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Window on the World

10.31.18 | Missions, Prayer | by Tim Challies

    We pray. We pray because we believe prayer matters, we pray because God hears, we pray because God chooses to act on our prayers. We pray because we can and we pray because we must. These prayers are not hopes whispered into a void or wishes cast into a cold and empty universe. They are supplications that reach the ear, mind, heart, and hands of God.

    We pray, and we also teach our children to pray. We teach our children to pray for the littlest concerns of the littlest people—loose teeth and pop quizzes and bruised egos. We teach our children to pray for the biggest concerns of the most biggest minds and spirits—the glory of God, the salvation of the nations, the return of Jesus Christ. No prayer is too small and no prayer is too big to bring before our Heavenly Father, our Almighty God.

    Many Christians are familiar with Operation World, the ministry and the book that guides Christians in their prayers for the nations. It is a wonderful resource, a definitive handbook, that covers every nation and the entire populated world. Fewer Christians know there is a companion volume for younger people titled Window on the World. This is its promise: “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.” I completely agree, though I want to point out it’s not valuable for only kids; it’s a book adults will find compelling as well.

    The format is simple but effective: It has ninety-two entries that cover fifty-two countries, thirty-four people groups, and a number of special topics and geographic regions. Where its bigger brother Operation World covers everything, it focuses more narrowly on the farthest and most unreached people and nations. You’ll find United Arab Emirates but not the United States of America; you’ll find Egypt and Ethiopia but not England or Ecuador. You’ll also find short entries on areas of special need or interest: refugees, street kids, third culture kids, and so on. You’ll find introductions to several of the world’s most prominent religions: Animism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. Lots of maps, photographs, and illustrations add color and interest.

    For each nation or people group it introduces them through an anecdote, provides a bit of cultural context, describes how the Lord has been at work, and suggests how kids can pray. So, for example, for Bangladesh, kids will learn about Ali whose home was washed away in a flood; they will read about Bangladesh’s geography and economy; they will learn that Bangladesh is a relatively new nation whose people are mostly Muslim; they will hear that the church is growing even though sporadic persecution; and they will be directed to pray in this way:

    • You can thank God for: every Christian who is showing God’s love to others in Bangladesh; the many believers from Muslim backgrounds who now love and follow Jesus; improvements in education and working conditions, making life better for the struggling people of Bangladesh.
    • You can ask God for: to help the leaders of Bangladesh be fair to all its people, rich and poor; to help Christians show God’s love to the people of Bangladesh, especially to homeless children and the disabled; for more Christians to come to Bangladesh and show God’s love to the millions of needy people; for Christians in other countries to welcome Bangladeshis who are living abroad, far from their families, and to share Jesus with them.

    Window on the World is a great resource for children and teens who are organized or motivated enough to deliberately read and pray their way through it. But in most cases, the better option is probably to use it for family devotions and to work through it together. In that way parents can model a concern for the nations, a confidence in prayer, and a desire to see the Great Commission carried out across the world. This is a book to buy, to read, and to use.