Many times you’ve heard Eric Metaxas, me, and others talk about American citizen and pastor Saeed Abedini, who’s been wrongfully imprisoned for his faith in Iran for over two years.
I’ve interviewed his lovely wife Naghmeh several times, and I offer updates whenever I have them on Saeed’s condition, as well as his children.
Well last week, Naghmeh was able to meet face to face with President Obama, finally. Naghmeh described how the meeting went on her Facebook page:
“I got to meet with President Obama today! The kids and I were in a small office room with him and he was gracious with his time (we met for over 10 minutes). I told him that I had refrained from food for three days and prayed and fasted and that God had ordained this meeting. He nodded his head and smiled. I told him that the kids and I prayed for him and loved him (that as Christians that is what we are to do). He said he needed prayer. He said that getting Saeed out is a top priority and he is working very hard to get Saeed home back to our family.”
Naghmeh continued, and here’s the part that really got to me:
She wrote, “Jacob then asked, ‘Mr. President, can you please bring my daddy home for my birthday?’ President Obama asked Jacob when his birthday was, and Jacob said March 17. And President Obama said ‘I am going to try very hard to make that happen Jacob. I am going to try very hard…’
“Praise God!” Naghmeh continued, “We had great conversation. We made the heart connection that we all had been praying for and he listed some next steps to take … God was so evidently present in the meeting. The entire time the president was holding my hand and reassuring me. At the end he gave me a hug and we took pictures.”
Naghmeh added another bit of news to the post as well:
“Saeed’s father,” she continued, “was able to have an in person visit with Saeed. The first thing he did was give Saeed a big kiss on the cheek from Jacob. Saeed’s dad shared with Saeed that so many people were praying and supporting him. Saeed was really encouraged. His dad shared about Christmas and how the kids were doing. Saeed wanted to know how big the kids had gotten and the stories about the kids. The most painful part for Saeed,” she writes, “is being torn from his family and not seeing his kids grow up. He continues to have pain and the horrible conditions of the prison are not helping and are deteriorating his health.”
So brothers and sisters, there you have it. So what should we do with this information?
First, I would encourage you to write the White House and thank President Obama for meeting with Naghmeh—and encourage him to pursue Saeed’s release as a top priority, as he promised her.
Second, we’ve talked a lot lately about the hundreds and thousands—even millions—of Christians worldwide who are persecuted for their faith in Jesus. The Lord calls us to pray for His persecuted Church. And even though we can’t lift up the vast majority of these brothers and sisters in prayer by name, God knows who they are. So let’s continue to pray for the persecuted.
And we can pray specifically for Saeed and his family by name. So let’s do it.
Now of course, we know that, ultimately, Saeed rests in God’s hands. And so I’m asking: would you join me right now in prayer that God would bring Jacob’s daddy home for his birthday?
Almighty and everlasting God, hear the cries of the suffering church throughout the world. As you heard the cries of your ancient people in bondage in Egypt and came down to deliver them, so now hearken to the sufferings of the persecuted church in our time. Give bread to those who are hungry, comfort the imprisoned, strength to the tortured and all for the sake of Jesus who lived and died for us, who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. And please, God, bring Jacob’s daddy home for his birthday. Amen.
Stonestreet is the Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview and is heard on Breakpoint. Copyright© 2014 Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with permission. BreakPoint is a ministry of Prison Fellowship Ministries.
Bring Saeed Home: A Prayer for Jacob
Send a thank-you note to President Obama for his gracious meeting with Naghmeh and her children—and encourage him to continue pressing for Saeed’s release. The address is:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500