Tag Archives: Persecuted Christians

My Top 10 Takeaways from Fasting

This is Day 21 of the 21 Day Fast for Pastor Saeed.  You made it!   It’s been exciting to join thousands around the world praying for Saeed and Naghmeh.  Her ten minute meeting with President Obama was a two year miracle in the making.  I hope you’ve also sensed God moving in your life during these twenty one days. So what’s next?

I encourage you to think about what you will do tomorrow.  The day you no longer wake up thinking, “Here we go.  Another day without chocolate or coffee, gluten, or social media.   Or whatever.”  You may feel a bit of a let down.

From a physical standpoint, I find it helps to come off a fast gently.  If I fasted from food, it’s best to eat lightly rather than gorging on everything in sight.  Same with coffee, chocolate, or anything else you’ve been denying yourself.  Ease back in.  You’ll be glad you did.

But wait.  Twenty one days of praying fervently for Naghmeh and for Pastor Saeed’s release. Twenty one days seeking God in our own life.  What do we take away from our fast?

I’ve been pondering that question.  What insights have I gained?  What habits do I want to take with me as I move forward?  Just how does one come out of a time of fasting and prayer?  I thought I’d simply share my list.

The top ten things I plan to take with me after my fast:

1.  I commit to keep praying for Pastor Saeed.  To stand with him and Naghmeh until he is home with his family.  He’s on my Monday prayer list.  Plus, I’m setting my cell phone to remind me to pray for him every day at noon for one minute.

2. I plan to rest a little more.  I like the pace I kept while fasting.  Time to notice the little things.  To breathe deep.  To be thankful.

3. Fasting made me more alert to God’s voice.  I sensed Him telling me how to pray and for whom.  I want to remain alert, especially to God’s whispers.

4. I like the teamwork.  It was nice knowing others were fasting and praying together for a common cause.  I want to experiment with fasting and praying with friends for areas that seem stuck.

5. I’m more in touch with the plight of Persecuted Christians all over the world.  I plan to continue to learn how to pray, give, and even go to those places.

6. I’m inspired to fight a little harder, endure a little longer, be willing to suffer a little more in my stand for Jesus.

7. I am going to practice fasting.  I’m trying to form a habit of regular fasting on Mondays.  A friend plans to do the same, so I hope we can encourage each other.

8. I’m going to watch what I eat.  Fasting from gluten was a good thing.  My body is thanking me, so I think I’ll stay away from gluten whenever possible.  Most sugar and white flour, too.

9. I also want to enjoy an occasional feast.  The Bible talks about feasting as well as fasting.   Celebration as well as self denial.  Feasting is delightful when you also know what it feel like to fast.

10. Stand firm.  I need to persevere.  The personal breakthrough I’m seeking hasn’t happened yet.  Maybe yours hasn’t either.  Remember, Naghmeh had a miraculous meeting with the President, but Saeed is still in prison.  She has learned to depend on God’s strength daily while she waits for the final breakthrough and Saeed is home.

Waiting is hard.  But fasting helped me press into God and draw more of His power and goodness.  Naghmeh is right.  When you allow your trials to drive you into Jesus, there’s a rest and peace that can’t be explained.  He comforts and sustains us while we wait for our breakthrough.





A Minute a Day for Saeed

Be alert and self-controlled so that you can pray. 1 Peter 4:7

My son and his friend were recently having dinner in a local restaurant.  Suddenly, everyone’s cell phone alarm went off at exactly the same time. The National Weather Service had just issued a flash flood warning for our area.  So a chorus of loud buzzers echoed throughout the small eatery reminding everyone to be alert to potential hazards.  I wonder what would happen if we as believers had our own early warning system calling us to pray?  The Bible reminds us that we wrestle continually against the forces of darkness  so we’re to always be  ALERT for prayer.

I recently met a young woman who’s story burdened me so much that I have committed to pray for her every day.  So I created my own little “early warning” system to remind me to pray.  I set my iPhone alarm for noon each day reminding me to pray for one minute for Naghmeh Abedini and her husband Pastor Saeed Abedini.  After you hear their story, I hope you’ll consider doing the same.

I happened to be seated next to Naghmeh at a recent gathering where she had been invited to share the plight of her husband, Saeed, an American citizen imprisoned in Iran for his Christian faith. I got to hear firsthand about the living nightmare she and her family have endured for nearly two years.

Like many, I have been troubled by Pastor Saeed’s imprisonment and went to the event eager to learn more about his condition and what world leaders are trying to do to secure his release. I came away with a new hero. His wife.

The attractive, articulate young Naghmeh spoke to a group of men and women gathered at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. “We as Americans don’t like to suffer,” she said quietly as one who knows this full well.  Suffering has been her daily companion as she wrestles with the agony of knowing of Saeed’s prison hardships and even torture.  As daily, she watches her children, Jacob and Rebecca, missing their dad. “But it’s when we reach the end of our human strength that we discover the supernatural peace that only Jesus can give.”

Naghmeh is Iranian born but raised as a US citizen in Boise Idaho, accepting Jesus as her savior when she was just nine. She prefers a quiet life to the grinding schedule of worldwide travel speaking on Saeed’s behalf. Her itinerary has included appearances before the United Nations and European Parliament. “I wasn’t an upfront person,” she smiled. “Saeed would be very surprised to see me speaking all over the world on his behalf.”

When asked about her surprising sense of calm, Naghmeh says that she depends on Jesus each day to even get up in the morning.   A self-described anxious person by nature, she says the Lord has enveloped her in a supernatural peace throughout this harrowing ordeal. After speaking to the United Nations, she even had Muslims and atheists come up to her to ask the reason for her unexplainable calm in the face of such a fierce ordeal. And she tells them. It’s only Jesus.

More than anything, Naghmeh wants to glorify Jesus as she works for Saeed’s release.  And she asks for believers everywhere to join her in continued, fervent  prayer for his release. Click here  to join the worldwide Prayer Vigil for Saeed,  September 26, 2014. 

And every day, will you join me in setting your cell phone alarm to pray a minute a day for Saeed?   Together, let’s  pray each petition in the Lord’s Prayer for Saeed and his family.  It only takes one minute.

Hope I will hear other cell phones going off at noon as many of you agree to Pray a Minute a Day for Saeed.