Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
The Global Prayer Digest is a daily devotional encouraging prayer for Unreached Peoples. A ministry of Frontier Ventures (formerly the US Center for World Mission), this devotional is available as a daily subscription from the GPD website (see link above).
Keith Carey, the editor-in-chief of the Global Prayer Digest, has graciously given me permission to post their daily devotions here in order to encourage more prayer for the Unreached Peoples. Please join in the prayer for the gospel to go to the ends of the earth (Matthew 24:14). If you find these devotions helpful, you can subscribe to their daily e-mail or to the printed publication - or just check them out here on Pray.Network! Past monthly issues of the GPD are also available on their site.
The Tuboy Subanens have long been exploited and victimized by their neighbors, binding them to a pattern of servitude and poverty. Their physical needs are great, but their spiritual needs are even greater. Most of them have never heard a clear presentation of the gospel message.
They live on the southern island of Mindanao, the second largest island of the Philippines, in scattered farm settlements.
All of the Tuboy Subanens are farmers who practice “slash and burn” agriculture. They raise various types of livestock, including pigs, chickens, cattle, and water buffalo. Subanen houses are usually distant from others. Their homes are rectangular, raised on stilts, with thatched roofs, situated on hillsides or ridges that overlook family fields. Every three or four years Subanens move to a new location to clear more forest for fields.
The JESUS Film is in their Subanen language. Ninety-eight percent of them cling to their ancient religion with its many gods. They believe that man shares the universe with gods, spirits, demons, and ghosts, and that they have the ability to harm humans and humans have the power to harm them.
Pray that missionaries will go to their area to live and work among them. Pray that God will reveal Himself to the Tuboy Subanens. Pray that the gospel will be presented to them so they will understand and believe it. Pray that an indigenous Tuboy Subanen church will be planted and flourish.
Matt 5:44-45, NET
But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.
Pray for these exploited people to become such disciples of Christ that they will obey this command in such a way that the world will take notice.
The Northern Sama are 95 percent Sunni Muslim. However, they still retain their traditional ethnic religious beliefs. They believe that the spirits of the dead remain in the vicinity of their graves, requiring expressions of continued concern from the living. Some graves have reportedly become the sources of miracle working power.
The Northern Sama occupy a number of islands in the Sulu Archipelago and on the Mindanao coast in the Philippines. Sama are a highly fragmented people without political unity.
They are a maritime people and fishing is their major occupation. They also engage in farming copra (dried coconut meat yielding coconut oil). They are known for their traditional dances, songs, percussion and xylophone music, dyed mats, food covers, and wood carvings.
Their settlements consist of densely clustered houses situated along well-protected stretches of shoreline. Regardless of where they live, the Northern Sama people all attend the same mosque.
Ask the Lord to call people willing to go to the Philippines and share Christ with the Northern Sama. Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to mission agencies focusing on the Northern Sama. Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will faithfully break up the soil through intercession. Pray that strong local churches will be raised up among the Northern Sama.
Gal 1:11-12, NET
Dear brothers and sisters, I want you to understand that the gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning. I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ.
Pray for the Northern Sama people to understand that the gospel comes straight from God, and is not based on human reasoning.
Graceful dancers floated to the rhythmic music of gongs, chimes, and stringed instruments.
Bright, vibrant colors mingled like a myriad of butterflies. It was time to celebrate the harvest and thank the spirits.
Kalagan people were introduced to Islam when Muslim missionaries arrived in the area during the 1500s. Today, though 97 percent are Islamic, they continue to believe in a variety of spirits. They live on the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines. Their language, Kalagan, resembles a number of other languages in the region. Kalagan people are self-sufficient farmers, producing nearly all of their own food. Men do the plowing, tilling, and other heavy farm work. The women do most of the domestic activities, assisted by older children. They have a strong preference for marriage between related families, especially to second cousins. After the wedding, couples usually live in the husband’s community, although today young couples may form their own independent households.
Portions of the Bible, Global Recordings Network (GRN) audio, and the JESUS Film are available in the Kalagan language. However, these people, dear to Almighty God, remain unreached.
Ask the Lord of the harvest to send laborers to minister among the Kalagan. Pray that Christian radio broadcasts will become easily available to them. Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through intercession. Ask the Lord to bring forth a triumphant Kalagan church.
Gal 1:15-16, NET
But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by His marvelous grace. Then it pleased Him to reveal His Son to me so that I would proclaim the good news about Jesus to the Gentiles.
Pray that God will raise up dedicated believers among the Kalagan people who will preach and disciple their people in the ways of Jesus Christ.
