This story of faith and sacrifice will inspire you to pray for house churches in Iran!

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:1-3

A Turkmen convert from Islam to Christianity, Ghorban Tori, was the pastor of an independent house church in Gonbad-e-Kavus, Iran. He was kidnapped from his home in north-eastern Iran in November 2005 and stabbed to death.

His body, soaked in blood, was thrown in front of his family home a few hours later. Ghorban left a wife and four children, aged 3 to 23.

The secret police arrived at his home within hours of his death, searching for Bibles and other Farsi-language Christian books. They also raided several other Christian homes within the same city.

It was reported that Ghorban’s death followed a meeting of Iran’s provincial governors and President Ahmadinejad that discussed putting a stop to Iran’s growing house church movement, “underground” churches comprising converts from Islam.

Despite the government’s brutal efforts to quash Christianity in the strictly Islamic Republic of Iran, many Muslims have turned to Christ.

Lord, you promised to prepare a place for us,
for me, in your father’s house,
a promise underlined by the words,
‘If it were not so, I would have told you’.
My Lord and my God, a heavenly reunion
outside the bounds of time is too great a vision
for my mind to encompass.
But I know that love cannot die,
truth cannot die – and you are perfect love and perfect truth.
Lord, with all my limitations,
I believe; help my unbelief.
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo is the International Director of Barnabas Fund and the Executive Director of the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life.