Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American pastor who spent three-and-a-half years imprisoned in Iran for his faith, has said he regularly "prayed" for pop star Justin Bieber during his incarceration.
"I love this guy!" Abedini said of Bieber in a recent Facebook post. "I prayed for him a lot last year of my prison for Christ in Iran and I already wrote a letter for him there but never could give it to him."
The pastor also shared a link to a CBN article about how Bieber publicly declared Jesus' power over the devil in a recent Instagram post.
"I am so happy to see he preach the Gospel on the peak of his music profession life," Abedini said. "May Lord Bless him and use him in the road of his abundant Grace."
Abedini's post received a number of "likes" and several comments from people expressing belief that God will use Bieber for His glory.
"'He that hath no sin cast the first stone'... Jesus. It's great to hear that Justin Bieber has found the extreme importance of having a true relationship with Jesus-God of the universe," wrote one commenter.
"Now that he's returned to Christ... I believe he will be used mightily," said another commenter.
"Going against the trends of the vile music world. Well done Justin," added another.
Earlier this week, the 23-year-old Despacito singer posted a video of himself dancing and pretending to sing along to the chorus of the Hillsong United song "Not Today." He captioned the video: "Let the devil know NOT TODAY! The devil has no power when you know the LIVING God! His name is JESUS!! Why worry when you can worship."
The pop star has become increasingly vocal about his Christian faith in recent years, leaving behind his bad-boy ways and spending time with influential pastors including Carl Lentz, Rich Wilkerson, and Judah Smith.
Abedini, who established house churches in Iran, was released in January 2016 as part of a prisoner swap. During his time in prison, Abedini was interrogated, then physically and psychologically tortured after he refused to sign documents implicating him in crimes that he said he did not commit. He said he saw terrible things happen to other prisoners, such as Sunni Muslims, being publicly executed.
"Mostly I was praying," Abedini recalled. "The best thing I could do over there was [pray]."
His wife, Naghmeh, as well as prominent Christian leaders campaigned heavily for his release. Ten days after his release from prison, however, Naghmeh filed for legal separation. She told Reuters that her husband had threatened to end their marriage and that she had taken "temporary legal action to make sure our children will stay in Idaho" until the situation between them had been resolved.
In October 2016, Abedini filed for divorce from Naghmeh. The divorce was finalized in April.