Daily Prayer: a resource of Forward Movement

The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers Henry Martyn, Priest, and Missionary to India and Persia, 1812.

One good example is worth a thousand exhortations. The good example of young Henry Martyn led to a flurry of enthusiasm for the Church of England's missionary efforts in India and the East. Martyn was born in Truro, England, and educated at Cambridge, where he was a friend of Charles Simeon. Henry was a very bright, lovable, and dedicated young man, and it was probably Simeon who encouraged him to take up a missionary vocation. In 1805 Martyn became a chaplain for the East India Company, upon Simeon's recommendation, and sailed to India. There he served the church in Calcutta, founded schools at Patna and Cawnpore, and translated the New Testament and The Book of Common Prayer into Hindustani. He traveled widely, preaching, teaching, and helping those in need in every way he could.

He went to Persia and there translated the New Testament into Persian. Travel in those days brought few pleasures and many hazards. Exhausted and seeking some respite for soul and body, he went into Asia Minor where the climate and civilization were somewhat more hospitable. There, at Tokat (in modern Turkey), he became very ill and was befriended by Armenian Christians. He died there at age thirty-one and was buried by Armenian clergy.

Strengthen us for the journeys of our lives, so that we might follow you where you would lead us. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

O God of the nations, you gave your faithful servant Henry Martyn a brilliant mind, a loving heart, and a gift for languages, that he might translate the Scriptures and other holy writings for the peoples of India and Persia; Inspire in us a love like his, eager to commit both life and talents to you who gave them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

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