Cultivating a desire and calling to pray for the world either individually or corporately can be a challenging endeavor, especially when it comes to finding quality information in this saturated marketplace of ideas. To that end, we recommend the prayer resources by Operation World, Operation World: The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation and Pray for the World (an abridged version). Operation World is both the organization that researches and writes the books and the name of the flagship prayer handbook; all titles are published by InterVarsity Press. The author, Jason Mandryk, was also a speaker at GAFCON 2018!
The Operation World prayer handbook (now in its 7th edition), and its aforementioned sister-publication, is widely regarded as the definitive guide to praying for the world. Operation World is one of only two Christian centers that compile comprehensive statistics on the religions, Christian denominations and mission agencies across the globe and has been used by more than a million Christians to pray for the nations.
It has been written for two main purposes: to inform for prayer and to mobilize for ministry. The layout of Operation World is in the form of a prayer diary, with praise points and prayer requests assigned for each day of the year. Information and relevant statistics are given to channel ministry to the least reached and most needy parts and peoples of our world. For many Christians, this book is their only source of global prayer information. Earlier editions became an essential resource for the growing missions movement around the world — in a particular way this has been true of the non-English editions.
These are books to be used, not to be filed away on a bookshelf. Keep referring to it. Use it with those you lead or spend time with. You can encourage and inspire others with what God is doing around the world. Here are some of the authors’ recommended uses.
For Use in Your Home
Operation World books give so many encouragements and tell of areas where the church has grown incredibly. These can give us hope in our own situations.
- Pray through the world in a year. The Prayer Calendar gives you a country to pray for every day of the year. When you turn up a country, you can know that you are joining with a large chorus of prayer around the world for that specific country. Perhaps focus on only one or two items that the Holy Spirit lays on your heart. Why not mark items covered in prayer, and later you can make note of God’s answers?
- Keep the book near your television, radio, newspaper or computer. When news comes of major events in a far-off land, find out the spiritual situation. Turn secular news into informed spiritual prayer!
- Use it together with missionary prayer letters, or mission agency magazines and websites. This book will give a wider context and perspective to the stories and updates shared in these valuable resources.
- Read a small section at family time (devotions, meals, while you travel) and pray for the country of the day.
- Use the book as a source of fun, informative trivia games.
For Use in Your Church
Missions and prayer for the world should be at the heart of every fellowship. Use Pray for the World with all ages, in large and small groups, as often as possible.
- In a small group or at a prayer meeting. Read the information on one country ahead of time and choose just a few pieces of information to share with the others. For example, you might share the population, the largest religion, the number of Christians and one key prayer point.
- During a worship service. When we pray with others, agreement is powerful! Encourage everyone to appreciate the high value of prayer. It is not a dry duty, but an awesome privilege. As children of the living God, we can come before
- him on behalf of the nations of the world, and we can expect to see him act! Give a little background information to set the context, then focus on one key area for prayer.
- In church bulletins and newsletters. Use quotes from relevant sections of the book in your church publications to gain interest and stimulate prayer. (Please cite the source!) Make use of maps, pictures, videos and presentation materials that relate to the country.
For Use in Prayer Days, Conferences, Concerts of Prayer, Prayer Journeys and Other Prayer Venues
The original purpose of Operation World was to provide information for prayer conferences that focused on the world. Below are a few guidelines for prayer-session leaders:
- Be brief. Remember that people are gathered to pray. The aim is not to impress others with information, or to share so much that they feel confused about how to pray.
- Be personal. We do not mention individuals for prayer in the book, but rather give the overall situation in a country. Personal information on individual workers you know or support and specific situations connected to your prayer group should be used together with Operation World prayer points.
- Be selective. Too many facts will be hard to remember. Carefully select just a few items for prayer that will stay with believers long after the meeting.
- Be careful with statistics. Too many figures make any report very dull! This is why the statistical sections are in a smaller type. Choose the statistics that specifically apply to the prayer items you mention.
- Be dependent on the Holy Spirit. The burdens imparted by the Holy Spirit inspire others to pray in the Spirit and move them into God’s will for their lives. This could mean commitment to intercession, financial giving, or going to a particular area or people for which prayer has been made. The Holy Spirit has guided many Christians into specific missionary service as a result of prayer with Operation World.
Coming Soon: Kids Global Prayer Resource
Coming in October 2018, Window on the World, an Operation World prayer resource for kids! If you appreciate Operation World as an adult, your kids will love this invaluable and age-appropriate prayer resource that develops cultural, political, and geographical awareness through a Christian lens. Find out how God is changing the lives of families everywhere through prayer—from the frozen Arctic to the hottest desert, on the highest mountains and in crowded cities.
Window on the World brings alive the culture, history, and traditions of all sorts of different people. Each section brings you information, true stories, maps, and easy-to-use prayer points that take you into homes around the world. See how children live, what they like to do, where they go to school, what they eat and wear, and what they hope and dream.
Operation World, Pray for the World and the forthcoming Window on the World can be purchased from the publisher directly at www.ivpress.com or from your favorite book seller!
Written from excerpts from the publisher’s official press kit, website, and books.