From Media and Elam
The sound of marching feet
Thousands march, close-ordered ranks –
There are no guns or tanks!
Where once there was unjust despair
Now voices rejoice and sing:
“Jesus! Jesus!” Persia marches for her King!

Banished fear! Gone despair!
Feel the joy that’s in the air!
The thousands march: to North, to West, to East,
Gone the serpent, gone the beast,
A new star rises in the East.
The bells to heaven ring:
“Jesus! Jesus! Persia marches for her King!

Acts 2:7 shows Medes, Elamites and Parthians were among those who heard the Gospel in Peter’s Pentecost sermon. These groups dwelt in the geographical area of Iran/Persia.
To read this in context click the following link: http://biblehub.com/niv/acts/2.htm

“Remember those in prison, as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” Hebrews 13:3. To read this in context click the following link: http://biblehub.com/niv/hebrews/13.htm

An enduring TV image in my mind from the war between Iran and Iraq is the picture of thousands young Iranians marching off to war against Saddam Hussein. Thousands of these would have met their deaths in this war. Now I have a “vision” of a new Iran with millions of Christians “marching” for Jesus.

Here’s some background:

Religious and political persecution are rife in Iran, a “theocratic” state, with the real power in the hands of the Guardian Council (6 Islamic legal experts).Most Iranians are Shiites. The Armenian Christian church is tolerated: its services are not in the main Iranian language, Farsi. Recently many Farsi language churches have been closed down; so the majority of Iranians cannot access the Gospel. House churches are banned. “Threats to Iran’s security” is the usual “crime” Christians are charged with.
There have been several high profile cases of persecution (many more!):

June 9, 2013 Mohammad-Hadi (Mostafa) Bordbar, a Christian convert resident of Rasht, was tried by Judge Pir-Abbasi on the morning of in branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. Mr. Bordbar had been arrested during Christmas holidays on December 27, 2012. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison for membership in a so-called “anti-security organization” [i.e. Christian church/housechurch] and an additional 5 years for gathering with intent to commit crimes against Iranian national security.
2013: Pastor Saeed Abedini  Sentenced to 8 years in Prison in Jan. 2013; born in Iran;  dual US/Iranian citizenship (US citizenship not recognised by Iran); married to Naghmeh, an Iranian-born US citizen; with 2 children; arrested while working on a government-approved orphanage; in Teheran’s notorious Evin prison, section 350; beaten severely; internal bleeding; denied medical treatment. Naghmeh has addressed UNO on his imprisonment. At least 30 people in Evin prison have since become Christians!
2012 October : Pastor Behnam Irani and 7 members of Church of Shiraz arrested.
2012: Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani released,  (initially sentenced to death; given 3 years for converting Muslims) after much international campaigning.
2012 January: a number of evangelical Christians arrested.
2011 December: Alireza Seyyedian -a follower of Jesus since 2006, arrested and sentenced to six years in December 2011. He is kept in the section 350 of Evin Prison.
2011 & 2010: 130+ Iranian Christians arrested just before Christmas. The Governor of Tehran  vowed to arrest more evangelical Christians.
2011: Rev. Leonard Keshishian, the pastor of the Assemblies of God, Isfahan, arrested
2010: Mehdi “Petros” Foroutan, a 27-year-old pastor in Iran, arrested and charged with crimes against national security and blasphemy against Islam (“standard” charges).
2010 December 26: Farshid Fathi arrested in a wave of arrests of believers in Tehran and other areas; sentenced to six years of imprisonment. Also in Evin Prison.

Useful links:

http://www.mohabatnews.com/ (especially Iran)

International Christian Concern (Website): http://www.persecution.org

International Christian Concern (Facebook Page): https://www.facebook.com/persecuted

Voice of the Martyrs: http://www.persecution.com/

Jihad Watch: http://www.jihadwatch.org/

Pastor Saeed Abedini (Iran) (Facebook Page): https://www.facebook.com/PrayForPastorSaeedAbedini AND https://www.facebook.com/StandingTogetherForHumanRightsInIran

http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/detail/angela-merkel-calls-christianity-the-worlds-most-persecuted-faith 

Iran (a very comprehensive listing): http://www.farsinet.com/persecuted/

Prisoner Alert (a list of several Christians in various countries): http://www.prisoneralert.com

Gatestone Institute International Policy Council (World overview of persecution) http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org

A mainstream press which has reported on persecution: http://www.washingtontimes.com   /news/2013/may/5/more-900-christians-killed-nigeria-last-year/

OneNewsNow  (AFN – a Christian news service): http://www.onenewsnow.com /persecution/2013/05/31/deadliest-place-to-be-a-christian-nigeria

http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews
/world/2013/April/Tanzania-Islamic-Persecutors-Target-Christian-Pastors/

Christian Solidarity Worldwide: http://dynamic.csw.org.uk/article.asp?t=press&id=1560

WHAT CAN WE DO?
Aquaint     ourselves with what’s going on
Come         before God in prayer
Tell         others (e.g. “Share” on Facebook, etc.)
Support –     in any other way possible (Prisoner Alert facilitates your writing letters to those in prison. NB Do NOT criticise their governments in your letter!). You can post your prayers on Praye for Pastor Abedini’s Facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/PrayForPastorSaeedAbedini).