Assist News

An Important Call to Prayer and Fasting by Nagmeh Abedini

By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service

BOISE, IDAHO (ANS – September 5, 2015) – Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of Iranian-American Christian pastor, Saeed Abedini, imprisoned in Iran, has issued a call to prayer and fasting on behalf of her husband who has been detained in the land of his birth since the summer of 2012.

On January 27, 2013, Saeed was sentenced to eight years in prison, reportedly on charges of undermining national security through private religious gatherings in Christian homes in Iran in the early 2000s. In November 2013, the Iranian government transferred Abedini to Rajai Shahr prison, just outside of Karaj, Iran.

On her Facebook page, Nagmeh wrote, “I feel led by the Lord to start another 21 days of prayer and fasting. The prayer and fasting will start from September 6 to September 26 (the day of the prayer vigils and the date that Saeed was thrown in Iranian prison).

“I will be fasting from pleasant food (Daniel 10:3 – ‘I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled’). I plan to abstain from coffee and chocolate. You are free to abstain from food, social media, TV or skip a meal or two…the point is to spend that time in prayer.”

She went on to say, “The scripture that the Lord has given me for this time of prayer and fasting has been Hebrews 12:1-2. That as we remember Saeed and the persecuted church (the “witnesses”), we would look at our own walk with God and get rid of all of the sins that are so easily ensnaring us. The Lord is showing me that as we pray for Saeed and the persecuted church and remember the “witnesses” revival can be brought into our own life and in our country. Amen!”

Saeed Abedini is a former Muslim who converted to Christianity in 2000. While Christianity is recognized as a minority religion under the Iranian constitution,[3] Muslim converts to Christianity suffer discrimination at the hands of Iranian authorities. In particular, such converts are disallowed from worshipping with other Christians in established Christian churches, which has led to the establishment of so-called “house” or “underground” churches where these converts can worship together.

In 2002, Abedini met and married his wife Naghmeh, an American citizen. In the early 2000s, the Abedinis became prominent in the house-church movement in Iran, at a time when the movement was tolerated by the Iranian government. During this period, Abedini is credited with establishing about 100 house churches in 30 Iranian cities with more than 2,000 members. With the election of Mahmoud Ahmedinejad in 2005, however, the house-church movement was subjected to a crackdown by Iranian authorities and the Abedinis moved back to the United States, where he lived with his wife and two children in Boise, Idaho, and was ordained by the local Calvary Chapel.

Abedini's first trip back to Iran was in 2009 to visit his family, when government authorities detained him. According to Abedini, he was threatened with death during his interrogation over his conversion to Christianity. Ultimately he was released after signing a pledge to cease all house-church activities in the country.[4] As part of this same agreement, Abedini was permitted to return to Iran freely to work on non-sectarian humanitarian efforts.

In 2010, he was granted American citizenship, thus becoming a dual Iranian-American citizen.

In July 2012, Abedini made his ninth trip to Iran since 2009 to visit his family and continue his work to build an orphanage in the city of Rasht. While in the country, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps confiscated his passports and placed him under house arrest. He was later transferred to Evin Prison, where he has been incarcerated since late September.[4]

In mid-January 2013, it was reported that Abedini would go on trial on January 21, and could face the death penalty. He was charged with compromising national security, though the specific allegations were not made public. His supporters said his arrest was due to his conversion and attending peaceful Christianity gatherings in Iran. On January 21, 2013, Iranian state media reported that Abedini would be released after posting a $116,000 bond. His wife, however, stated that the government “has no intention of freeing him and that the announcement is 'a game to silence' international media reports.”

On January 27, 2013, Judge Pir-Abassi sentenced Abedini to eight years in prison. According to Fox News, Abedini was sentenced for having “undermined the Iranian government by creating a network of Christian house churches and ... attempting to sway Iranian youth away from Islam.” The evidence against Abedini was based primarily on his activities in the early 2000s. Abedini was meant to serve his time in Evin Prison. The U.S. State Department has condemned the sentence, saying: “We condemn Iran's continued violation of the universal right of freedom of religion and we call on the Iranian authorities to respect Mr. Abedini's human rights and release him.”

Early November 2013, Abedini was transferred from Tehran to the Rajai Shahr prison in the town of Karaj, which is populated with heavy criminals, and has harsher, sometimes life-threatening, conditions.

Since his arrest, Naghmeh has worked tirelessly on his behalf and has even met with President Obama to solicit his support, but despite this, he is still languishing in prison in Iran.

Photo captions: 1) Nagmeh has been a tireless campaginer for her hushand. 2) On their wedding day. 3) An earlier picture of the family. 4) Dan Wooding recording his radio show.

About the writer: Dan Wooding, 74, is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for more than 52 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS). He is also the author of some 45 books, and next week, begins a new TV show for the Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network ( called “Inside Hollywood with Dan Wooding,” which is being produced and edited by Tim Hathaway.

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  • ASSIST News Service (ANS) - PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609 USA 
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    Thursday, September 26, 2013

    Billy Graham Writes Letter to Iran's President asking for Imprisoned American Pastors Release
    By Jeremy Reynalds
    Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

    MONTREAT, N.C. (ANS) -- Veteran evangelist Billy Graham has weighed in on the plight of imprisoned American Pastor Saeed Abedini.

    Saeed Abedini

    Writing to President Hassan Rouhani, Graham said he has been watching Abedini's situation with "great concern." Abedini is serving an eight year prison sentence in Iran. He was in Iran working to build an orphanage when he was arrested, with the primary reason being Abedini's Christian faith.

