Pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen who has spent over two and-a-half years in an Iranian prison for his Christian faith, is marking on Thursday his 35th birthday by urging believers to pray for America’s revival. The pastor noted in a letter that his birthday this year falls on the National Day of Prayer in the United States. “As an American and as a prisoner for Christ, I have spent many hours praying and crying out to God for revival for this great nation. We all hope for the success of our nation and for America to be blessed, but without revival there can be no true success or blessing. As Ezra’s cried out to God in repentance and the Israelites joined him in weeping bitterly and turning from their sin, I would like to ask you to join me in repenting and praying for revival,” Abedini’ letter begins.

The American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, and the couple’s two children in Boise, Idaho, said that the letter was obtained from a family member in Iran who visited the pastor in prison last week. The ACLJ has been campaigning for the release of Abedini and three other American citizens imprisoned in Iran, but has criticized President Barack Obama’s administration for abandoning the Americans in the nuclear deal agreement with Iran. After White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest revealed last week that Obama would veto any bill that would require Iran to release the prisoners before the nuclear deal is finalized, the ACLJ spoke out and called the admittance “despicable” and “outrageous.” FULL REPORT