Iranun means “pirates.” They earned their dubious name and reputation by being “defenders” of present day Illana Bay, and by US colonial writers who called them “Moros, Mohamedans, marauders, pirates, raiders, slave traders, and lords of the eastern seas.” Iranun is an ethno-linguistic tribe on Mindanao Island in the southern Philippines.
Today, most Iranun people are engaged in fishing, while others raise food crops near Muslim and non-Muslim neighbors. Their lives are governed by traditional and customary laws.
Iranuns are 97 percent Sunni Islam, observing Islamic ways in a relaxed manner. Unlike devout Muslims, they fear evil spirits. Thus, many animistic rituals rule their already difficult lives. There are many barriers to their understanding the provision made by the creator God for their sins. Iranun people have steadfastly resisted every effort to introduce the gospel to them. Their attitude toward Christianity is marked by indifference. There are no Scripture resources in the Iranun language.
Pray for Filipino believers to see the need to love, reach out to, and evangelize the Iranun people. Pray that God will provide opportunities for the gospel to be shared with this people. Pray for the Holy Spirit to open the hearts of Iranuns and turn them to the gospel truth. Pray for one more missionary team to live among and minister to the Iranun. Pray that centuries of misunderstanding and mistrust will give way to truth.
Rom 5:1, NET
Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…
Pray that many Muslims in the Philippines will soon understand that it’s faith in Christ not works that saves them.
Do you like festivals with drum music? Many people enjoy such a setting, including the 5,700 Karaga Mandaya people of Mindanao Island. They beat a large drum made with deer hide in an attempt to summon the spirits. These spirits are not there to help members of this tribe without a heavy spiritual price.
They also have a post-harvest festival to celebrate the crops gathered from their cooperative farms. They believe this festival will lead to a good harvest the next year. Unfortunately, they are thanking spirit beings that are in rebellion to the one true God who actually does bless them with their harvest!
Most Karaga Mandaya people live as cultivators and as expert fishermen. Some have survived as traders, bartering goods like their famous metal work such as jewelry. Recently they have become part of a cash economy.
The Karaga Mandaya are neither overwhelmingly Christian nor Muslim. Only four percent claim to be Christian, but even this small group still holds to a mixture of previous beliefs, and a form of Christianity that will not allow them to enter into the joy, peace, and blessings of our Lord.
Pray for Filipino believers to disciple the Karaga Mandaya people in the ways of Christ, so that they will thank Him for all they have. Pray that soon there will be Karaga Mandaya believers taking Christ to other peoples in the Philippines.
Gal 2:20, NET
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Pray that many members of the Karaga Mandaya tribe will soon understand how central Jesus Christ is for all peoples.
In World War II, US forces and Filipino guerillas waged the Battle of Mindanao as part of the campaign to liberate the Philippines from the Japanese. In 2017 Filipino forces resumed the battle, this time against ISIS. Over 150,000 refugees are scattered throughout the region. Other forces are at work against humanitarian and spiritual poverty, seeking to rescue the people caught in this war. For security purposes, their name and the name of the unreached people group they are reaching must remain anonymous.
One mission reports progress in their work with a Muslim tribe. They brought in a dentist who helped over 330 people. “The patients were elated,” they report. “These are forgotten tribes that no one cares for, including the government. They kept asking us when this team would return.” The missionaries pray for a full-time RN with a heart for these tribal people to be in their villages daily caring for them.
On the spiritual front, the team shared the gospel with a Muslim leader, using a solar powered voice recording of “The God Story” in his dialect. Another prominent Muslim leader has been having monthly Bible studies in his home to learn more of the truth about Jesus. He was delighted and anxious to share with others in his village.
Pray for peace in Mindanao, and for open hearts among Muslims who are being reached with the gospel.
Matt 24:45-46, NIV
Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.
Pray for faithfulness and obedience for those working to see God’s kingdom expanded to the Muslim peoples of Mindanao.
After a five hour walk from the nearest road through the steep mountains, the team from Global Recordings Network (GRN) reached their first destination, a small Kalinga village. The people were amazed to hear stories of Jesus in their own language. GRN technicians had previously recorded gospel messages and songs in various Kalinga dialects. One Filipino team member said, “A part of me was left in the mountains of Kalinga, captured by those people hungry for the word of God, trapped in poverty and lost in spiritual darkness. The work of GRN sparks a light that will brighten their path to salvation.”
