There is no distance in prayer

Published 12:01 am Saturday, October 11, 2014

Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American citizen, has been imprisoned in Iran for more than two years because of his faith in Jesus Christ.

To mark the second anniversary of his imprisonment, a special event was held on September 25 in Washington, D.C. outside of the White House to pray for Pastor Saeed’s release.

I participated in the special event, but I didn’t go to Washington, D.C. I watched the event and prayed with others around the world, joining together for the global prayer vigil for Pastor Saeed via the Internet.

The Reverend Franklin Graham spoke at this event. “Jesus warned his disciples in Matthew 24 that they would be hated and persecuted because of His Name. We see in Acts that Peter was imprisoned. We see that Paul was imprisoned and later executed for his faith,” Franklin Graham said. “I want us to pray today. I want us to pray that God will intervene, and He would bring this faithful servant who has been tortured and beaten for his faith, that God will bring him home.”

According to news reports, “Saeed was arrested in 2012 when he was visiting his former homeland to build an orphanage. Since then, he has suffered brutality and beatings for his faith from within the prison’s walls. Now ISIS militants are issuing death threats against Saeed, and imprisoned members of al Qaeda have already attempted to murder him as well. Saeed has told his family that he fears for his life and is forced to refuse allotted prison yard time to avoid these dangerous situations.”

Franklin Graham said Pastor Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh, “is worried and is fervently asking for our prayers,” and asked, “Please pray for Saeed, Naghmeh and their family.” During the prayer vigil, Naghmeh Abedini read a letter her husband had written to their daughter on her eighth birthday – the third birthday he has missed since being imprisoned.

He wrote, “I know that you question why you have prayed so many times for my return and yet I am not home yet. Now there is a big ‘Why’ in your mind. You are asking why Jesus isn’t answering your prayers and the prayers of all of the people around the world praying for my release and for me to be home with you and our family. The answer to the Why is Who. Who is control? Lord Jesus Christ is in control.”

Through the years, I’ve often heard there is no distance in prayer. I’ve read that “when we are linked by the power of prayer, we hold each other’s hands.”

Sir Isaac Newton has written, “I can take my telescope and look millions of miles into space but I can go away to my room and in prayer get nearer to God in heaven than I can when assisted by all the telescopes of earth.”

The Bible promises, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man (or woman) avails much” (James 5:16). You and I cannot go to Iran, but God is there. Will you join me in praying for the release of this American pastor, Pastor Saeed Abedini?

Jan White is an award-winning columnist. She can be reached at