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 Insider’s 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 gospel’s 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 didn’t like the author’s 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, that’s just a personal preference in this context.
In this world of smartphones and apps and instant updates on social media, I think this book’s main shortfall is how it can’t be updated quickly and efficiently. Conversely, the Operation World website is exactly that—a fast, profitable way to obtain up-to-date information with a few screen taps (or mouse clicks).
An Insider’s 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.
Soli Deo gloria,
*In exchange for my honest opinion, I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House.