Partnership is an important key. The GRN team identified several recording priorities. A pastor with a passion to reach the same tribes hosted the team and helped them find language helpers and translators. A church in Australia sponsored and prayed for the recording project. As a result, the team was able to proceed. This project has already impacted one of these tribal groups. By the time the recordings were finished the people were ready to form a church.
Pray for loving, Holy Spirit-driven people to join the GRN team as they reach out to Filipino tribes with the message of salvation in their own languages. Pray that people will respond as they listen to the messages by making their lives a living sacrifice for Jesus Christ.
Matt 24:35, NIV
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
Thank the Lord that His word will never pass away! Thank Him that there are ways for people to get His word through GRN.
We don’t know when, but we do know that according to the Bible, many indications of Jesus’ return are in place. What can we as believers do to hasten His coming?
A new coalition has been formed, 24:14 Ventures, that has a plan to meet the challenge. It officially launched July 15, 2017. It is a global coalition praying and working together to start a kingdom movement in every unreached people group by 2025. The inspiration for this coalition is Matthew 24:14: And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
24:14 is a partnership of mission organizations, churches, and church planting networks committed to three priorities: 1) In line with Matthew 24:14, finishing the task of bringing the gospel fully to every unreached people and place, 2) Fully reaching them through biblical movements of making disciples and planting churches, and 3) Starting these movements in every unreached people with a wartime urgency by the end of 2025 in the power of the Holy Spirit, no matter what it costs us.
Pray for wisdom, strength, and perseverance in the pursuit of this vision. Pray for the full armor of God to protect these “warriors” as they prepare for this effort to complete the Great Commission. Pray that you and members of your congregation will do what you can to fulfil the Great Commission.
Did you ever hear really good news that you just had to share with your friends and family? It’s such good news that they want to share it with others, as well. What is that good news? It is the gospel message! Disciple Making Movements (DMM) do just that—they share the gospel with family and friends who pass on the good news to others who share the gospel as well.
SeaStar Project seeks to do that very thing—disciple Muslims and Buddhists in Southeast Asia. At present, work is going on in countries where it must be kept hidden from the government to protect new believers. These new believers are being equipped to reach their own people.
For security purposes, we will not name these countries, but the DMM of new believers leads to Discovery Bible Studies. These studies with lost families lead to salvation and house churches being planted in countries that outlaw church activities. The missionaries leading this movement ask particular prayer for two key leaders that are primary church planters, Manny and Ken. They live on very little, yet with the little they have, they are housing 11 orphans.
Pray for boldness for these two leaders and direction on how to implement the principles they have learned. Pray for all those who were trained to share their faith and begin Discovery Bible Studies. Pray for them to find Buddhists and Muslims that will welcome them into their communities.
Jn 16:12-13, NIV
I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.
Pray that as new Southeast Asian believers are discipled, they will be able to clearly hear God’s voice and joyfully obey Him.
They are a lost people no more; the Rohingyas driven out of Myanmar and turned away by country after country. Jesus has found these rejected people in Bangladesh, and they are literally flocking to hear about and accept Jesus as their savior! A Global Gateways team joined a Bangladeshi evangelist translator who took them to village after village where Rohingyas live. The team leader told them, “We want to bring a message of peace and the kingdom of God to you.” He shared the gospel with them. When asked if they wanted to follow Jesus, most raised their hands. The team wanted to be sure that the men really understood what following Jesus was about because these were Muslim men, and it meant forsaking the ways of the old. Still, hand after hand was raised. The team then prayed with them and for healing for many who were ill. This scenario was repeated in village after village.
Babu, a Rohingya, eagerly stayed with them the entire time. Babu said, “I want to be baptized today.” Babu was a fisherman. The team told him, “You were a fisher of fish, now with your new life in Christ, you will be a fisher of men.” At the end of the trip, 399 Rohingya Muslims accepted Christ, and 20 reported healings.
Pray that these new believers will continue to multiply their new found faith by sharing with others.
Eph 4:26-27, NET
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on the cause of your anger. Do not give the devil an opportunity.
Pray that these abused and persecuted people will not give way to rage, but instead will allow the Holy Spirit to direct their paths.
The Bible talks about the nations of the earth, and we are admonished to pray for the nations. What constitutes a nation? It really means a specific ethnic group, and the Bible calls these ethne. There are many in any given country, especially island nations like the Philippines or Indonesia.
The Riau Malay and the Northern Sumatra Malay are such groups. There is a long history of Christian workers among these people sharing the good news at every opportunity. But the challenges have been many. Workers face finding appropriate housing, gaining visas to stay in the country, caring for elderly parents at home, and transitioning children from home-schooling to further schooling back home. There is the added stress of spiritual warfare in this Muslim dominated region.
