A devotional that strengthens my faith, engages my intellect, and challenges me to seek God and his Word more faithfully is a bit like my Holy Grail. For years I read the Oswald Chamber's classic My Utmost for His Highest, and I haven't found a book since that keeps my attention on a daily basis or compares to its theological weight. I am ever-searching.
Thomas Nelson sent me a copy of Voices of the Faithful - Book 2: Inspiring Stories of Courage from Christians Serving Around the World to check out. It is billed as a "daily devotional for every day of the year," but I'd say its subtitle is more on the mark. It tends more toward the inspirational than the meaty, but it certainly has merit as a way for everyday Christians to feel part of--and pray for--world missions.
Each day's reading is written by an active missionary serving somewhere across the world. Living a comfortable American life so far removed from the realities of that kind of ministry, it is valuable to hear the stories of how God's Word is impacting people and cultures across the globe and to feel challenged to step out in faith wherever we are. Whether we serve in the traditional "mission field" or not, we are all called to make disciples of all nations, and Voices of the Faithful demonstrates how all Christians can support and pray for missionaries abroad.
Readings are short and cover one page. A short verse introduces the devotion, the missionary story follows, and a prayer sums it up. If you are looking for a daily devotional that directs you into Bible reading or unpacks and applies whole passages of scripture, this isn't it. The readings are grouped topically by month ("Prayer, the Priority", "Follow Me", "From Adversity to Triumph", "Hope for the World," etc.) and introduced with a meditation on that aspect of the spiritual life, but its overall focus is not Bible reading or comprehension but rather current stories of God's work in the world.
I could see readings being used by families around the dinner table. The stories are appropriate for children and it could definitely pique interest in becoming a missionary as well as serving God wherever we are called. Voices of the Faithful would be a valuable companion piece in a family's devotional life, but it will not direct you into spiritual disciplines beyond remembering to keep missionaries and world missions in prayer. Of course, that purpose is noble--it just isn't quite what I was looking for in a daily reader.
Thomas Nelson provided me with a book to read but I was not otherwise compensated for this review.