Most of us recognise that we live in a very big, very complex world where there’s a lot going on in the global church that we’re not aware of or that we don’t quite understand.
Most of us also recognise that God desires his people to pray for his will to be done, and his kingdom to come, on earth as it is in heaven.
And a lot of the time, we don’t really know quite how to put these two together.
That conundrum is why Lausanne and Operation World have partnered to put together what we hope is a step in the right direction.
We’re pleased to share the launch of a new resource for churches around the world. It’s called Praying for the World, a series of 52 weekly inserts for church bulletins (printed or digital), which, over the course of a year, will take you and your church on a journey of exploration of how God is working in the world. It is a unique opportunity to get an overview of the global church, learn about the greatest challenges and opportunities for global missions today, and be inspired about how to pray for them. It’s short (one A5 sheet, double sided), it’s simple, and it’s free.
Once a week, subscribers will receive a brief summary of at least one country or region of the world, highlighting how believers can pray. It will also feature a thematic topic that affects the world beyond one specific geographic area. That might be something like human trafficking, least evangelized peoples, children at risk, or creation care. We always try to keep it interesting, informative, and simple, and we always shape the material to lead toward prayer. View a sample and learn more about Praying for the World.
All Praying for the World bulletins will be made available as they roll out, so you can either follow our yearly schedule or begin at any time and go at your own pace. Our original vision is that this bulletin insert would become a regular part of congregational prayer life, but the materials are designed so they can be used in any way that people imagine, such as in small groups or for your own personal prayer time. If your church does not have a printed bulletin, you can incorporate either the PDF or the text version in an email newsletter or other digital format. For Operation World (OW) users, the selection of countries in Praying for the World synchronizes with the OW prayer calendar, so you can join in with thousands of others around the world each week in praying for the same countries.
Praying for the World is just one of several ways that Operation World and Lausanne are collaborating together for the Great Commission. But this particular resource was the result of a God-ordained meeting. A Greek pastor and a Canadian missionary—that is, Sotiris Boukis and I—met at the Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering in Indonesia in 2016. We discovered that we both shared the same vision for a weekly church bulletin insert that would help to inform and inspire churches to engage with the world through prayer. With the support of Lausanne (including a Spark grant), with persistence, and with the help of several others in Operation World and Lausanne, this vision is finally becoming a reality.
Pray with us that God will use this humble little project to grow greater passion to impact the world among the churches that use the bulletins—both for the congregations corporately and for individuals within them. Surely a growth in prayerful, missions-focused churches is an outcome that pleases him! Additionally we believe that an increase in prayer for the nations will eventually bring an increase in answers to prayer for the nations. May God work powerfully through the prayers of his people!
Lord, we are grateful and humbled that you have chosen to entrust your heart for the nations to your church. What a beautiful privilege to be your ambassadors to the world. What a responsibility to stand in the gap for the lost, broken, and needy! May you awaken global vision in every congregation of believers who meet to worship you. May you stir up a spirit of prayer in every person who follows after you. And may you use our responses to bring glory to your name.
Jason Mandryk is co-director of Operation World and author of the 7th edition of the publication. Born and raised in Canada, and residing in the UK, he has been serving with the Operation World ministry for 20 years.