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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Day 24 Forty Day ‘Pray for Iran’ Campaign.

Natural or man-made disasters never seem to be far from Iran, and as a consequence there are millions of shattered lives. So today we want to bring these precious people before the throne of grace.

In terms of caring for refugees, Iran is actually one of the world's unsung heroes. Because of various wars since the 1980’s in neighbouring Afghanistan and Iraq, more than 2 million Afghans and Iraqi Kurds have fled to Iran as refugees, and for some time now Iran has hosted the second largest refugee population in the world, after Pakistan. It has done this with little assistance from the international community.

Iran has always provided good camps for the refugees to live, and the Iranian Red Crescent has often co-operated with the Iranian church to help provide for the needs of these displaced people. While most Kurds were able to return to Iraq after the end of the first Gulf war, most Afghan’s have remained in Iran.

Iran has also experienced several major earthquakes in recent years. In December 2003, a huge earthquake in Bam killed over 40,000 people in just 12 seconds. In February 2005, a devastating earthquake in Zarand left 612 people dead and thousands injured and homeless, while in March of this year 70 people were killed and tens of thousands made homeless by an earthquake in Lorestan.

Iran lies on numerous faults and earthquakes seem increasingly commonplace. According to official figures there have been 17 earthquakes in the last 12 months of magnitude five or greater. The major concern is for Tehran, and experts expect an earthquake will hit the capital city. If it is powerful enough, they believe more than one million people could be killed.

Finally, we cannot forget the 1980-1988 war with Iraq which killed one million people. Thousands that were severely injured or maimed, and left with deep psychological scars are still suffering.

So let us now pray for refugees and the victims of wars and disasters in Iran:

* Pray that the God of all comfort will touch the lives of those who are still suffering. Pray they will not be forgotten and ask the Lord to send His people to bring comfort, hope and healing.
* Pray for all aid workers in Iran and emergency services such as the Red Crescent that they would be effective in their work and be prepared for any future disasters.
* Pray that the Church will continue to provide bold and compassionate service to refugees and victims of disasters. Pray that those who are suffering will come to know the Lord God as their refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.
* Pray for Tehran, that God in His mercy will spare the city from great disaster.

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