God is at work in the world in unexpected ways। Many Christians have prayed for years that the light of the gospel would shine in the Arab world, and news of Christian revival in Iran is especially significant.
… In the year 2000, Christian satellite broadcasting began beaming the gospel to almost every home in Iran. This was made possible by the fact that millions of satellite dishes had been illegally smuggled into Iran by corrupt members of the same government that had outlawed them. The Christian satellite programs became a lifeline for the church in Iran. Much more, when the Iranian people learned that the government was trying to scramble the broadcasts, they became an overnight sensation. Recent nationwide surveys reveal that over 70% of the population is watching Christian satellite programs. These same surveys indicate that at least one million have already become believers, and many millions more are on the verge.
This growth has happened so fast, the underground church can hardly keep apace. In one example, a house church that began with two people several years ago has now multiplied into over twenty groups. The leader of this network remarked, “Starting churches in Iran is easy! Everywhere you go to evangelize, people are ready to receive the gospel, or they have already become believers through satellite broadcasts.” … The government has left young people with nothing to do. So believers spend time with one another everyday.
They are constantly gathering for prayer, Bible study and evangelism. When a group reaches 25 people, they divide in half and begin again. Within two years, a new believer is expected to become a leader of a new house-fellowship and a disciple of new leaders.
In a side bar called “Spiritual Vacuum,” Markarian notes that “Iran was supposed to become a model for the entire Muslim world of what an Islamic society should look like।” The Shiite Muslim system emphasizes a government by the clergy, and a failure of this system in Iran would reflect poorly on Shiite Islam (Shia) in the Arabic world.
I will never forget walking into the lobby area of my student dormitory at the University of Tennessee to see a man with a sledge hammer standing on top of a wall covered with graffiti। He was using the sledge hammer to tear down the brick barrier. The announcer told us this was the Berlin wall, and it was coming down. A small youth group at our rural church had prayed for this all during my high school years. We echoed prayers being made all over the world.
I am not a person who hears “the voice of God” to guide me everyday. As a general rule, I don’t “hear God speak.” But at that moment on that day I sensed an impression that was more clear than any spoken word. God “said” to me: “You didn’t think I would do it, did you.” I do not recall ever doubting that my prayers make a difference after that moment.
Iranian Christians, our prayers are with you!