For many years we, along with many other believers, have been praying for the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani in Iran who was imprisoned and convicted of apostasy for his faith in Jesus Christ. His punishment? Death, unless he agreed to renounce his faith. His decision? Jesus.
On September 8th 2012, after 3 years in prison, he was released with time served credited as punishment for his 'crime'. As I read the news, I rejoiced in the power of prayer and the freedom of our brother in Christ. I was reminded of a similar story in Acts 12:
Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread. So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover. Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. Acts 12:1-5 Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands. Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did. And he said to him, “Put on your garment and follow me.” So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.” So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying. Acts 12:7-12
The Bible exhorts us to "Pray without ceasing," 1 Thessalonians 5:17. My mother always reminds me that 'more things are wrought by prayer than this world could ever imagine.' Let us never grow weary of praying, knowing that God is faithful. Remember, prayer undergirded by faith can move mountains. It did in Iran!