    Sept. 26 was the one-year anniversary of Abedini's imprisonment. Graham, who wrote the letter earlier this week, wrote that, "Thousands will attend prayer vigils in more than 70 U.S. cities, calling on your country to release this husband, father and servant of God. I join them by respectfully asking you to release Pastor Saeed Abedini from prison. Such an action would, I believe, have a positive impact in our nation, and might well be perceived by our leadership as a significant step in reducing tensions."

    Graham said in the letter that as a religious leader he has often spoken about the need for greater understanding and peace among the nations of the world.

    He continued, "As you come to the United States this week for the U .N. General Assembly in New York, it is my sincere hope that ways may be found to reduce the current tensions between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran."

    Graham said that Monday's announcement of the freeing of 80 political prisoners was very encouraging.

    However, Graham added, "I fear ... that the current publicity surrounding the continued imprisonment of Pastor Abedini, an American citizen, may further harm the already fragile relationship that presently exists between our two nations.

    Releasing Abedini, Graham wrote, "would, I believe, have a positive impact in our nation, and might well be perceived by our leadership as a significant step in reducing tensions."

    Share     See all ASSIST News articles at

    Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter, He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is "A Sheltered Life."

    Additional details on "A Sheltered Life" are available at Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For more information contact: Jeremy Reynalds

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  • Christian Leader Calls for 'Simultaneous' Worldwide Prayer for the Release of Pastor Saeed from an Iranian Prison

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 4, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney is calling for the faith community to stop and pray for several minutes, wherever they are in the world, for the release of Pastor Saeed and the persecuted church. 

    This worldwide prayer event will take place on Saturday, October 5, at 11:00 A.M. EST

    Rev. Mahoney will be leading the prayer at the Iranian Embassy in Ankara, Turkey where he has been the past week. 

    He has meet with Iranian officials several times in hopes of getting into Iran and meeting face to face with President Rouhani. 

    Rev. Mahoney has received assurances from Embassy officials that a letter he wrote to President Rouhani would be personally delievered to him. Below is a copy of that letter. 

    For more information or interviews call:
    Rev. Patrick Mahoney at 540.538.4741 

    Letter to President Rouhani

    Dear President Rouhani, 

    Grace and peace from the Lord God Almighty. My hope and prayer is that I will be able to meet face to face with you and members of your Administration to discuss ways in which the Christian faith community in America can have a more open dialogue with the Muslim faith community in Iran. 

    The power of faith transcends government and politics and reaches to the very core of pressing issues facing both our nations and the world in which we live. God, who is sovereign over all, is the only one who can bring healing and peace into the very difficult issues that are before us. 

    As a Christian cleric, I have worked for years in America and around the world building bridges to my Islamic neighbors and friends. Some of my work includes: being invited by Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki to Baghdad as I led a Christian delegation to pray for that country, meeting with Rev. Terry Jones and convincing him not to burn 230 Qurans and having them turned them over to me for safety, traveling to Morocco by invitation of the King to help moderate discussion between Christians and Muslims in that country and ensuring that the right of America Muslims were protected when they sought to have an event at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. 

    My Christian faith tradition teaches that we are to reach out in love and mercy to all mankind and build strong and open relationships. Jesus teaches that we are, "to love our neighbor as ourselves." He does not say we are only to show love and mercy to our Christian neighbors 

    The teachings of Islam also say much about mercy as the Quran states, "The merciful are shown mercy by the All-Merciful. Show mercy to those on earth, and He Who is in heaven will show mercy unto you." 

    President Rouhani, I have traveled thousands of miles to Turkey at my expense, with hopes of getting into Iran, on a "Mission of Mercy" to discuss the imprisonment of Pastor Saeed Abedini. As you know, Pastor Saeed was sentenced to 8 years in an Iranian prison. His situation has drawn international media and press attention. 

    Although I have strong feelings on this subject, I have not come to Iran to discuss the specific allegations and facts regarding Saeed's case. It is my sense that we can have an open conversation on this matter at a later time. I have also not to come to Iran to lecture your country and officials with respect to what they must do. 

    Rather Mr. President, I have come as a humble servant of God asking that you show Saeed, his wife and two children mercy. 

    He has been separated from his wife, Naghmeh his son and daughter for one year. Being in prison, it is has been impossible for him to see his family, celebrate their birthdays, hold them in his arms and provide for them as a husband and a father. President Rouhank as a faith leader, I respect how much Islam cherishes family, and I would prayerfully ask that you would extend God's love and mercy to Saeed and allow him to return to America and be united with his family. 

    The significance and impact of this action would be more powerful than words could ever express. First, it would demonstrate to other faith traditions around the world that Muslims embrace mercy and forgiveness. It would also be a powerful step in building a bridge between the Islamic community in Iran with the Christian community in America. 

    President Rouhani, you have recently said that Iran is interested in establishing better relationships with their global neighbors. I can hardly think of a better way of showing the sincerity of those words than by releasing Pastor Saeed from prison. It would have a powerful "ripple effect" of goodwill around the world. 

    My hope and prayer is that I would be able to fly back to America with Saeed and see him reunited with his precious family. I want to make it clear I am not coming to Iran as a "representative" or "agent" of the United States government. I am simply coming as a follower of God and faith leader, speaking to another faith leader, and asking that mercy be extended in this situation. 

    God gives us moments and times in which we can capture the attention of the world and share a positive message of healing and hope. President Rouhani, with the entire world watching, I believe this is such a moment. 

    I pray that I will be able to meet with you and members of your Administration and that Saeed will soon be released. I look forward to hearing back from you and I look forward to a prosperous and lasting friendship. God is gracious and kind and His mercies extend to the heavens. 

    In God's love, 

    Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney

    Director of the Christian Defense Coalition

    Washington, D.C.

    Christian Newswire

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