As protests across Iran intensify, SAT-7’s Persian channel is offering prayer and support to viewers inside the country.
SAT-7 PARS is continuing to receive messages from viewers in Iran despite the internet blocks and restrictions on social media sites.
“Please keep Iran in your prayers. We remain hopeful that Iran will be free,” wrote Meersa as the protests intensified across the country following the death of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old Iranian woman who died on 16 September whilst in police custody. She had been detained by the country’s morality police for allegedly failing to wear the hijab properly.
“The messages are understandably muted, but we are here and ready to receive messages if they manage to get through from our viewers,” shared Ashraf Khalilpour, SAT-7 PARS’ Viewer Support Supervisor.
The Iranian security forces are cracking down hard on the protests, which started on 17 September and have spread throughout the country. While the official death toll stands at 41, human rights groups say it is much higher.
The cost of freedom
“Throughout history, achieving freedom has always come at a cost,” said Sally Momtazi, presenter of SAT-7 programme Insiders. “We feel the pain of the events taking place in Iran. Our hope is that the Lord is with each one of us on this journey, so that each person can have the right to choose. This is the most basic of rights that a person can have.”
“Seeing what has happened to Mahsa Amini has broken all our hearts,” added Hengameh Borji, Sally’s co-presenter on Insiders. She spoke as the show launched its seventh season, setting the tone for the programme as it stands with viewers through their darkest times and speaks out for human rights and Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB).
As the Iranian government blocked platforms including WhatsApp and Instagram, SAT-7’s ministry in Iran has been affected. Our viewer support team uses these apps to communicate directly with people in the country and to broadcast a live prayer programme. In 2021, we had 47,000 one-to-one conversations with Persian viewers – a real lifeline of support for isolated believers and those asking questions about Jesus.
Despite the restrictions, the SAT-7 PARS team have continued to send weekly viewer support messages, which include audio teaching, worship songs, and prayers, via WhatsApp.
“I just received your message as our internet connection was restored recently. May it be that evil will depart from Iran and good will replace it” Homoz wrote.
It is encouraging to know that some messages are getting through to SAT-7 viewers in Iran.
“Even if they are not all read now due to the restrictions,” said Ms Khalilpour, “When they finally are, our viewers will know we have not abandoned them. When some do get through, the response we get is ‘Thank you for thinking of us and continuing to pray for us.’”
As SAT-7 PARS continues to broadcast live on Instagram and satellite, the consistent message across all the programmes is one of hope and encouragement during these very difficult days.
On Thursday (29 September), the Instagram live programme Sanctuary of the Heart will be broadcast on satellite television as well as on social media to ensure that viewers with no internet connection can still access the show. This episode will be presented by Ashraf Khalilpour and Reza Jafari, alongside special guests Mansour Borji (from Article18), Tat Stewart and Pastor Sotoudeh.
Pastor Sotoudeh shared this prayer on last week’s episode of Sanctuary of the Heart:
“Father God, we thank You that we can trust You with every aspect of our lives, including in the current circumstances in Iran, which are full of turmoil and tragedy. Father, we pray for Your comfort for families who are in pain because of the loss of loved ones, like the family of Mahsa.
“Our prayer, Lord, is that the true God will be worshipped and Your name will be lifted up in every corner and in the highest parts of Iran. That every knee shall bow, and every tongue will praise Your name and give thanks.
“We thank You that You are the living God, and that You hear our prayers and answer them because we ask these things in the dear name of Jesus, with thanksgiving.”
Please pray for peace and justice for the people of Iran, and that restrictions on freedoms there will be lifted.