Naghmeh Abedini, whose husband has been imprisoned for his faith in Iran for nearly two years, is inviting Christians around the world to band together on Friday September 26 - the two-year anniversary of Pastor Saeed Abedini’s sentencing to an Iranian prison.
A prayer vigil outside the White House in Lafayette Park will kick off the global day of prayer for Pastor Abedini September 25 at 6 p.m. ET, the night before worldwide observances begin. Planned program participants include Naghmeh; Franklin Graham, President and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association; Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ); and others.
On Friday, more than 400 vigils in 30 countries and territories will gather thousands to pray for the safe release of Pastor Abedini and to call upon their governments to act on his behalf.
“Pastor Saeed has become the face of the persecuted Christian church worldwide, one of many Christians around the world who face imprisonment, beatings and even death for their faith,” said Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director of ACLJ, the law firm leading global awareness efforts to free the jailed American pastor. “As the world’s eye turns to violence against Christians in the Middle East, we raise a united voice in urging Iran to free Pastor Saeed and grant him clemency. It’s time for Saeed to come home.”
Arrested in July 2012 while building a government-approved orphanage, Pastor Abedini is currently serving an eight-year judgment at Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj, Iran, a place where “every day is a potential death sentence,” according to Sekulow.
Since boarding a flight to Iran more than 700 days ago, Christmas has come and gone twice; he’s missed his two school-aged children's birthdays and other family celebrations. Moreover, he's suffered from repeated beatings, malnourishment, and lack of proper medical treatment. He's also received death threats from ISIS militants and imprisoned members of al-Qaida who have already attempted to murder him.
“We are praying for a miracle," shared Naghmeh. "My hope is that, as thousands gather together on September 26, our governments and leaders will be reminded of the importance of religious freedom for all and continue to pressure Iran to secure Saeed’s release.”
To date, supporters around the globe have contributed more than 900,000 signatures to petitions and letters demanding Pastor Abedini’s freedom. Still, believers everywhere have been encouraged to do more.
“We ask that people pray,” said Graham. “To write their congressman. And to write the president — President Obama, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC — and ask that he demand, not request, but demand that Saeed Abedini and the other Americans that have been held in Iranian prisons be set free.”
According to ACLJ, the day after last year’s prayer vigils on the first anniversary of Abedini’s imprisonment, President Obama made a historic phone call to President Hassan Rouhani of Iran in which he expressed concern about Pastor Abedini’s treatment and called for his release.
It is the hope of many that this Friday's efforts will result in further action.
“The kids and I are longing to see Saeed returned home safely to us,” shared Naghmeh. “The kids have been suffering for too long. Our family is ready. It is time.”
By NRB Staff
Published: September 25, 2014