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 Bavaris are hunters, and I have known them to rent a large truck, go into the jungle and kill over 100 wild boars. After they salt and dry their meat, it feeds them for a long time.
Our main outreach to them was through literacy, and we saw several families come to Christ. They were anxious to witness to others in their tribe. It was Christmas time and they decided a Christmas drama would be a good step in witnessing. They easily rounded up the sheep, cows, camels, manger, etc. A large crowd of mostly unbelievers eagerly attended. The wise men entered following the “star” which was a gas lantern pulled across a rope strung between two tall trees. Suddenly the lantern burst into flames, burning the rope and crashing down on a thatched roof home. As if this were a normal occurrence, people grabbed the rugs we were sitting on and as one ran towards the flames and beat them out. Then, as if nothing had happened, people returned to their seats as the wise men now followed a flashlight “star.” We rejoiced and prayed for open hearts.
Then the work with this group came to an abrupt stop. The literacy teacher/evangelist suddenly left, having been offered a job which paid much more.
Pray that the national church will support their own pastors and missionaries so that the small Bavari church can stand on its own without outside funds.
1 Tim 5:17-18, NLV
Leaders who do their work well should be given twice as much pay, and for sure, those who work hard preaching and teaching. The holy writings say, “When a cow is walking on the grain to break it open, do not stop it from eating some,” and “A person who works should be paid.”
Pray that the local church will heed this exhortation that more of them will join them in extending God’s Kingdom.
The Odhs are a very ambitious group of wall builders; their walls are strong, straight and said to be able to resist a buffalo running into them. Although despised, everyone needs their work. They use sun-dried bricks with mud as mortar and sometimes use only mud piled on mud. Their women work alongside the men carrying huge loads of bricks, usually balanced high on their heads. Some say that an Odh woman is twice as strong as a Pakistani man.
In my second year in Pakistan, I was excited that Odhs were living right behind our house. A fellow missionary had worked with this group and seen 200 come to Christ. He warned me that the Muslims had persecuted them so badly that they were being forced to become Muslims. Knowing this, I still had them build walls for the mission and talked to them about Christ during tea breaks. Many were ready to accept Christ and be baptized.
Then it happened; there was a knock at the door in the middle of the night. Their spokesman told me, “We cannot accept Christ. We have to become Muslims. If we do not, our children and wives will be taken from us and sold.”
Pray that the Odh people may come to Christ before they are all forced to become Muslims. Pray that Odh believers will be used of God to bring hardened Muslims to the throne of grace.
Neh 4:6, NLV
But we built the wall, and the whole wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.
Pray that this wall-building caste will find inspiration in the words of Nehemiah.
Pray for Unity in Yemen!
—by Keith Carey, editor-in-chief, GPD
Mark 10:42-45, NLT
Jesus called them to Him and said, “You know that those who are made leaders over the nations show their power to the people. Important leaders use their power over the people. It must not be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great among you, let him care for you. Whoever wants to be first among you must be the one who is owned and cares for all. For the Son of Man did not come to be cared for. He came to care for others. He came to give His life so that many could be bought by His blood and be made free from sin.”
People remember certain countries for certain things. Sometimes they are positive; for example, people usually think of South Koreans as overcomers. Sometimes there are negative things people associate with a country. Last December we prayed for Libya, a country that brings to mind long-standing dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi.
This month we are praying for another Arab country that is gaining a reputation for a devastating civil war that has many similarities to what is still happening in Libya. That country is Yemen, one of the first nations to embrace Islam in 630AD.
Many things that you read in the news about Yemen sound just like their history. There
was such division between the Sunni Muslim south and the Shi’ite Muslim north that Yemen did not become a unified nation until 1990. Before and after that time, Yemen has been ready to fall apart. Since 2015, the division has left the country especially vulnerable.
There is currently a proxy war between Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and her sponsors and Shi’ite Muslim Iran. The Shi’ite faction is officially called the Houthis. The two Islamic factions have been trying to gain absolute power at the other’s expense for decades.
