Why fast? I can think of plenty of reasons. Fasting cleanses your body and gives it rest. It helps you seek God and adds power to your prayers (Daniel 10:12). Jesus himself fasted. But my decision to join in this 21 Day Fast for Pastor Saeed Abedini was more from my heart than my head.
Fasting allows me to stand beside Naghmeh Abedini and join in her fight for Saeed’s release. I desperately want to see her reunited with her husband. I can’t go to Iran on Pastor Saeed’s behalf. And even if I could, who would listen? But I can fast and pray to the God who is ruler over all earthly powers. The Bible tells me this kind of prayer has great power.
More than anything, Naghmeh wants to glorify Jesus as she works for Saeed’s release. Wherever she goes, she looks for opportunities to share the Gospel. She prefers a quiet life to the grinding schedule of travel speaking on Saeed’s behalf. Her itinerary has included appearances before the United Nations and European Parliament. A self-described homebody, Naghmeh says, “Saeed would be very surprised to see me speaking all over the world.”
Naghmeh is appealing to those in authority to release her husband. Saeed has committed no crime other than being a Christian. He was in Iran, with permission from the government, to help build an orphanage. Even the United Nations has issued a statement that Saeed has been wrongfully imprisoned. So Naghmeh has asked that we cry out with her in prayer and fasting.
Naghmeh’s story reminds me of Queen Esther in the Bible. Esther’s story takes place in Persia, modern day Iran. The young queen risks her life to thwart a genocidal plot to destroy her people. Esther calls for a fast: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16 NIV). Esther’s great courage saved her people from a terrible fate.
Like Esther, Naghmeh is calling for fellow believers to join her in fasting for Saeed’s release. She knows she is up against powers too strong for her. Calling for a fast is a sign of humility. It shows Naghmeh’s utter reliance on the Lord and her willingness to rest in His power. But dear friends, it also shows she has not given up!
Will you agree to stand strong with Naghmeh throughout this 21 Day Fast? Let’s persevere in prayer until Saeed is home!