Surrounded by Stars
‘Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low! Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me! Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name! The righteous will surround me, for you will deal bountifully with me.’ Psalm 142:6-7
Meet Sara. She grew up in Iran and in her early twenties was involved in leading a church with a team of young people. When the church started to grow the authorities cracked down. They closed the building and continued to harass the members. One night when Sara was praying, she felt so alone. She remembers that it was a stunning starry night and she felt that the stars were her only company in the world. Sometime later, after moving to the UK, she received a letter from a Christian woman who told her that she had been faithfully praying for the church in Iran for years. In that moment Sara had a revelation: even in her lowest moment she had never been truly alone. The stars represented her Christian brothers and sisters around the world who had surrounded her with prayer.
Christians in Iran face constant monitoring and pressure. Even when they meet in their own homes, they may be under surveillance. Those who come to faith and are baptised can face a year in prison while those performing the baptism and leading house churches risk the prospect of much longer sentences.
Imagine what it would be like to have to hide your faith and watch your back on your way to church. Imagine what it would be like to have your church disbanded and your pastor arrested. How would you cope with the intimidation and isolation?
During lockdown many of us have spent extra time baking. Perhaps you could use this time in the kitchen to help you pray. Why not cut your next batch of cookies into star shapes? As you make them, eat them and share them with your family reflect on your responsibility to surround our isolated brothers and sisters in prayer, and then use the Release International Prayer Shield diary to pray for them. This activity could be a good way to introduce your children to praying for the persecuted.
You could also help to support oppressed Christians by donating £5, £10 or £20 for each batch of cookies you make.
Text LDC10 to 70085 to donate £10. Texts cost £10 plus one standard rate message and you’ll be opting in to hear more about our work and fundraising via telephone and SMS. (You can give any whole amount from £1 to £20.) If you’d like to give £10 but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text LDCNOINFO10 to 70085.
Or make an online donation here selecting ‘Christians suffering oppression for the sake of the gospel’ from the dropdown menu, or by phone on 01689 823491.