Wife of Imprisoned Pastor Saeed Asks for Prayer

By   •   March 25, 2014

Naghmeh Abedini
Naghmeh Abedini, seen here speaking at BGEA headquarters, appeared on Fox News May 22 to discuss the latest developments in the case of her imprisoned husband, Saeed.

It’s been more than a year and a half since Naghmeh Abedini last saw her husband, Saeed.

“I can’t even express the depths of pain,” Naghmeh said. “One, as a wife seeing your husband being tortured, and two, as a mom seeing your children suffering.”

Yet, as she stood before the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association staff in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday morning, Naghmeh exuded strength, beauty and peace.

“It’s not possible to pretend peace,” she said. “When my whole world is falling apart … I can’t fake peace. It has to be supernatural. It has to be from a real God.”

BGEA President Franklin Graham has been vocal in his support of the Abedini family, calling for believers to pray for Pastor Saeed, a 33-year-old American who was arrested in Iran in September 2012.

Franklin Graham believes Saeed’s case highlights the need for believers to pray for persecuted Christians around the globe, in an age when faith in Jesus Christ is met with opposition and even violence in different parts of the world.

Each morning, a photo of Pastor Saeed is displayed at BGEA headquarters, reminding the team to continually pray for the family. Last September, to mark the one-year anniversary of Saeed’s imprisonment, the BGEA featured the Abedinis as the cover story in Decision magazine and urged believers to take part in prayer vigils around the country.

With two young children—Rebekka, 7 and Jacob, 6—and the full-time job of keeping her husband’s story alive, Naghmeh says she must decide every morning to trust God and cling to Jesus.

“When we cling to Him, we receive this amazing, living God and His joy and peace and favor,” she said. “And the world wants it, because they are going through trials without Jesus. So they say, ‘How are you thriving in these trials?’ I say, ‘Because I have a relationship [with Jesus]. I don’t have religion. I have relationship.”


The God They Were Looking For

When Naghmeh accepted Christ at the age of 9, her family had just moved to the United States to escape the war raging in their home country of Iran.

Naghmeh and her twin brother had many questions about God, but she said they never found the answers in Iran. Then something happened when they settled in California.

“My brother, within days, had a vision of Jesus,” Naghmeh said. “He came to me so shaken and moved by this. He said, ‘I’ve found the God we’ve been looking for.’”

After attending college, where she hosted Bible studies for spiritual seekers, Naghmeh sensed God calling her to the international mission field.

“I would pray for the nations, and I’d pray for Iran,” she said.

Naghmeh met Saeed Abedini in Iran in 2002. Like her, Saeed was born in Iran and had discovered the love of Jesus.

After getting married in 2004, Naghmeh and Saeed made their home in Boise, Idaho, but traveled to Iran regularly to visit family. As Christians who were open about their faith, they had been arrested several times but were always released. So when Saeed left for a trip to Iran in June of 2012, Naghmeh expected to see him again soon.

“It was a quick goodbye at the airport,” she said. “He was leaving for three weeks to finish up a government-approved orphanage.”

But this time, Saeed was arrested when he tried to return to the United States.

“They said his crime was undermining the national security of Iran,” Naghmeh said.

She and thousands of supporters including The American Center for Law and Justice insist Saeed, who has been sentenced to eight years in prison, was only arrested because of his Christian faith.

Strength in Weakness

Naghmeh describes herself as shy and soft-spoken, and she has walked far outside of her comfort zone this past year.

Tuesday night, she’ll speak in front of Charlotte-area pastors, who were invited by the BGEA to hear the Abedinis’ story and join in praying for Pastor Saeed’s release.

No longer a stranger to public speaking, Naghmeh has shared her husband’s story with millions, through outlets including FOX News, BBC Farsi and Voice of America Persia. She has also spoken at the United Nations and is scheduled to speak to several European parliaments in a few weeks.

“Mr. Franklin Graham really helps me a lot by mentoring me in that area,” Naghmeh said. “He has been like a father, a mentor and a friend.”

“The Lord has opened up a door for her to take the Gospel to places we probably wouldn’t be able to go,” Franklin Graham said Tuesday, as he urged believers to continue to pray for Pastor Saeed, Naghmeh and their children.

Pastor Saeed is currently hospitalized and in need of medical care. Relatives in Iran have said he is suffering internal bleeding from beatings.

That news devastates Naghmeh, who says that without Jesus, she wouldn’t be able to get out of bed. But she’s holding fast to the words of 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 as she fights for her husband—and, in the process, takes the Gospel to the nations.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.


