Praying for the Middle East
I woke this morning praying for people on oil tankers and warships in the Gulf who are likely to be feeling decidedly jittery as tensions continue to escalate in the region. It is a good time to explore more of the background to the situation regarding Iran and the Middle East. To aid our prayers, we are releasing a really powerful song that was originally Armenian but sung here in Farsi by Linda Entwistle: Azim ast name to Isa – Jesus Your name is great. It is stunning!
Reviewing his new book, “The English Job: Understanding Iran and why it distrusts Britain,” the former Home Secretary Jack Straw gave a helpful overview on the Victoria Derbyshire show highlighting how rapacious British policy was towards Iran during the 19th and much of the 20th centuries. As a nation, we treated it in a far more mercenary way than we did our colonies. There is much to repent of and to pray into here, and no little awareness that the West is reaping what we have sown.
Meanwhile, as you will probably be aware, Israel failed (by the narrowest of margins) to form a coalition government following recent elections, with the result that fresh elections have been called for 17th September. This serves as a reminder, (as if we needed one!) to continue in prayer for the work of Yeshua in the land and people He set apart for Himself millennia ago. Both Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife face corruption charges, and the nation continues to face threats against its very existence.
These are not so much from the more ‘official’ Iranian government but rather from the ‘state within a state’ that answers directly to Ayatollah Khamenei. In close conjunction with the Revolutionary Guards, this is where great power is exercised in Iran, refusing to call Israel by name, but referring to it rather as ‘the Zionist entity,’ and giving it its proper name only when chanting ‘Death to Israel.’
Election results and diplomatic activity are important – but still more so is the removal of the veil that covers the eyes of people in Israel and the Middle East. So as we pray concerning the elections, let’s pray even more for salvation to come to the people in this critical region.
America has been continuing to intensify sanctions against Iran, slashing their ability to export oil – but those in authority are not the ones hardest hit by this. Meanwhile the US continues to offer almost unqualified support to Saudi Arabia, which has launched a brutal war against the Yemenese people, continues to clamp down ruthlessly on its own people, and has a reputation that more or less rivals Iran’s own for ‘producing’ terrorists.
Let’s remember, too, the physical suffering affecting the area. After suffering from a decades-long drought, Iran has seen unprecedented rainfall since 19th March. The Red Crescent tweeted that one province had received 70% of its annual rainfall in one day, with truly devastating consequences. Many Christians are doing all they can to help amid the turmoil and distress. They need our prayers as they seek to provide for people’s basic needs. Pray for strength and compassion, and that they would shine the light and hope of Christ in this painful situation.
You can watch videos of some of the destruction here: Video One and Video Two.) Why not use them as a foundation for praying not only for all immediately affected by the floods but for Iran generally?
Elam Ministries have reported that:
• Floods hit 26 of Iran’s 31 provinces.
• Flood-related deaths were reported in 11 provinces
• Tens of thousands of people were displaced, with many being housed in emergency shelters; others have been left without any shelter at all.
• 141 rivers burst their banks and around 400 landslides were reported.
• Nearly 7,500 miles (12,000km) of roads were damaged – 36% of the road network.
• Agricultural losses are estimated at $180 million (USD).
Nearby, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria have also suffered in the flooding. Nearly 13,000 homes were either partially or completely destroyed in Afghanistan.
Father, forgive us for all we have done to muddy the waters as a nation and as western powers. May Your purposes shine in the shock and darkness of Iran. Prepare and soften hearts to seek and find you, and then to serve You faithfully. Watch over and overrule all that is happening in that region. In Jesus’ name.
You might also like refer back to Jane Horsfall’s lovely version of ‘If ever I forget you, O Jersualem.’ Let’s use it to prayer more deeply for Israel, and then for the whole region.