by Lynn Waalkes
Examples of how Operation World can help you pray in an informed way for issues addressed in EMQ articles.
Hans von Staden, founder of Dorothea Missions in southern Africa, often quoted Hudson Taylor’s words to emphasize the importance of prayer in missions and evangelism. In 1964, he encouraged colleague Patrick Johnstone to create a booklet of prayer for the nations that Africans could use in intercessory prayer. Since then, Operation World has served to encourage the Church to pray for the world as the first (and essential) step to fulfilling the Great Commission. This month, the 2010 edition of Operation World releases. It is the seventh edition and the first major update since 2001.
Former U.S. Senate Chaplain Richard Halverson said, “Intercession is truly universal work for the Christian. No place is closed to intercessory prayer. No continent—no nation—no organization—no city—no office. There is no power on earth that can keep intercession out.” As the 2010 edition of Operation World releases, it is as imperative as ever for the Church to engage in purposeful intercessory prayer. No country is so closed to the gospel that God cannot reach it, and he has chosen to act through the prayers of his people on behalf of the nations.
Below are two examples of how Operation World can help you pray in an informed way for issues addressed in EMQ articles.
The tendency of well-meaning Christians and churches to apply simplistic answers to complex needs, such as mentioned by author Greg Burch on page 416 in this issue of EMQ, can be diminished through informed prayer. Operation World gives as much detail as possible in a condensed format, so readers understand the spectrum of needs faced by a particular country, church, or people group. For example, church members interested in reaching at-risk street children from the drug and gang-controlled slums of Caracas, Venezuela, learn from Operation World that the country is plagued by overwhelming poverty and crime. There are fewer than three hundred churches in Caracas to serve the more than one million residents of the city’s slums.
Understanding this environment helps readers know how to pray for the Venezuelan Church and mission groups serving at-risk street children. A Western church might pray for ways to partner effectively with mission organizations and churches in Caracas to provide spiritual, emotional, and material help to families so fewer children are abandoned to the streets. The church might agree to sponsor a child through a ministry that helps equip struggling churches in the city.
Prayer that Engages the Heart
In 1999, a student-led prayer vigil began in Chichester, England, and grew to encompass more than one hundred nations. This youth-led 24-7 Prayer movement took as its inspiration the eighteenth-century Moravian community that prayed unceasingly for more than one hundred years. 24-7 Prayer’s focus is prayer, missions, and justice. While people of all ages take part in the 24-7 Prayer rooms and missions, it continues to be a primarily Generation Y-led movement.
In the article on GenYers in this issue of EMQ, author Peter Farley reports that ninety-one percent of GenYers consider reflection upon the needs of the world outside the U.K. to be important in their journey toward long-term missions. Operation World provides plentiful opportunities to pray in detail for global needs. It appeals to a young activist generation that sees the interconnection of prayer, missions, and justice. The 24-7 Prayer movement links to Operation World from its international website, www.24-7Prayer.com, and describes the guide as the “ultimate prayer guide to every nation on earth.”
While the particulars will vary among individuals and churches, it is likely that a year of praying through Operation World will strengthen the Church’s passion for and involvement in evangelism and missions. Some individuals who pray through the prayer guide will be called to the mission field. Some will become more faithful and passionate prayer supporters. And people throughout the world who hear and receive the gospel will experience the effect of these strategic, informed prayers. After all, “when man prays, God works.”
For more information, visit www.operationworld.info
Lynn Waalkes is a communications specialist at Biblica (formerly International Bible Society) in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She considers her primary mission field to be granddaughters Lily and Emma, ages 4 and 2 respectively.
EMQ, Vol. 46, No. 4, pp. 471-472. Copyright © 2010 Evangelism and Missions Information Service (EMIS). All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMIS.