Today I want to recommend a book to you that was not given to me for review nor do I have a copy in front of me as I write this; but it’s one in a book genre that I feel is essential reading for any individual or family who wants to expand their prayer focus farther than their own immediate family and friends; beyond their own city or town.
Brian Stiller is what I would call a Christian statesman, a phrase which I take to mean a person who is both well-versed and widely-traveled and thereby is unusually forthright when it comes to the political, economic and spiritual conditions and issues in various parts of the world. As Global Ambassador with the World Evangelical Alliance he is also the former President of Youth for Christ Canada, former President of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (the Canadian equivalent of NAE) and former President of Tyndale College and Seminary in Toronto.
I’ve had the privilege of meeting with Brian at each of these stages and he was gracious enough to allow me to interview him for a magazine when he was at EFC, and there were things he said that day which I can still quote verbatim.
His book, An Insider’s Guide to Praying for the World (Bethany House, 2016, paper) would fall into the same category as the popular Operation World which is an exhaustive index of the countries of the world and the particular challenges each presents in terms of the spread of the gospel.
However, where Operation World is exhaustive, Praying for the World is personal. Brian Stiller shares from his own experiences, having visited the various countries covered in the book. The book is thereby somewhat autobiographical, but I would argue that Stiller’s write-ups for each are both subjective and objective at the same time.
Of the 52 chapters, not every one is about a unique nation:
- 3 deal with prison ministries
- 1 is a general perspective
- 1 is about global prayer initiatives
- 1 looks at The Pope
- 1 looks at a religion rather than a nation, in this case Islam
- 2 repeat a country; Vietnam and Rwanda each have two chapters
By my calculations, that means 43 countries remain; countries that most of us will never visit at all, but in this one book we’re afforded the opportunity to see these nations and their needs through Brian Stiller’s eyes. The 52 chapters may be read in any order, or consulted for reference.
Each section contains:
- an overview of that country
- Brian’s ‘dispatch’ from that nation; the main essay
- a key Bible verse
- specific items for prayer
- a suggested guided prayer
The potential uses for Praying for the World are many, but would include everything from your family prayer time, to giving to your missions committee, to having a copy in your church library.