Michael Marcel shares the story of the man who wrote the book that is second only to the Bible in the number of copies it has sold worldwide.

John Bunyan
John Bunyan

I have spent the last 15 years researching our spiritual heritage. During this time I have read many biographies of amazing men and women who've given their all, even their lives, to serve their God and their country. Every time I would read one of their stories, I would get inspired and want to do something to emulate them.

Their testimonies carry great power and I feel it is a shame very few people even recognise their names let alone know anything about them. It is so important that we remember our great men and women so that we can learn from them and be inspired by them.

These forgotten heroes have helped to make our nation a better place. And as our society slips down into something none of them would recognise, we need more heroes to rise up to help transform our society.

There is no reason why you cannot be a hero of this nation. The people I speak about in this series were ordinary people, men and women from all walks of life. What made them different was their love of God and their passion to serve him. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 16, "They stood firm in their faith, they were courageous and they were strong." These men and women were bold and they stepped out into their destiny.

I pray that you too will be inspired by their stories and will be bold and will step into your destiny.

John Bunyan

This forgotten hero wrote the book that is second only to the Bible in the number of copies it has sold worldwide and he was hugely persecuted for his Christian beliefs. His name: John Bunyan.

John Bunyan was born in Bedfordshire in 1628. He only had a rudimentary education, learning little more than how to read and write.

He worked with his father as a tinker, returning to the job in 1647 after serving in the army during the Civil War.

It seems that the Lord was protecting him as he grew up, because he had two accidents that could have been fatal, and during the Civil War someone who asked to replace him on sentry duty was shot dead.

Bunyan had few equals for cursing, lying and blaspheming, but his wife, unsurprisingly, was keen that he should change his ways, so she would read the Bible to him and encourage him to go to church.

Later, after church one Sunday, he heard a voice say to him, ''Will you leave your sins and go to heaven, or have your sins and go to hell?"

From this point his character slowly began to change, but it was not until he started going to a dissenter's meeting that he became 'born again'.

By 1655 he had moved his family to Bedford and he started to preach. He was a very gifted and much admired speaker.

Bunyan soon had an itinerant ministry and hundreds came to hear him speak. He had a passion and an amazing ability to grip the heart in communicating truth. He felt that when he spoke he had an angel at his back - he probably did.