But there has also been encouragement over the years: the increasing number of believers, the study of scriptures, and the appreciation for the workers’ presence in the community. “They are good neighbors,” said one local chief.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to open the hearts and minds of Riau Malay people studying the Scriptures to receive the truth they read, and act on it. Pray for an increase of workers, especially in the light of the fact that several long-termers have had to relocate or return home. Pray that new workers will settle quickly, adjust well, and build important rapport with the local people.
Eph 3:17b-19, NIV
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Pray that new believers among the Riau Malay will be known by their knowledge of God’s love and their supernatural ability to share it with others.
For the month of July, the Global Prayer Digest will focus on unreached people groups in China. These groups were recommended for prayer by Taiwanese partners, which demonstrates an encouraging trend toward greater leadership in fulfilling the Great Commission by the global church, not just the church in the west.
Of Running, Baking Cakes, and Chinese Mission Efforts
—By Tom, a friend of China
Running, Thinking, and Learning
While at a conference in Thailand, a Chinese pastor joined me for my morning run. As we went along I stopped and took some pictures while he kept running. I found out later that it was his first run in years. He told others, “I wasn’t sure I could complete the run, but Tom went stride for stride with me. The longer we went as his strides went forward, my strides also went forward. Because Tom ran slower at first, I could run farther and gradually was able to run faster. I was able to go further together with Tom than I ever imagined I could go on my own.” He went to say, “This is the model for the next generation of ministry in China. We must work together. As we stretch our legs, some will be able to go faster than others at first. Some need help getting up to speed.” He ended his comments by saying, “I believe we can go further together than any one of us can go alone.”
Let Them Bake Cake!
A few months later I had a revealing conversation with another Chinese friend. I had been involved on a project that had me talking to various international organizations considering ministry in China. Some had been in China for years, others were new, but the common phrase from the international organizations was, “we are partnering with the church in China.”
I talked to some of my Chinese friends and asked about these partnerships, and what they said was fascinating! The usual response was, “Yes, we are working with those international organizations.” They then mentioned the names of the organizations, but none of the Chinese leaders ever used the word “partnering” to describe the relationship.
I went back to the international organizations and across-the-board they all talked about the partnering that they were doing with the church in China and they hoped to do more. Often they went on to tell me about the plans they had for China.
I went back to one of the Chinese leaders and said, “Here is what I’m hearing, could you help me understand what I am hearing? It doesn’t make sense to me.” It was then that this Chinese leader told a story that stays with me. He said, “These organizations are bringing ‘cakes’ to China. They come to our organizations, they offer us their pre-made ‘cakes,’ then they bring out the fine dishes and the best silverware and say, ‘Here’s a cake, do you want some?’ Of course we are interested in the cake. It looks good; it tastes good, and we know we will enjoy it.”
He went on to say, “Does anybody know that we want to make “cakes” here in China also? We have a vision for China as well. What continually happens is that international organizations are baking ‘cakes’ in their home country and they bring them to China. We welcome them and accept the cakes because they are good cakes. Here is what we would like: We would like to be in the kitchen while the cakes are being made. We want to help pick the ingredients and mix them. We want to help bake the cakes.”
The Point of the Matter is …
Today leaders from across China are looking for ways to reach China and the unreached world for Christ. What is really interesting is that they are not seeking to do that on their own. They are welcoming and even desiring international ministries to work with them. The Chinese leaders are very practical recognizing there is much to learn and they are willing to learn from ministries in other parts of the world.
2018 is a year to reconsider China ministry and recognize the potential of a nation with 1.4 billion people. The church in China is growing and its size is significant. The highest estimates put that number at around 100 million followers of Christ. Ironically, China is still the largest unreached nation in the world with dozens of people groups still without a Bible or a witness in their language.
There are great opportunities for ministry in China. The way forward will look different than the past. The way forward will bring together Chinese followers of Christ along with followers of Christ in Europe, Africa, elsewhere in Asia, North America, and South America, because the task is so large that one people and one nation cannot do it on its own.
As was stated by a leading Chinese pastor, “China will remain the largest mission field in the world. During the next 30 years, China will still contain the largest number of nonbelievers and unreached people. The evangelization of China demands the concern not only of Chinese Christians, but of the church worldwide.“
There is a “new cake” to be made in China. A partnership that is Chinese-led has come together with a number of international ministries to make that cake!
Pray With Us!