A book published this month by Harvest House suggests that Christians can dramatically improve the world by focusing daily intercessory prayers on powerful leaders.
Praying for the World's 365 Most Influential People is based on Paul's 1 Timothy 2:12 instruction to pray for kings and those in authority, expanding the list to include those in media, entertainment, science, religion, sports, and business.
Christians and non-Christians are included in daily profiles, and the book suggests nonjudgmental prayer points designed to turn the individual toward Christ as Lord and Savior.
"We encourage people to bless their enemies," says David Kopp, coeditor of the book with his wife, Heather Harpham Kopp. "We want to win people through kindness."
There are obvious choices—Bill Clinton, Pope John Paul II, Ted Turner, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates. But Kopp notes that fame does not al ways equal influence, and he admits the list is arbitrary, with such behind-the-scenes names as TV director Marcy Carsey, Nike CEO Phil Knight, and Nintendo creator Shigeru Miyamoto.
Kopp hopes to update the book biennially as existing entries die and other individuals gain prominence. Already there has been a scramble to include new notables such as Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Academy Award winner Roberto Benigni.
The publication has been widely endorsed by evangelical leaders. Nearly all the subjects were contacted and approved. "Saddam Hussein didn't return calls," Kopp quips. But Kopp says he had a fruitful conversation with American Atheists president Ellen Johnson after she understood the book is not adversarial.
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