Praying for the nations

When we were in the process of adopting our son from Guatemala, we bought a set of maps at Costco. We put the world map on top of our table and then covered it with a clear tablecloth. We spent a lot of time pointing to Guatemala on the map, and showing our children where it was in relation to where we live, and talking about how daddy and mommy would go there to pick up their new baby brother. In addition to all the attention Guatemala got, our map made for great conversation when we had guests over. Where have you been? Where would you most like to visit? Where do you not have a desire to travel, ever? Which country would you like to learn more about? Which country would you adopt from?

I soon tired of it covering our table, so I moved it. (Perhaps because my husband's favorite game was to quiz me on geography and countries, and I tell you, those are not my gifts. :))

It now hangs on the wall near our kitchen table. We're using it for something a little different these days...

We came home one night recently after hearing the Uganda Children's Choir sing. Our children were anxious to talk about the children from Uganda; what they looked like, how they sang and danced, and where was Uganda? I said we would find it on the map when we got home. And then I suggested that we should remember to pray for the country of Uganda, because so many of the children there are homeless and orphaned. The following night we pointed out Uganda on the map, and prayed after dinner for the people of Uganda.

This experience made me think: we should do this more often. So I ordered the book Operation World by Patrick Johnstone.

For those of you who aren't familiar with this book, Operation World is a global prayer guide. It is a wonderful resource that informs readers how to most effectively pray for each country.

We've begun using it in conjunction with our map, to pray for people around the world. My original idea was to have one of our children choose a country- by pointing on the map- each night as we sat down to dinner. Then after dinner, Mark or I would thumb through the pages for that country and choose one or two prayer requests, share them with our children, and go around the table, each of us taking our turn to pray for the needs of that particular country.

My original plan of every-night-after-dinner isn't happening. After all, we're still trying to get into the habit of having family devotions after dinner, too. And we often forget that. I suggested to my husband that we do it every other night (the night we're not doing family devotions, we'll pray). But so far we're averaging about once a week. (Which is more than what we were doing before!)

We have prayed for the countries of Uganda, Russia, Brazil, Japan, Madagascar and Canada-- each at the request of one of our children.

There is such value in giving our children a heart for the nations; in taking their eyes off the world as they know it and praying for those who are orphaned, dying, living in tremendous poverty, and worshipping other gods. It has been a joy for us to hear the prayers offered up by our children on behalf of the people from these countries.

1 comment:

  1. Nov. 20, 2006 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by Anonymous
    My husbands sister and brother-in-law gave us this book when they started working for YFC and moved to Australia (now in Thailand), it's a great book and resource, and a great reminder of how much we need to pray for missionaries who have been called to these areas of the world and who are trying to bring hope to those who do not know Christ.


    Nov. 20, 2006 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by jengresak
    I love this book!! Our kids use the children's version with regularity. (They are better at remembering it than I am.) Happy Thanksgiving!


    Nov. 20, 2006 - Operation World
    Posted by momco3
    I've been wanting to do something similar. Thanks for the resource.


    Nov. 20, 2006 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by Michelle
    I love that you are teaching your children to see the world "outside of our little corner of it"...this is something I need to do more often, AND model this for our children. Great post!


    Nov. 20, 2006 - companion book
    Posted by MicheleinNZ
    There is also a book called Windows on the World. I believe it's kind of like a companion book to Operation World so it shows you lots of information about the country with pictures and info on geographical stuff, like topography and what they eat and what they do to work, etc. I've got it on my list for future purchase when the kids are a bit older. I thought it would be a good addition to a homeschooling library :)


    Nov. 21, 2006 - Untitled Comment
    Posted by Rebeca
    This is a great idea. We often look at our world map but I like the idea of using it as a tool for prayer as well. There is a book called Precious in His Sight with excellent photographs of children all over the world along with simple prayers for them. I love to just sit and look at the pictures!
    Bless you and your family as you give thanks this season!


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