27 October 2012

A Great Harvest In The Middle East!

A few weeks ago, Iranian security forces raided a prayer meeting in Shiraz, South Iran. Church members were threatened and several leaders arrested and detained at a Ministry of Intelligence detention centre. This is just the latest incident in a series of harassments against Christians in Iran. According to the organisation, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, there has been an alarming rise in detentions of members of evangelical house churches in Iran. Most were interrogated for lengthy periods, suffering verbal and sometimes physical abuse. Many were released after questioning, but some have spent weeks or months in prison, suffering repeated interrogations, sleep deprivation, solitary confinement, and pressure to inform on others and abandon their faith. It is believed that the Islamic leadership are concerned about the growth of the house churches in Iran and the numbers of Muslims converting to Christianity. The church in Iran and throughout the Middle East need our prayers. As has so often happened throughout history, times of persecution are bringing about a harvest of new believers. God is moving, drawing both the children of Ishmael and the children of Isaac back to himself.

Iranian House Church
In Israel, the population is also concerned about Iran - particularly the Iranian government and the increasingly aggressive threats coming their way. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has, since 2005, declared his intention to wipe the people of Israel from the pages of history. The continued development of Iran's nuclear program has certainly added a very serious note to the verbal threat. The believers in Israel, both Arab and Jewish are watching the news and standing together to pray for God's mercy and deliverance from the hand of Iran. Messianic Jews and Christian Arabs alike believe the tensions with Iran will lead to a great harvest in Israel, with many coming to faith from both Jewish and Muslim backgrounds.

Rania Sayegh, is an Arab Christian and intercessor from Nazareth. She has been praying about the situation with Iran for many years. From the first time she read in the news about Ahmadinejad's desire to destroy Israel, she felt an urgency to pray. During prayer, the Lord gave her a picture of a large creature rising up over Iran. She wanted to fight the creature in her vision but the Lord said, 'Don't war: worship, because this is my war, not your war.' As she began to worship, the creature in her vision shrank and crumbled.



Prayer Meeting at HOPE, Nazareth
Rania is the director of HOPE (House of Prayer and Exploits), which she established to encourage and facilitate regular prayer and worship meetings. She has a passion for revival in her nation and especially for her home town of Nazareth. HOPE has been training up intercessors to be watchmen on the walls of Nazareth and to pray for His purposes in the Land of Israel and to worship Him. Every month they hold 24 hour worship and prayer watches. The intercessors at HOPE are praying for a great harvest among the Arab peoples in Israel and around the Middle East, and also amongst their Jewish cousins.

The Middle East has seemed lately to be in more turmoil than usual.  A TV news reporter commenting recently on the unrest in Lebanon, said that the local people could not plan ahead a month or even a week because they had no idea what was going to happen. Political unrest has been erupting all over this region. There is a shaking of established structures and uncertainty in the Middle East. Could God use this situation to provoke the greatest harvest we have ever seen in the Arab Muslim nations? Will hostilities between Iran and Israel also cause a great turning of Jewish Israelis to their Messiah?

The believers in Israel believe this next season is going to be very intense:
  • Pray for courage and strength for the local believers in Israel, Iran and the other Middle East nations. 
  • Pray that the church will keep on praising, worshipping & interceding for the salvation of their nations. 
  • Pray that the Congregations and Home Groups will be ready to receive a great harvest!
  • Pray for the Arab Muslims in the Middle East, that their eyes will be opened to see the truth. 
  • Pray for a great turning of the Jewish people to their Messiah in Israel
  • Pray for many hearts to be prepared and open to receive the Good News. 
  • Pray for workers prepared and ready to gather the harvest.