Review of An Insider’s Guide to Praying for the World by Brian C. Stiller

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Genre: Christian Life/Missions/Intercession/Devotional

9780764217272This devotional style prayer guide has 41 chapters dedicated to countries, and 11 chapters focused on either influential people or other issues (e.g. The Pope, Prison Ministries, or Caring for the Vulnerable). Each chapter is about five pages long–an ideal length for prayer and reflection, and maybe even to be supplemented with additional research (I know I was drawn to look up more facts on my own as I slowly made my way through it!).

The chapters begin with a small map or picture and quick facts of the topic at hand, elaborate into the author’s personal encounters within the country/subject or historical detail of the region, and conclude with a Bible verse, bullet point list of items for prayer, and a single paragraph ready-made prayer.

Stiller has a lot of interesting stories that make for enjoyable reading while providing a feel for the lifestyle in different regions of the world. But as a prayer guide, the focus on personal stories was sometimes too limiting to recognize the prayer needs of the country at large. For this reason, I thought some of the chapters were very well done, while others were only okay. The “Items for Prayer” list in each chapter was the strongest part, so I would have liked those sections to have been a longer, more substantial, part of the content.

I also wonder at how well the material reflects present needs as many of Stiller’s stories come from decades earlier. It is plausible that Stiller still holds inside connections to the places and people he has visited, but this is not directly mentioned. The overall feeling of the book is of becoming familiar with the history of each country and praying over general themes, rather than interceding over the immediate needs of each population.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House.

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