I was just looking through my new copy of “Operation World”, and was thinking about ways that I could point my family toward praying for those who haven’t heard of, and don’t know about, the most precious gift in Christ Jesus. We have all heard the phrase “He is the reason for the season”, and that is absolutely correct. How sad it is that still 1/3 of the world has little to no access to that “Reason” and have no access to the gospel in their own language – some 6,000 people groups still unreached or least-reached. It’s also sad that in our own country we have commercialized this holiday to the point that even many believers have fallen into the business of buying, and have gotten so wrapped up with things that will lead to no spiritual fruit. I think as believers we should pray about opportunities to use this season to point our families and Christian brothers and sisters to be praying for those around the world that still need to hear the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some things we could do would be :
1. Buy a copy of “Operation World”, and every night at dinner read/pray through each country using the running calendar at the bottom of the book.
2. Use the tradition of giving gifts for the glory of God. Buy things for others that will help them in praying for the nations. If it’s for a spouse, buy a missionary biography. Adoniram Judson, John G. Patton, Hudson Taylor, Jim Elliot, Amy Carmichael – great books have been written about their sacrifice for the gospel, and the reward that followed. If they don’t like to read – buy it anyway, and read it out loud together before bed!
For your kids – there are wonderful picture books about these missionary heroes of the faith (in our bookstore especially), as well as young reader books that would be a great introduction to these missionary heroes. In addition to those books, you can also buy for them cartoons that they can watch about the life of these missionaries, and the people groups that they were seeking o reach. Check out the Torchlighters Set which includes 8 movies – you can get them at our bookstore, or from www.visionvideo.com.
3. Talk to your kids about the area that Jesus was born, and show them where it was on a map. Begin to pray for Muslims in the Middle East, and for our persecuted brothers and sisters in those closed countries. Log on to www.persecution.com and read some of the stories on the Voice of the Martyrs website about the persecution that is currently taking place in the Middle East.
4. Buy a world map for your family for Christmas so that when you pray for these various countries/people groups you can put a visual on where they are. As American’s we need to bone up on our geography – it’s shocking how much we don’t know/care about where places like “Suriname” are. Here’s your test. Where is Suriname ?
5. Keep “Operation World” next to your couch or night stand so every time you hear about another catastrophe/humanitarian crisis/civil war, you can look up that country and be praying for their spiritual awakening and the needs of the believers in that place.
6. Keep Christ at the center of everything that will be taking place over these next couple of weeks. When we talk to our kids, or our spouse, lets lift up the name of Jesus, pointing each other to His marvelous grace and mercy in our lives and to His many, many, many blessings that He showers on us every day! In remembering His blessings, let’s pray for those who are still living in the darkness of their sin, and ask the Lord to shine the light of His grace and mercy in believing faith on their lives. Let’s not succumb to the enemies plans to get us so side tracked with meaningless things that we don’t redeem this Christmas season for the glory of Christ.