A surprise increase in gasoline prices which turned into public demonstrations by the Iranian people has led to a brutal crackdown from the Iranian government.
The New York Times reports:
“Altogether, from 180 to 450 people, and possibly more, were killed in four days of intense violence after the gasoline price increase was announced on Nov. 15, with at least 2,000 wounded and 7,000 detained, according to international rights organizations, opposition groups and local journalists.”New York Times
The internet within the country has been shut down and travel restrictions imposed on people entering or leaving the country. In effect, the country has gone into lockdown.
While the initial protests focussed upon the increase in the price of fuel, the main focus of the protests has been directed towards the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Islamic Regime which is in control of the country.
The sanctions imposed upon Iran by the USA along with growing resentment towards Iran by her neighbors have contributed to the serious economic challenges which resulted in the gas increases which sparked the protests.
The government has justified the crackdown as a response to a plot by Iran’s enemies at home and abroad. They have justified the killing of protestors using the Quran. The Middle East Media Research Institute (MERI) reported:
Iranian Quran Expert Bahrampur on National TV: Protesters Should Be Slaughtered or Have Their Feet and Hands Chopped Off on Alternate Sides; If We Kill 10,000 of Them, It Will Not Be an ExaggerationMERI
How do we discern what is going on?
While there is much speculation about the political and economic situations which has resulted in this violent crackdown. Steve Aceto, in a previous Discerning the Times has this quote which is helpful as we look at what is happening:
“The key to discernment will be not asking, “What is the Devil doing? But rather ”What is God doing?” The basis for this discernment principle according to Steve is: “The fact is that the enemy is not creative and cannot create, the enemy can only react to what God is doing, and that reaction is the source of all the noise. But we, made in the image of the Heavenly Father, are his friends and partners in what our Father is doing. Come Holy Spirit!” This nature of Satan is confirmed in the Genesis story where the serpent tempting Eve is described as crafty and cunning rather than creative. (Gen 3:1)
I am convinced that God is doing a kingdom work through the particular array of national and global political and religious actors on the world stage at this particular epoch. This is of strategic importance to the advancement of the Kingdom of God.”Steve Aceto
The question we need to ask is what is the Lord doing right now?
What is currently happening in Iran, which would be advancing the Kingdom of God, to which the enemy is responding by instituting the vicious crackdown?
What is not widely reported is that there is a significant Christian revival taking place in Iran at this time. The largest revival in the Islamic world according to the organization Back to Jerusalem 1
There is a movement of the Holy Spirit within Iran which is drawing Muslims to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a growth in the church of Iran, which exists underground, due to the threat of persecution. But as more Iranians become disillusioned with the Islamic regime and begin searching, the gospel message of mercy, love, and grace is powerful and is transforming lives.
As the Kingdom of God is moving within Iran, the enemy has been stirred up and has responded. It is ugly and it is evil, but it is a response to what the Lord is doing. So how can we participate in the work the Lord is currently doing? We can pray.
- Pray for the people of Iran who are facing this crackdown by their government, pray for an end to lethal force being used.
- Pray that the demonic spirits perpetuating violence in the country would be restrained by the Lord.
- Pray that this move of the Holy Spirit would grow and spread quickly and that many Iranians would come to put their hope and faith in Jesus Christ.
- Pray for people to be blessed with dreams and visions of Jesus and that would lead then to the truth of the gospel.
- Pray for the strengthening of the underground church in Iran as it becomes a potential target for the Iranian government. Pray that they would remain strong even in the midst of persecution.
- Pray that any demonic spirits of anger and violence which are operating in the current situation would be prevented from working.
- When people respond with anger and violence it gives ground to the enemy to continue to work, so pray that protestors would respond in love and grace which will prevent the enemy from gaining ground.
- Pray that the curses being spoken by the government leaders would be broken. Pray that the leaders would be blessed, that the Lord would have mercy upon them and reveal his love and truth to them.
Let us know if you have further discernment about how to pray, or if the Lord is calling you to join with others in continuing to pray for what the Lord is doing in Iran.
Martin Boardman and Brad Long