June: Iranian Peoples
Who They Are
There are around 80 ethnic groups in the Iranian cluster, the largest of which are the Persians, Kurds, Pashtuns and Baloch. They are linked together through a shared linguistic heritage: the Indo-Iranian language cluster. Much of the common culture and traditions of these peoples was forged and shaped by the almost 10 centuries of Persian imperial rule over a region that stretched from Iraq to Afghanistan. Beginning in the 7th century, the indo-iranian peoples began converting to Islam after the conquest of the Persian empire by the Arabs. Before their conversion they were principally Zoroastrians, one of the most ancient religions in the world. A few hundred thousand followers of Zoroastrianism still exist today. The major division in Islam between Sunnis and Shiites has had a profound and lasting impact on the Indo-Iranian peoples. The Persians are staunchly Shiites, which means they believe clergy should govern their politics. Today’s ayatollah of Iran is the defacto leader of the world’s 200 million Shiites. The civil war which began in the house of Islam over 1300 years ago still continues today, fueled by oil money, and facilitated by proxy wars all over the world. In Afghanistan, the Taliban brought terror to an entire nation through the strict imposition of Shariah law upon all of life. As in Iran, a once progressive and modernizing society was quickly reduced to a medieval state, where women are restricted from education, work and public life. What God is Doing
A massive breakthrough for the gospel is underway in Iran, with thousands of house churches being established throughout the country, especially in the capital Tehran. This is the result of four decades of Islamic rule that has become toxic to Persian society. Millions are becoming secularized in the process, and in the midst of this spiritual vacuum, tens of thousands are finding Jesus Christ. Breakthroughs are also happening among the Kurds and the Baluch, though not on the scale of what is happening among Persians. Among the Pashtun, progress has been much slower, due in part to the continued instability in Afghanistan.
How to Pray
-Pray for the continued multiplication of house churches and leaders in Iran and that this breakthrough might impact all the surrounding peoples in the Indo-Iranian cluster.
-Pray for continued open doors and stability in Kurdistan that will enable the gospel to thrive.
-Intercede for spiritual breakthrough among the Pashtun and for the complete deconstruction of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
-Pray for healing and reconciliation through Christ to come into the house of Islam, which has known only conflict and war for the last 1400 years.
Read more: The Challenge of the Iranian World