An Insider’s Guide To Praying For The World, by Brian C. Stiller
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.]
When I was a middle schooler, every Monday my local newspaper, The Tampa Tribune, would have a short profile about a foreign country that I used to help improve my geography knowledge, and that was frequently used in my world geography class. If the U.S. State Department, or its Canadian equivalent (since the author is Canadian) wrote that kind of profile from a spiritual perspective and collected a book of 52 such profiles, it would look something like this book. Designed as a very detailed sort of analyses, most of them about foreign countries, this is the sort of work that requires boots on the ground and gives plenty of evidence of eyewitness testimony and someone with a taste for danger and a passion for evangelism. This is the sort of book that any country’s foreign service would be proud about, and although at about 280 pages it is not a very long book, it certainly has the sort of detail that makes praying for the sake of foreign nations very easy to manage.
In terms of its contents, this book is organized like a weekly devotional in the larger scale, with most of its chapters devoted to countries like Somalia, Haiti, Thailand, China, Ukraine, Colombia, South Africa, and the like. That said, a few of these chapters deal not with countries but with different aspects of evangelism, like caring for the vulnerable, prison ministry, the world prayer movement, persecution and martyrdom, the pope, and finding new places of spiritual empowerment. Each chapter has its own consistent organization as well, showing a map and a country, giving some information about its history and demographics, including its location, population, and religious profile, usually with some sort of eyewitness dispatch, a scriptural reading, and some specific items for prayer tailored to that specific situation. This is the sort of book that one wants to read when one has a war room in mind that involves international prayer, or for those who have mission interests in foreign lands and want to pray about conditions around the world with knowledge about conditions on the ground. The author is quick to seek wisdom from locals, and intensely brave in visiting dangerous places around the world, like jogging in Honduras or traveling to Mogadishu, among other trips.
This book has a lot to offer. It is the product of a lot of travel and a deep approach, and is written with a deep heart for those who are vulnerable and forgotten. The author looks at mission work for the point of view as an evangelical, and so this book includes quite a few countries that are Christian, but where the dominant faith is Catholic (Colombia) or Orthodox (Greece, Romania) and where there are barriers to people practicing Protestant faith. The author praises both bold and brave faith in places like Somalia, and also more canny faith in areas like Laos and Burma where believers are as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves, in the author’s judgment. In this book one sees examples of nations where there has been a lot of preaching and not a whole lot of conversion in the eyes of the author (Thailand), and other countries where conversion appears rapid and astonishing (India, South Korea), especially where Christians have gained a reputation for showing concern for those who have been cast off by their own people, and who have shown themselves to be people of great generosity and openness. This is a book that provides a rich food for thought and the material for many prayers, and it is a book well worth reading.