“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 (ESV)
Imagine for a moment that you are a new believer in Christ. You are elated with the new hope that you’ve found. You want to shout it from the rooftops. But, you are also terrified.
Imagine that you are the only Christian in your family, on your street, or in your neighborhood. You long to talk to another Christian, to ask questions about your new life in Christ, but you have no one. Do you dare risk asking your neighbor down the street where to find a Bible? Do you seek out a place to meet together with Christians, knowing you could be arrested?
Imagine that all you know about Jesus is what you’ve heard on a TV program or over the radio. Or maybe you have a friend or relative who gave you something to read or watch right before they fled to another country because they were being hunted. You want to learn more about Jesus. You know that you must live differently, but how?
These issues and more are very common for Iranians who come to faith in Jesus Christ. Not only are they persecuted by the government and their families, they are often so isolated from other believers that they are cut off from avenues of learning and fellowship.
Many Iranian Christians meet in very small house churches or groups. They are able to pray for one another and learn from each other. However, a number of believers find themselves at one time or another isolated from Christian community. Maybe their pastor just got arrested. Maybe all of their Christian friends fled to a neighboring country. Or maybe their families forbid them from meeting with other Iranian Christians.
Unable to Sharpen Each Other
For many reasons, believers in Iran can lack the support and growth that comes with regular meetings with the body of Christ. One brother in Iran described it this way:
Day by day the situation in Iran is getting difficult. Most churches are being disbanded. We are really under high persecution right now. Persecution for us means that we are not, according to Iran’s law, allowed to be gathered for worshipping God. It means that we must participate in worship in a house secretly and should do so with much care. We should not let our neighbors figure out that every Friday we meet together. It is difficult to have brother sharpening brother, iron sharpening iron. It is like a bunch of a tree that’s connected to the body of the tree. Imagine if some of the leaves were separated from the body of the tree—they would die soon. We are not able to sharpen each other. We need each other to make each other grow.
Christians in Iran not only face persecution, they also face being separated from the body of Christ at any given moment. Please join us in praying for our brothers and sisters in Iran who desperately need each other to grow in the truth and knowledge of the One they now call Lord. Pray for them to find ways to meet together and sharpen one another as they study the Word.
At Secret Church 17 we will be praying for the persecuted church in Iran.