Traveling to over forty different countries, meeting church leaders who are, at times, risking their lives in the course of doing ministry, and hearing their unique challenges and joys can be an exhausting prospect. Fortunately, Brian Stiller has logged all the travel time, and he has shared his unique experiences and insights in An Insiders Guide to Praying for the World.
Meet Ajith Fernando, known as the John Stott of Asia, who remains in ministry in his homeland of Sri Lanka in spite of the devastation of violent ethnic conflict and the religious persecution that prevents Christians from having access to education for their children, purchasing property, or even renting public facilities for Bible studies or worship services.
Walk the crowded corridors of a Mexican prison where sleeping space is wherever you can find it (bathroom floors, hallways), and entire sections have been given over to the management of drug cartels.
Visit a seminary in Indonesia that was founded by a man who traveled to the United States to complete his own seminary training, but then returned with a huge vision for church planting that led to the establishment of not only the seminary, but the vision of every graduate planting a new church.
Inspiring stories are followed by Scripture passages and items for prayer related to the country and/or ministry from that days reading. With a colorful map nearby, An Insiders Guide to Praying for the World would be an excellent resource for family devotions with school-age children. Also with the Olympics coming up soon, there will be greater opportunity for introducing kids to hard realities about ministry in parts of the world represented by the athletes.
The Insiders Guide is an un-intimidating reference for a believer who knows she should be praying more intentionally for missionaries and extending her prayer ministry to areas of great need around the world . . . but doesnt know where to begin. As we pray fervently for brothers and sister in Christ around the world we become motivated to become part of the solution and to trust God for bigger things in our own lives.
This book was provided by Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Good for those unfamiliar with the challenges that Christians face in other countries
February 18, 2016
Debbie from ChristFocus
"An Insider's Guide to Praying for the World" described 41 countries and 11 ministries and suggested specific prayer needs for each. The selected countries are places the author has been during his work with the World Evangelical Alliance. Each section started with some information about the country's history and such. The author then described what he encountered when he visited (which wasn't always recent), specific groups at work or God's work in general in the country, or further details about a defining moment in that country's history. He ended each section with a Bible verse, items for prayer, and a suggested prayer.
This book can be used alone or with a small group. If you're not familiar with the challenges that Christians face in other countries, this book provides a good overview without overwhelming a person with too many countries.
The countries covered are: Somalia, South Africa, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, Albania, Romania, China, Syria, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Japan, Egypt, Rwanda, South Korea, Honduras, Colombia, Nicaragua, Indonesia, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Laos, Lebanon, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela, Malaysia, Kenya, South Sudan, Greece, Burma/Myanmar, Nepal, Bangladesh, Palestine, Czech Republic, Philippines, Lithuania, Poland, and Russia.
The ministries or topics that get their own section are: World Vision, Prison Ministry, Bishop John, Evangelist Nick, World Prayer Movement, Persecution and Martyrdom, The Pope, Muslims, Community of Sant'Egidio, International Prison Fellowship, Mexican Prisons.
I received an ebook review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
When I selected this book to review, I did so because my heart was pricked regarding my lack of praying for the nations of the world. My habit has become to pray for the nations in which I have friends working and living. Is this bad? Certainly not. But, to me, it does feel a bit neglectful. Alas: An Insiders Guide to Praying for the World, by Brian C. Stiller of World Evangelical Alliance. Overall, this book is a great help in cultivating a spirit of prayer for the gospels spread around our planet.
The book is organized into 52 devotionals, each about 4-5 pages. Each devotional is organized into five sections:
a box with general country information, including population and religion statistics
a narrative portion, titled Dispatch, that includes on-the-ground anecdotes
a Scripture reading
items for specific prayer
a written prayer
Though this book did broaden the countries for which I prayed, I found that I eventually only accessed three sections: the box with general information, the Scripture, and items for specific prayer. Honesty betrays that I began omitting the Dispatch section simply because I didnt like the authors writing style. If you do, then you might find that section more meaningful. I skipped the written prayer because I wanted to pray in my own words. Again, thats just a personal preference in this context.
In this world of smartphones and apps and instant updates on social media, I think this books main shortfall is how it cant be updated quickly and efficiently. Conversely, the Operation World website is exactly thata fast, profitable way to obtain up-to-date information with a few screen taps (or mouse clicks).
An Insiders Guide to Praying for the World does what you expect it to do: It provides a well-structured guide to praying through the nations. I think it is helpful for the church in that regard.
In exchange for my honest opinion, I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House.
An Insider's Guide to Praying for the World contains 52 chapters of countries, people groups, and situations throughout the world in need of prayer. Authored by the Global Ambassador of the World Evangelical Alliance, the stories and prayer guides are given a personal touch and the urgency of current needs for real people.
As my children grow up in a world that's constantly changing, I want them to be aware of where God is working, and where the prayers of His people are needed not only to change the situations around the world, but the hearts of the people who join with Him in prayer. I requested this book for review to help open their eyes, as well as my own. While we haven't completed the book, hoping to take our time to read and pray thoughtfully, and stretch our understanding of the world we live in. The breakdown of this book makes it easy to go through as a family, with the combination of particular countries, people groups such as the Muslims, and larger issues such as prisons and persecution. Current data, a history of the country, and maps for each chapter help give us context and perspective. Tips on group use or personal use, as well as a prayer journal at the conclusion, add to this in-depth prayer resource. My only concern with the book is that specific data and prayer concerns can only remain current for so long. I wish that each chapter came with a link to an active ministry, or an updated website where the reader could check in to see if there are updates on situations and prayer requests.
I feel that it is a well-written, nicely laid out prayer guide, and I look forward to studying it more in depth.
I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers, in exchange for my honest review.
Prayer is an essential aspect of our Christian life. We'd like to pray for the nations but sometimes we just lack the right information.
Stiller has provided us with a prayer guide for many nations. There are a limited number of nations included in this book as he lists only those he has visited. While the collection is limited, the information included is interesting as he gives his own personal stories and reflections.
For each nation, Stiller has included a list of surrounding countries so the nation can be located. He then gives a brief history of the country. He adds a personal story and Scripture. He suggests several items for prayer and includes a written prayer.
In addition to nations, Stiller has also included some topics, such as caring for the vulnerable, prison ministry, the ministry of World Vision, the World Prayer Movement, and more.
I found the personal stories to be interesting. I am not sure, however, how essential they are to praying well for a country. I learned some interesting facts about countries, such as Indonesia being the largest Muslim country in the world. I found that Thailand has a king who has served since 1946 and that it was never colonized nor ruled by a Western power. Reading about the role of Belgium in the distinguishing the Hutu and Tutsi was enlightening.
This is probably the most interesting prayer guide I have ever read. The personal aspect was interesting but overall I felt the book was limited in its scope. There are many places in the world desperately needing prayer that are left out of this collection. I would suggest this book could be used as a devotional for a year, using a chapter a week. It would help one get in the habit of praying for nations. One could then move on to a more comprehensive world prayer guide.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.