Rarely does a night pass without my wife and I praying for the Muslim world, and increasingly so for Iran. We are praying in agreement with millions of other Christians around the world.
I’m sure everyone knows that the world is moving toward a pivotal juncture in time. Iran’s leaders are aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons while simultaneously pledging to destroy Israel. Israel, on the other hand, has sworn that Iran will not get nuclear weapons. The watching world has increased crippling sanctions on Iran, but to no avail. It seems inevitable that these two nations will meet in a war that will leave few survivors.
America, meanwhile, has pledged to stand with Israel. The Muslim world knows America (and its European allies) are weakened economically and tired of war, yet the U.S. is resolved to face Iran militarily if sanctions do not stop Iran’s ambitions.
Though the stage is being set for a massive conflict, I do not believe this dreaded confrontation is inevitable. Let me explain: Islam is divided into two major sects. Approximately 80% of the Muslim world is Sunni and the rest mostly Shiites and some smaller sects. These two major groups have coexisted but have an historical hatred and mistrust for each other.
Iran is part of the smaller Shiite sect. Thus, Iran’s determination to develop nuclear weapons is not only a threat to Israel, but it is an unacceptable advantage that threatens most of the Sunni world. A nuclear Iran has the potential, not only to ignite a catastrophic war with Israel, but it could easily spread chaos and conflict throughout the Muslim world and beyond.
However, there is always a third component to determining the future, and that is the “God factor.” The fact is, in recent years Christianity has experienced explosive growth in Iran. I recently met by email a remarkable Iranian woman. Nasrin was born a Muslim in Iran; however, she found Christ through supernatural dreams and visions of Jesus, which led to her study of the Word of God. She now lives in the USA. In a recent email she said,
God is working in Iran in a mighty way. Before the 1979 Islamic revolution, there were approximately 500 known converts in Iran. However, today many mission leaders believe that now close to one million Iranian converts serve Christ in underground house churches. The Lord is exposing the dark side of Islam to the people in Iran and Jesus is being revealed through visions and dreams. People in Iran have come to associate Islam with hate and war, and they are opening their hearts to the Prince of Peace.Her testimony gives insight into one reason why Iran has been arresting Christians, especially pastors, as they try to slow down the rapid growth of the church in Iran.
Additionally, I had another experience with an Iranian who sat next to me on a flight to Atlanta. As he squeezed into the middle seat, he put a large book in the seat pocket in front of him. I thought the book was the Koran, so I began to talk with him about Islam. He interrupted me and said, “This is not a Koran, it is the Bible. I am an Iranian. Many of my fellow Muslims have become Christians. I too am interested in learning about Jesus.”
God is doing something in Iran. It is this divine initiative that gives me hope that a military option will not be needed. Therefore, I speak to you as people of prayer, faith and vision: let us join intercessors around the world in prayer for Iran! The focal point for our intercession should be the Muslim world in general, but in particular for the leaders of Iran. Let us also pray fervently for the church in Iran, and also Israel.
Can we dare to hope for such breakthroughs? Absolutely. It was not too long ago when the Soviet Union collapsed before our eyes. Since its fall more people have come to Christ worldwide than the sum of all conversions prior to its demise. We are close to the times of judgment, but we are not there yet. The Holy Spirit has yet to be poured out upon ALL nations (See Acts 2), and that includes the Muslim world!
I believe a great harvest is going to occur in the Muslim world. The first stage of an outpouring is the awakening of intercession in God’s people. Indeed, let us beseech the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into this harvest field, and beyond into the entire Islamic world. Let us, as followers of Jesus Christ, never forget the God factor when we pray about the future
*Nasrin Z. wrote an inspired book about her journey. You may be interested in buying a copy. It is called Passing Through the Fire: Pathway to Freedom and is available at both the Amazon and Barnes and Noble web sites.