International Day of Prayer for Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani
Sunday 9th October 2011 is the designated day of prayer and intercession for the life of Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, who is facing execution in Iran after been charged with apostasy. When this became the subject of global protest, the charges against him were changed to rape, extortion and Zionism.
Iran has executed quite a few people over the past year: there is no clemency for those accused of rape or ‘spying for Israel’. Whether you pray on your own, in a small group or with your whole church, we are told that our prayers will be powerful and effective (Jas 5:16). Christian Solidarity Worldwide ask us to pray:
For Pastor Nadarkhani
For God to stay the hand and change the hearts of the Iranian judiciary, that they would reconsider the death sentence handed down.
That the international statements of support for Pastor Nadarkhani would have an impact on the verdict.
That God would uphold Pastor Nadarkhani.
For peace, strength and comfort for Pastor Nadarkhani’s family.
For wisdom and protection for Pastor Nadarkhani’s lawyer who is also facing legal difficulties.
That attempts to charge him with other charges to justify a death sentence will come to nothing.
For Christians in Iran
That God would comfort members of Pastor Nadarkhani’s church and denomination.
That Iranian Christians would not be bound by fear and would keep their eyes fixed firmly on God.
Ask God to grant peace to all families affected by arrests and interrogations by the Iranian authorities in the past year.
For religious freedom in Iran
Please pray that Iran will become a nation where no faith group faces discrimination or persecution. Please continue to pray especially that the seven imprisoned Baha’i leaders would be released, and that government would cease its inflammatory rhetoric against minority religions.
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints (Eph 6:18).
There has been a national and international response to this story. Statements condemning the sentence have been issued by various politicians, including Foreign Secretary William Hague; US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; President Obama’s press secretary; the governments of France, Canada and Uruguay; and EU High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs Baroness Ashton. Prominent national and international media outlets have featured the case, including The Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph, New Statesman, The Washington Post, Voice of America, SkyNews, ITN, Business Week, CNN and (eventually) the BBC.
His Grace would also like to point out that the Archbishop of Canterbury has expressed his ‘deep concern’ on behalf of the Church of England, and Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali has personally written to President Ahmadinejad requesting his ‘urgent intervention’. Dr Indarjit Singh of the Network of Sikh Organisations (NSO) issued a statement a week ago calling for Pastor Nadarkhani’s immediate release ‘on the grounds of common humanity and the good name of Islam’. And the Bahá'í International Community have also issued a plea, saying the imprisonment is ‘a violation of every legal, moral, spiritual and humanitarian standard’.
There is still nothing from the Muslim Council of Britain, the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, or the Holy See. His Grace expects nothing better from the MCB or the MPAC. But, curiously, L’Osservatore Romano has found the time to rail against the BBC, while not one column inch has been dedicated to the appalling plight of Pastor Nadarkhani.
And it’s not as if the Holy See doesn’t have a very local outlet informing them of developments: the Iranian Embassy in Rome has issued a statement ‘denying that the death sentence is definitive’.
Come on, Your Holiness. Why is a faux/inflated BC/AD spat with the BBC worthy of official condemnation, but not the outrageous injustice being meted out upon Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani?