Dr. Hormoz Shariat has seen God perform many miracles in his home country of Iran, but most of those have come through live broadcasts of his TV show from Dallas, Texas. People from Iran watch the show and receive miracles, then they call in during his broadcasts to tell of God’s goodness.
One time a man called into the program saying he had been suffering from serious liver problems. Several months later he called back saying, “I called you asking for prayer for my liver. It was healed. I went to my doctor and he said I didn’t need surgery or any medicine. I was totally healed.”
But the good news did not stop there. The caller then explained that after he was healed, he had prayed for his friend who had cancer. The cancer was healed. He also had a family member who had a brain tumor and he prayed specifically for the brain tumor to be removed. God answered that prayer too. The next time the doctors checked the woman, the tumor was completely gone.
Hormoz was very excited and praised God for doing these miracles. He explained to the caller how people already know about miracles in the Bible, but people can also learn to expect miracles in their own lives. When they expect miracles, then miracles happen.
Miracles with a Purpose
One day a lady called in from Iran asking if Hormoz interpreted dreams. Even though he didn’t have any specialty with interpreting dreams, Hormoz was willing to listen to her story and potentially give her insight on what her dream meant.
“She told me she was an Iranian Muslim . . . She had watched our program for weeks and was doubting whether Islam was true. The lady asked me, ‘Which one is true, Christianity or Islam?’ She had a dream that she was locked in a dark desert. She said, ‘I didn’t know where to go. There was nothing to see. I was desperate. I cried out to God saying, ‘I’m lost. Would you show me the way? Where should I go to be saved?’ Suddenly an angel appeared to me on my right. I asked him to help me. Without even talking, the angel pointed to my left and I saw the cross in the distance, full of light. I went to the cross and I felt so peaceful. What does my dream mean?’”
Hormoz suddenly found himself interpreting the woman’s dream with God’s help. He told her, “In your dream you asked God to show you which path is true. He showed you and He said, ‘The cross is the way.’ Are you ready to receive Christ?”
The woman was ready to receive Christ as her Savior, and Hormoz prayed with her live on the air.
Whenever Hormoz prays with people to receive Christ, many others are saying the prayer of salvation along with him.
“People will call saying, ‘I accepted Christ as my Savior. Do you remember two years ago when you prayed with that lady? I prayed with you too . . . I’m a Christian now.’”
Growing Up in Iran
Pastor Hormoz Shariat was born into a Muslim family in Iran. His mom taught Islam and the Quran, but his family never forced Islam on him. Still, he willingly followed Islam in his early years.
“I was praying up to five times per day. But after a year I said to myself, ‘This doesn’t make sense to me. I’m memorizing a prayer and repeating it. It isn’t adding anything to me or to my life.’ At that time, I became more of an intellectual and focused on getting good grades. My dreams as a teen were to come to the United States and become a research scientist,” explained Hormoz.
Like almost every student in Iran at the time, Hormoz was active in politics.
“Everyone wanted a change in the country . . . I was on the streets of Tehran in 1979 shouting, ‘Death to America! Death to Shah!’ Now, I’ve changed my mind about those things. Today I say, ‘God bless America!’”
Hormoz came to the United States in 1979 after the revolution in Iran, and pursued his PhD in Computer Engineering at USC.
Around that time, Dr. Shariat wanted to know more about God. He didn’t feel that he could fully dedicate his life to Islam without understanding it better.
“I felt like I was ignoring Islam because I was so engrossed in my studies. When I was younger, I sincerely followed Islam, but it really didn’t do anything for me personally. I decided that if the teachings of the Quran were true, I would dedicate my life to Islam.”
Hormoz finished studying the Quran and his heart wasn’t satisfied with the teachings. Hormoz’s other goal was to get read the entire Bible, but he was skeptical. He doubted whether he would really learn anything new in the Bible.
“I wanted to read the Bible to compare and contrast with the Quran.” He further explains, “I thought I could just read it quickly in three days, so I started in Genesis and read all the way through to the New Testament.”
While reading the book of Matthew, Hormoz started asking himself who Jesus really was. This Jesus described in Matthew’s Gospel was not the prophet he had read about in Islam. Hormoz struggled with every single verse in Matthew.
Hormoz explains, “The Sermon on the Mount is so beautiful and supernatural. But it really bothered me. One night, I got so mad after reading the Sermon on the Mount story, that I threw my Bible across the room. I said, ‘I’m an engineer. I’m looking for something practical. But what Jesus says at the Sermon on the Mount is not practical. Who can live like this? It’s an impossible religion to follow.’”
From Muslim to Christian
Hormoz had decided that Christianity was a fake religion filled with beautiful poetry. But the next morning, God convicted him. Hormoz felt a strong impression that he had to learn more about Christianity so he could truly understand it.
“I realized that I couldn’t let it go. Nor could I come to a conclusion about it at that time. Then someone invited us to church.”
Hormoz and his wife went to the Church of The Open Door in downtown Los Angeles. That’s where Hormoz first heard the Gospel preached and began to understand it. He realized that no one can reach God with their own efforts. No one can be perfect.
“I was so excited hearing it for the first time . . . I realized that no one can reach the Sermon on the Mount standard of Jesus . . . That day, I asked the Lord to change me from within.”
The peace Hormoz felt after accepting God into his life was unlike anything else he ever experienced. At the time, he and his wife, Donnell, had actually set a date to get divorced, but because of the message they heard at church that night, they decided to stay married. They have now been happily married for 44 years, and have raised three children together.
This is part 1 of a 2-part series based on the CalledWriters.com interview with Dr. Hormoz Shariat. Please check back for more about the spread of Christianity in Iran, the persecution of Christians in Iran, and how God is working through Dr. Hormoz Shariat and Iran Alive Ministries.
More About Dr. Hormoz Shariat
Dr. Hormoz Shariat is the author of Iran’s Great Awakening: How God is Using a Muslim Convert to Spark Revival. Dr. Shariat is also a pastor and the founder of Iran Alive Ministries. Iran Alive Ministries utilizes satellite TV to reach millions of lost people in Iran and the rest of the Middle East. Today, they broadcast the Gospel 24 hours a day, seven days a week from their studio in Dallas to Iran and the Middle East. His channel is called Shabakeh7. Hormoz has been broadcasting the Gospel into Iran and the Middle East since 2001 via satellite. He has seen tens of thousands of Iranian Muslims come to Christ. Shabakeh7 is the most watched Christian channel in Iran with more than six million daily viewers. More than 20 million people watch the channel weekly.