Looking for peace? Naghmeh says she found supernatural peace when she accepted Christ. If you’re looking for peace and hope, visit www.peacewithgod.net to explore what a relationship with Jesus could mean for you.

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  1. Theresa says:

    My husband and I are reading the One Year Bible and God clearly spoke Saeed’s name to me in connection with Isaiah 50:4-11. I did not know it was the anniversary. Be encouraged my sister:
    4 “The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue,
    to know the word that sustains the weary…
    5 The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears;
    I have not been rebellious,
    I have not turned away.
    6 I offered my back to those who beat me,
    my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;
    I did not hide my face
    from mocking and spitting.
    7 Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
    I will not be disgraced.
    Therefore have I set my face like flint,
    and I know I will not be put to shame.
    8 He who vindicates me is near.
    Who then will bring charges against me?
    Let us face each other!
    Who is my accuser?
    Let him confront me!
    9 It is the Sovereign Lord who helps me.
    Who will condemn me?
    They will all wear out like a garment;
    the moths will eat them up.
    10 Who among you fears the Lord
    and obeys the word of his servant?
    Let the one who walks in the dark,
    who has no light,
    trust in the name of the Lord
    and rely on their God.
    11 But now, all you who light fires
    and provide yourselves with flaming torches,
    go, walk in the light of your fires
    and of the torches you have set ablaze.
    This is what you shall receive from my hand:
    You will lie down in torment.

  2. Cathy says:

    Dear Lord Jesus we all love you so much and know you are at work in this so our hearts will continue to be strong and hold this courageous family ON THE FRONT LINES FOR YOU, up in pray to a God of the PUREST LOVE, MERICLES and so much more we will never realize it all with this earthly mind. Please soften the hearts of the Iranians they are locked into a belief system that believes killing is right…. That is sad…… only supernatural intervention can release them… Oh father please help them…. I will always continue to pray for My brothers and sisters who are in prison for you but its the leaders who are really in a worse prison one that will last forever….. Jesus please intervene there is no man that is our enemy only Satan is

  3. Chube Bala says:

    heavenly Father, we are crying before You to hear us and have compassion upon your servant Pastor Saeed for his quick release as You did to Paul and Silas in the time of old, do it for him now because we believe in the Faithful Name Jesus. Amen.


    My heart and prayers go to the Abedini family. “I will never leave you nor forsake you, I will be with you until the end of age” so says our forever faithful Lord. We with you and will continue to pray for all of you.

  5. Hezron Mwasi Mwarigha, Voi Kenya East Africa says:

    This reminds me of Psalms 23. May God continue to encourage and strengthen his people, especially those who are in situations like this. May God give us strength to persevere. May he shorten our periods of persecutions… Please.

  6. Donna L. Young says:


    Blessings Naghmeh-

    Today, I will be erasing my prayer board and adding only one name ‘Saeed.’ I will be on hands and knees praying with tears puddling until Saeed is released, is no longer being beaten, or brings his jailers to the side of Jesus Christ. Please let me know if God answers this prayer. Thank you for allowing me to pray for your family. May you feel the peace that passes All understanding. In Christ, Donna

  7. Jack Woltz says says:

    There are so many Things that happen to us in our life time, Un expected, Trills devastation, And broken HEARTS, If it were not for our HEAVENLY FATHER, JESUS CHRIST HIS SON, OUR SAVIOR, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, Giving us LOVE and HELP in all circumstances, we would not be able to make it through LIFE, PRAYER IS THE MOST Important Part, God will ANSWER OUR DAILY PRAYERS, With other brothers and sisters, IN CHRIST PRAYING FOR US ALSO, GOD TAKES CARE OF HIS CHILDREN, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY, GOD BLESS ALL.

  8. Gina van Niekerk says:

    Naghmeh Abedini, be strong in the Lord. Am praying for Saeed, my heart bleads for u and him. But remember, the Lord knows what HE is doing. Remember, it is 4 HIS GLORY. HE will repay! Be blessed in CHRIST JESUS our LORD and SAVIOR.

  9. Linda McGrew says:

    I had the privilege of hearing Naghmeh on Tuesday evening. It was an evening straight out of the book of Acts and I wanted to thank BGEA and everyone involved in hosting this event. It was a timely reminder of the power and wonder of God at work in the Muslim world today.

  10. Pastor Lord says:

    God still has a plan in mind for pastors saeed, His WILL will be done, until a grain of wheat fall to the ground and die, it abideth a lone God will use this challenge for His glory, Pastor Saeed is about to make history in Iran.