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Friday, June 23, 2006

Day 303 Forty Day ‘Pray for Iran’ Campaign.


We read in the Bible that our God is a defender of the poor, the widows, the orphans and the oppressed (Psalm 68), and there is no shortage of such people in Iran.

Despite sitting on an enviable wealth of oil and other national treasures, Iranians today are still grappling with the issue of poverty. Economic mismanagement, corruption and decades of trade sanctions have caused many people to continuously struggle to make ends meet. In 2002, nearly 40% of the population were living below the poverty line, and 7.3% (about were living on less than $2 a day. Most of the poor in Iran are living in small towns or villages, some of which still lack basic necessities such as electricity and clean drinking water.

Ironically, it was the poor who started the 1979 Islamic Revolution and helped sustain it. In fact, one of the main mottos of the revolution was the re-distribution of wealth. The Muslim clergy were promising people that they would take national assets out of the hands of the rich and distribute it among the poor and the oppressed. Yet, nearly three decades on, the poor and the oppressed still find themselves in the same situation.

The 8-year war with Iraq has also made matters worse. There’s hardly a family in Iran that did not lose a family member and many young women and children have become widows and orphans as a result of the war. This also means that a lot of families lost their breadwinner and have suffered. Though various charities in Iran aim to help such people, the help is often not enough.

One group which is particularly vulnerable in today's Iranian society is that of the families of prisoners. In addition to the social disgrace, many families also have to cope with the economic impacts of this. They also continue to suffer once their loved one is released, as it is usually very difficult for someone with a prison record to find a job.

So with this in mind, let us lift up the vulnerable in Iran before the Lord:

* Pray for those who are vulnerable to know the true God as their only true defender. Pray that as many of them are let down by those who claim to champion the cause of the poor, they will consider the claims of Jesus.

* Pray specially for the families of those who have loved ones in prison or who have a family member that has been executed. They are shunned by nearly everyone, and are exactly the sort of people Jesus came for.

* Pray for those who in desperation have turned to prostitution in order to earn money (there are an estimated 300,000 prostitutes in Iran). Pray they will come to know the Lord as their provider.

* Pray for the charities and aid groups working to alleviate the suffering of the oppressed. Pray specially for the Christian groups who are showing the love of Jesus in this very practical way.

Thank you for standing in prayer for Iran.

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