"What would you die for?" It is one of the ultimate questions, as we all treasure our lives. Yet, here they are, those who sacrificed their lives for something unseen. Christians who through the centuries have died for their faith and have left to us their prayers. From Stephen who died beneath the walls of Jerusalem in the first century to a young Iranian Christian shot in Tehran in 1981, they continue to speak to us even in their death.
We live in an age of uncertainty, spiritual pluralism and, in much of the western world, material excess. The prayers of the martyrs come to down through the centuries to challenge our assumptions and the "comfortable Christianity" so often delivered from pulpits and television screens week by week. These prayers remind us of the worthiness of Christ and the costliness of the Gospel.
We are humbled by the commitment shown and the price paid. We are encouraged by their honesty and their grace. We are inspired by their vision.
Martyrs' Prayers comes to remind us and challenge us in our faith.
Previously published as Prayers of the Martyrs (1991) and Beyond Belief (2002).