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Advent & the persecuted church: Omar’s story

December 1, 2023 by Abigail Hart in Advent Season

Week 1 Devotional – Hope: The Prophets’ Candle

Some scholars believe Jesus fulfilled hundreds of Old Testament prophecies. Perhaps the most well-known prophecy is this one, given in Isaiah 7:14:

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and will call Him Immanuel.”

What profound words of hope—words that would encourage God’s people, even in the hardest of times. This prophecy would sit in the hearts of the children of Israel. They would fall into captivity and exile, but still the words of the prophet would ring in their ears, that Immanuel—meaning “God with us”—was promised to come.

Over 2,000 years ago, Isaiah’s words of the coming Christ were hopeful, and those words remain just as hopeful today. And maybe no one knows that better than our friend, Omar.

Omar is a believer living in the Middle East, where he faces grave persecution. Being a fervent Christian and former Muslim comes with daily discrimination and serious threats against his life.

But Omar can’t hide the hope he has in Jesus. He currently ministers to a growing network of 40 underground house churches, smuggling Bibles to new converts so they can be discipled in their newfound Christian faith. He says of his ministry work, “I see people turn from darkness into light. They come from death to life.”

When he’s not busy with ministry, Omar works as a taxi driver to pay his bills. In a courageous move, he plays an audio Bible on his car’s radio—so that all of his Muslim passengers can hear about the hope of Christ prophesied by Isaiah all those years ago.

The Christmas season is here! As a token of our appreciation for your continued generosity to our ministry, we put together a Christmas prayer guide to help ready your heart for the coming of our King. You can read the free prayer guide below and reflect on the Biblical events of Christ’s birth, while calling to mind the fruits of the Spirit and the inspiring stories of the persecuted church.

Read Now

Prayer of Reflection

Heavenly Father, we’re grateful for this reminder during Advent to slow down and focus on You—the true meaning of the season. We’re grateful for the unsurpassed hope You’ve brought into this world through the birth of Your Son, which was prophesied long ago. Like our persecuted brother in Christ, Omar, may we be filled with courage to share Your love with those around us. May we have the boldness necessary to tell Your story, share this Advent devotional guide and pray for those far from You—those who need Your hope most. Amen.

Questions for Contemplation

• How do biblical prophecies continue to inspire the Body of Christ today—including our persecuted family?

• Are there specific ways I can pray for my persecuted brothers and sisters to experience hope this Christmas?

• What inspires me the most about the story of my persecuted brother in Christ, Omar?

*Please note: Omar’s name has been changed to ensure his safety and anonymity.

About the author
Abigal Hart writes for Global Christian Relief, sharing the inspiring stories of persecuted Christians all around the world. Read the latest Christian persecution stories on our website and learn more at

Have you been inspired by Omar’s story? You can help us get Bibles in the hands of those who need it most. For just $5, you can deliver God’s transforming Word to our persecuted brothers and sisters.

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