Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Advent & the persecuted church: Azad’s story

December 1, 2023 by Abigail Hart in Advent Season

Week 4 Devotional – Peace: The Angels’ Candle

Natural disasters. Inflation. War. There’s so much trying to steal our peace. But in Luke 2, we read the following:

“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men …’” –Luke 2:13-14

In Biblical times, Joseph and Mary needed the Lord’s peace. Especially after an angel warned them to flee to Egypt because King Herod would seek to destroy the Infant King.

Today, so many of us are overcome by the worries of life. But like Joseph and Mary, we can keep our eyes on Christ—our Savior—and find peace in any circumstance. And not just any peace, but perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3).

Let’s turn our attention to the persecuted church, for example. We’re deeply inspired by the story of Azad. He grew up Muslim but is now an underground church leader in the Middle East, as well as a Bible smuggler.

He’s faced intense persecution in his life. In his own words, because of his faith, “Islamic leaders wanted to kill my wife and children.” But he’s found peace in Jesus to continue on: “God tells you in a different way—in various ways—that there’s always a way, and that He’s there.”

Though he’s surrounded by Islamic extremists who wish to destroy him, Azad bravely straps 50-pound sacks of Bibles to his back and sneaks into Middle Eastern countries where the gospel is needed most. If caught, he could face prison, torture or death. But still he perseveres. And how? Through the peace of Jesus Christ that surpasses all understanding.

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

Lord, in these fraught times, we earnestly desire You and Your peace. This Advent season, as we go through this Advent guide, let us consider the angels’ words: peace has come. Help us hold those words close to our hearts and treasure them. When the enemy tries to destroy our peace, help us keep our eyes on You and feel Your presence. Let us learn from the example of our persecuted brother in Christ, Azad, who experiences Your peace despite great challenges all around him. This Christmas season, may we and our persecuted family members draw ever closer to You as we acknowledge that You are with us. Amen.

Questions for Contemplation

• How does God invite me to experience His peace during tumultuous times?

• How were Joseph and Mary able to maintain their peace amid King Herod’s threats?

• What does Azad’s story teach me about my persecuted family members? How do they remain at peace?

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

About the author
Abigal Hart writes for Global Christian Relief, sharing this Advent guide and 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 touched by Azad’s story of resilience? 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.

Donate a Bible today