jesus and turn to Him as their true refuge.
* Pray for the new believers who often lose their jobs and suffer economic hardship once their Christian faith is known to their employers. Pray that God would open up new doors for them. Pray also for projects to enable such Christians start their own businesses.

With many thanks again for your prayers.

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