How to Start When the Needs are so Many

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Operation World Serves Two Main Purposes:

To Inform for Prayer

It is meant to be a prayer diary, with praise points and prayer requests assigned for each day of the year. You will be guided to pray for specific needs for each country so that God will be glorified.

To Mobilize for Ministry

Information and relevant statistics are given to help focus ministry to the least reached and most needy parts and peoples of our world. For many Christians, this is their only source of global prayer.

To enhance its usefulness, we offer some suggestions that may help you use this book appropriately and effectively.

For Use in Your Home, Church or School

In Private:

Pray using the running calendar, perhaps taking only one or two items the Holy Spirit lays on your heart. Why not mark items covered in prayer and later make note of God’s answers? Those of special, strategic significance are indicated by an outline around the blue number.

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 dimensions and turn secular
news into spiritual dynamite.

Use it together with prayer letters, mission magazines and websites. The wider context is missing from these valuable resources. This book will give depth and perspective.

In the Family:

Read a small section at family time (devotions, meals, while travelling), and pray for the country of the day.

Mark each country on the Operation World prayer map while you pray during your nightly, family devotionals. Let your kids see where the country is on the map while you read each section from the Operation World book and maybe even mark it with a pin or some other indicator as you pray for each country throughout the year.

Use it as a source of informative fun and quiz games.

In Your Church

Missions and prayer for the world should be at the heart of every fellowship. Operation World can help stimulate this within a group through its praise and prayer points.

Church services. Use prayer items during the intercessory period of worship services.

Prayer meetings should be the spiritual engine room for the global missionary force; in this we agree with William Carey! Wise use of the information in this book can stimulate more informed prayer for the world and for your own church’s missionaries and mission programs.

Church bulletins, emails, websites and magazines. Use quotes from relevant sections of the book in your church publications (both electronic and print) to spark interest and stimulate prayer. Please quote the source! To inform and stimulate prayer, OW also produces other resources designed for small groups, large congregations and huge conferences. These include, but are not limited to, maps, prayer cards, podcasts, videos and presentation materials. Please refer to the last pages of the book or go the store @ IVPress, which tell how you may obtain these.

In Teaching on Missions

Many Bible schools make praying through Operation World a core component of their courses. Instructors use it to teach on missions – many Christians have been led into specific missionary service as a result. The present author can be included among this number (thank you, Dr Bonk!).

For Use in Christian Research

Operation World contains only a very small proportion of the vast amount of news items, articles, reports, correspondence and statistics assembled during its production. Those seeking a greater degree of information can contact our ministry to ask about gaining access to these resources. Some are available in the electronic version, which includes the following:

Electronic search tools to more quickly and easily locate and bring together linked information for exporting and printing.

Access to the databases from which our statistics and sources for this book were selected, including:

  • The world’s denominations. Data on the number of congregations, memberships, affiliated Christians and, where known, attendances for 7,357 specific denominations, and records referring to a total of 38,102 denominations covering 1960-2010. Every figure is either sourced or shown as estimated or derived.
  • The religions of the world between 1900 and 2025 (projected), showing the astonishing changes in religious affiliation over that period for every country.
  • The mission agencies and missionaries of the world and statistics gathered by field and/or region (where information may be sensitive) covering 1980-2010. Contact information and select worker statistics for 3,210 mission agencies, representing over 80,000 teams and locations.
  • Country information with a wider range of categories than we could use in the book.
  • Assorted spreadsheets, reports, lists and charts used to prepare material for this book. While much of this is very interesting and useful, it is a bit too detailed to include in the broader content of the book.

Graphics and maps used in Operation World but with full colour added. In this book, only two of the four possible country-specific charts were included; the electronic version should contain all four for each country.