Imprisoned U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini has managed to get out a letter to his hundreds of thousands of supporters around the world through his wife, Naghmeh, in which he praised the unity Christians in various denominations have shown in praying for his release.
"I heard that the persecution, my arrest and imprisonment has united churches from different denominations, from different cities and countries, that would never come together because of their differences. That the churches have united together in prayer to put one request (my freedom) on one day (Pentecost) before God," the pastor said in a letter.
"You don't know how happy I was in the Lord and rejoiced knowing that in my chains the body of Christ has chained together and is brought to action and prayer."
There has been some positive news in the past couples of weeks concerning the 33-year-old pastor, first with his release from solitary confinement in Evin Prison in Tehran earlier in May, and then with reports from fellow prisoners who said that Abedini seemed to be "glowing" and "filled with more joy and peace after solitary," which his wife said is proof that prayers around the world are making a difference.
Abedini was sentenced to 8 years in prison back in January, supposedly for endangering national security, though the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which represents his family in the U.S., has said that the conviction has more to do with his Christian faith. At the time of his arrest in September 2012, Abedini was building an orphanage for children in Iran.
Over 590,000 people around the world have signed a petition calling for the pastor's release, and earlier this week he was able to meet with family in Iran during a prison visit, sharing with them how encouraged he is by all the support he has been receiving.
"When the Church is united (with one heart, in one place, on one day) that is when the joy and strength of God (Holy Spirit) wants to come in that unity and pour out and the Lord be exalted. Although this unity is the result of direct involvement of the Holy Spirit that is able to bring many different characteristics to make one," the pastor wrote.
"When someone's life like mine is in danger, we realize how different we are in our opinions (although some of those differences might be correct), but that we are still united in one goal of praying for my freedom," he continued.
Abedini called upon people to continue praying, not only for him, but for the freedom and salvation of people around the world.
"Let us be united so that the Holy Spirit might fall on us and the Glory of God would be revealed through us and through the church," the pastor concluded.
Pastor Abedini's full letter can be read on the ACLJ website.