Daily meditations that take readers from China, to Africa, to the Caribbean, to Central Asia in just a week are what set apart this book of devotional readings. Popular speaker and writer Beth Moore ties the many Voices of the Faithful together in the book’s introduction and short essays that explain each month’s theme. Readers explore topics like God’s character, prayer, persecution, spiritual warfare, Christmas around the world, and others.
Each missionary-authored reading begins with a title and a Bible verse. That is followed by a first-person vignette about life in the mission field. These make for fascinating reading. Take, for example, the opening paragraph from the March 8th story about an incident in Africa:
“After several months in language school, we drove to a neighboring country to visit our future home. A few hours into our journey, a car occupied by four men brandishing an automatic rifle and a pistol pulled us over. Three of them got into our car, forcing us into the backseat” – p. 83.
Or the beginning of the October 30th entry by a worker in the Pacific Rim:
“On a trip to Thailand, my husband had a vivid dream. An angel repeated, ‘You must pray for your house; it is not protected.’ God had my husband’s attention. He spent the next two days, from time to time interceding for our house and family, asking God’s protection. He stayed longer in Thailand while the kids and I went back to our country” – p. 355.
The main purpose of each daily reading is to help the reader focus on some aspect of the Christian life. They illustrate how similar we are as people — no matter where we live — in the things we desire, struggle with, fear, and aspire to. Though the settings are varied, the take-away for Christian living is universal.
In addition these devotions educate about interesting customs, local conditions, beliefs, and the missionary enterprise around the world. They provide lots of prayer fodder.
The contributors are identified in some way at the bottom of each devotion (sometimes by name, other times more anonymously as “A worker in (name of country).” Each reading ends with a brief prayer.
The book is a project of the International Mission Board (Southern Baptist Convention) and proceeds of all sales of the book are earmarked for it. An appendix-like section at the back focuses on missions with information about Beth Moore’s Living Proof Ministries, a message from the president of the International Mission Board SBC, as well as hints on how to pray for international missionaries and people groups, and suggestions for how churches and individuals can become involved in missions.
The sections by Moore are written in her typical humorous, down-to-earth style. I am finding the devotional stories interesting and inspirational – a quick read at the beginning, middle, or end of the day. Considering they were written by a collection of nearly 300 people, the writing style is amazingly consistent. My only criticism is with the size of the font chosen for the prayers. It’s tiny!
Altogether this is an excellent devotional to use for a year and then pass on to someone else. But be warned, the writers’ enthusiasm about living for Jesus is contagious. A whole year of readings gives the book ample time to change your life.