Iranian prisoner calls for prayer: ‘I need comfort from the Lord’

July 1, 2021 by Lindy Lowry in Middle East

Since the day former house church participant Nasser Navard Gol-Tapeh first wrote his first letter to authorities from Evin Prison (known as Iran’s “torture factory”), we’ve followed his journey through his many inspiring letters.

Today, there is no letter—just a simple and desperate request to pray for “comfort from the Lord.”

Our brother, who turns 60 in August, just got word that his request for conditional release has been rejected. Article 18 writes, “the news comes as a bitter blow to the Christian convert … having been regularly assured by prison authorities in recent months that his request would be accepted.”

Nasser is eligible for parole after serving over one third of his 10-year sentence for being part of a Tehran house church—what the Iranian government calls “actions against national security.”

Since the start of his sentence in January 2018, Nasser has made three requests for a retrial—all rejected. The ruling in Nasser’s case was based on evidence provided by Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence. However the documents containing the evidence were not given to his lawyer to review, no were they presented during the trial.

‘Is worshiping God acting against national security?’

A modern-day Paul, Nasser has written several open letters to authorities, asking pointed questions.

“Is the fellowship of a few Christian brothers and sisters in someone’s home, singing worship songs, reading the Bible and worshiping God acting against national security?” he wrote in one of his first letters. In the same letter, he powerfully shared: “I am in prison for my faith in Jesus Christ. My imprisonment will serve to further the gospel.”

Last year around the same time, he wrote: “I am confident in all hardships, and I believe I will become free by Him who I have hope to (my Lord) because the Lord our God does not forget his children … so let me be bold and say, ‘The Lord is my helper.’”

Watch a YouTube video he shared on his 58th birthday, one year in Evin Prison

After frequent assurances from prison authorities in recent months, Nasser received a handwritten letter last week from the Tehran prosecutor’s office, informing him that his request for conditional release had been rejected.

The letter offered no explanation for the decision—a bitter below for the believer who has yet not told his elderly mother he will not be returning home. Before he was sentenced, he lived with and cared for her.

Counting on the assurance he had received from authorities, he had told her he hoped to return soon. He wanted to ease the burden on relatives who have stepped in to care for her since his imprisonment.

The wait continues for our brother.

Pray with your brother Nasser

  • Pray that God would comfort and strengthen Nasser and all other Christian prisoners and that they would know His continued help.
  • Pray for a softening among authorities and a conviction to keep their word—that Nasser will be released
  • Pray for the difficult conversation with his mother as he shares he won’t be returning home to her.
  • Ask God to strengthen and bless his relatives who have stepped in to care for Nasser’s mother.
  • Pray that his family will respond to Jesus’ saving work on the cross
  • Pray that God would bless the people of Iran and that the gospel would continue to advance, despite the many obstacles.
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