Several weeks ago it was reported that a top-ranked Iranian judo athlete, under extreme pressure from the Iranian government and in fear his family would be harmed, mysteriously lost an elimination match just prior to squaring off against an Israeli athlete in a championship round of the World Championship.
That Iranian athlete, Saeid Mollaei, fled the country following that World Championship meet in Tokyo earlier this year, and here is what he had to say:
“I could have been the world champion. I’ve been training hard, making lots of efforts. Today, I fought and won against an Olympic champion, an Olympics bronze-medalist and other opponents. I beat all of them. I even dreamed of the championship title today. But that was not my fate: I could not compete because of the law in my country, and because I was scared of consequences for my family and myself.”~ Saeid Mollaei, courtesy of CBN News
In response, The International Judo Federation (IJF) just announced this week that Iran has been banned from competition. The IJF is certainly justified in its decision, but consider this: there are other world-class athletes in Iran that are also hurt by that decision. The blame lies, not with the IJF, but with a rogue Iranian regime that so deeply hates Israel that it will not even allow its athletes to compete against Israeli athletes.
Two prayer points come to mind:
- Please pray for the people of Iran. For the most part, they are people who simply want to live their lives free of the tyranny that smothers them. Sure, as in any country, there are bad apples that ruin the bunch. In general, though, they are ordinary people like us, who need the love of Jesus, just as we do! The Holy Spirit is moving in mighty ways and revival is happening there. Pray for it to grow in intensity and reach.
- The hatred of Iranian leaders toward Israel permeates every level and aspect of society. That hatred will ultimately lead Iran (and others) to attack Israel, just as Ezekiel 38-39 prophesies. That event WILL happen, however, it is certainly appropriate to pray for the Lord to have mercy, whether in extension of time or in protection of the Jewish people (or both). Let’s pray together in that regard.
Meanwhile, congratulations to Israeli Judo World Champion, Sagi Muki, and prayers for exiled Iranian athlete, Saeid Mollaei. My prayer is that the Lord will reveal Himself to both of these men.
After all….we all have the same need of a Savior!