Ethnic Groups of Iran
"…with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation." Revelation 5:9
Iran is a beautiful tapestry of different ethnic and linguistic groups which have lived together in harmony and mutual respect for centuries, while sharing a common patriotism for the country. In addition to Persians, there are 50 or more ethnic groups in Iran which together make up approximately half of the population. These include the Azeri, Gilaki, Mazandarani, Luri, Bakhtiari, Baluchi, Turkmen, Kurdish, Qashghai, Jewish, Armenian, Assyrian, Arab and Parsi (Zoroastrian) ethnic groups.
Biblical history makes us aware that Persians, Medes (probably the Kurds of today) and Elamites inhabited the region we know today as Iran. Throughout the centuries these early inhabitants sub-divided into different ethnic groupings. Segments from other people such as Jews, Arabs, Turkic peoples, and Armenians have also integrated over time and in more recent years Iran has welcomed large numbers of Afghans and Iraqi Kurds who have sought refuge there from conflicts in their homelands.
While Persian is the national language loved and spoken by almost all, most ethnic groups have retained their own mother tongue in spoken form as the language of their heart and home. This means that the message of the Gospel and basic Christian teaching may have more impact if delivered in the mother tongue, though participation in the wider fellowship of believers and on-going spiritual growth will naturally be in Persian.
In His covenant with Abraham, God promised to bless all the ethnic peoples of the earth. In realisation of this promise many people from various ethnic groups have been added to the Church in recent years. However, there are still a number of groups where there are no known Christians.
So today we want to pray that the Gospel will reach every ethnic group in Iran. Please join us in prayer and praise:
- Praise God for the harmony which exists between the various peoples of Iran, and pray that this can be maintained in both the political and Church domains.
- Pray for wisdom for Christian leaders, evangelists and broadcasters to discern how best to minister to the various regions and communities of Iran. Pray they will recognize the opportunities for use of the heart languages where appropriate alongside the use of Persian.
- Pray for those involved in production of Scripture portions in audio/visual formats (such as the Jesus Film) and other ministry materials in various languages of Iran. Pray in particular for the production of the Scriptures in Azeri spoken by over 20 million people in Iran.
Thank you so much for your prayers.