In 2016 my faith turns 16 because I first met Jesus in 2000. Since that date I’ve got to know him more and more every day. I believe, as children of God, every person who is in Christ has lots of gifts. One of which is you can ask from your Father everything in the name of Jesus by faith (Mathew 21:22 & John 16:23). In my spiritual life with Jesus I’ve prayed a lot and received answers to those prayers. I think every believer shares that experience but there are sometimes things we forget to pray about, as I did, which is actually when I received an answer from God.
I come from a country which is a dangerous place for Christians, especially for those people from a Muslim background. When I was in my country, I used to gather together for prayer and worship with other Christians. We prayed for our country and for our people to know Jesus and be saved. But as you may know, the answer to our prayers is not always yes right now from God. After many years of praying, Christianity became more dangerous in my country and many people were arrested.
This persecution continued so I had to leave Iran, as many Christians did. These events did not stop me praying for my country and my people until one day, one of my friends was arrested. His name is Farshid Fathi. In the bible it says “if one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:26). In this verse about suffering, it’s hard to explain but God tells us “even if you are not suffering directly, we suffer because we are one body”.
After a few months, many churches in the world heard about Farshid’s arrest and prayed for him. In the early days when I heard this message I was very sad and I knelt and prayed for him, however, after a few months I sometimes forgot to pray for him. Then, a year had passed and Farshid was still in prison.
When I was forgetting to pray for him God reminded me of 1 Corinthians 12:26 and so I started praying again. But again, day after day passed and nothing happened. In the second and then third year I was disappointed and I said to myself “it’s pointless because there are many people, not just me, praying but he is still in prison”. In these days I felt God say to me “time and everything is in my hands, your time is not the same as mine” and I was encouraged to start praying for him again.
Finally, after five years, in December 2015 Farshid was finally released from prison! It took a long time to receive an answer to my prayers, but in this period I learned patience in prayer. God is faithful and even when we forget his promises he never ever does. Because of God’s promise, I and all Christians who know Farshid have received this New Year’s gift of Farshid’s freedom (even those brothers & sisters who don’t know him but are part of this one body). But we must not forget that many Christians are suffering in prison, as Farshid was, and they need your prayers. God wants you to ask him and he will do amazing things in their life and in his body so that he may be glorified.