To make matters worse, there are internal divisions based on clan and tribal affiliations. Yemen is no longer one state, but numerous “statelets.” In February of this year, a 329-page report by the United Nations experts on Yemen says that this country has ceased to exist as a nation!
Yemeni factions and their “statelet” regions of influence sometimes ally themselves with outside forces like Al Qaeda, which has caused the United States and Great Britain to get involved. One of the things these Western powers have done is to arm Saudi Arabia, a nation that has bombed areas held by Shi’ite factions. The Shi’ites have retaliated by sending missiles to hit Saudi Arabia. From there, the Saudis retaliated even further in an effort to crush the Houthis. Schools and hospitals have not been spared, and now the infrastructure of Yemen is in shambles.
Needless to say, Yemen’s economy is also a wreck. There are competing central banks, one in the north run by the Shi’ite Houthis, and the other one in the south run by the Sunnis. Since the government is so widely divided, they cannot collect revenue, though the Houthis are famous for extorting money from businessmen (which causes the economy to weaken even further). Businesses cannot pay employees, who are now desperate to earn enough for food, water, and medical supplies. In this way, the misery of the Yemenis extends from business communities to the common people.
Yemen is heavily dependent on the outside world for food and medical supplies, but the ports are commonly controlled by militant factions. The results are starvation and disease.
We can pray about specific situations, but the root issue is a spiritual problem. Whether they are Sunni, Shi’ite, or belong to an Al Qaeda militia, Yemeni people believe that Islam holds the answers to their spiritual problems. There are only about 500 followers of Christ in this Islamic nation, and they are persecuted and marginalized by all sides. As it stands now, Muslims will not listen to those who follow the Prince of Peace, and each Islamic faction strives to become the overlord of all the others.
Seven Key Areas Needed for Prayer for Yemen
Please pray for the peace and rebuilding of Yemen in these seven key areas:
(This story illustrates real situations in Yemen.)
Bob, a Canadian, was sending an email to his Yemeni Arabic teacher and friend. “Dear Asiel, I often think of you and the warm hospitality of your family and the Yemeni people. I was sorry to hear about the ongoing suffering in Yemen and the bombing in Sana’a. I hope that you and your family have not suffered in this tragedy. Please let me know that you are okay.”
Asiel responded, “Hello, Bob, my family and I are safe, but my children are afraid. The war is making life more difficult each day. There is no electricity and clean water. Food is becoming scarce. Many of us have not been able to earn money for months. People are dying. We need a miracle, so would you ask the church to continue to pray for peace in Yemen? Thank you for the Bible Scriptures you gave me when you were here. God’s word is bringing comfort and hope to me and my wife through these hard times. Pray for Yemen. God bless you!”
Pray that Jesus will bring hope and a final peace that can only come from Him to the people of Yemen.
Matt 5:7-9, NLT
God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. God blesses those who work for peace for they will be called the children of God.
Pray for God to raise up merciful peacemakers in Yemen who will lead others to become part of God’s family.
(This story illustrates real situations in Yemen.)
Alida, a Yemeni journalist, had made the treacherous walk through the Sabr Mountain Trail to the besieged Yemeni city of Taiz which was under attack by Houthi (Shi’ite Yemeni fighters). The mountain trail was the only way that pack animals and people could bring medical supplies to help those in desperate need. In her report Alida wrote, “I walked for hours with women who carried large bundles on their heads filled with medicine and foods. Donkeys and camels carried oxygen tanks and medical equipment. When we arrived, we were told that two doctors and others were killed at one hospital by Houthi fighters. Many children are dying from starvation, cholera and wounds. Many times, the doctors and staff have to make hard decisions on whom to help because they have so few medical supplies to work with.”
According to a 2017 UNICEF report, 1.8 million children under age five are acutely malnourished and 400,000 are so severely underfed that they are 10 times more likely to die than those who have enough food. Before the war Yemen heavily depended on imports for its food supplies. Fresh water for crops was scarce.
Pray that the starvation and spiritual needs will end in Yemen. Pray that the people will turn to the Living Lord to find their strength and hope.
Deut 10:18, NLT
He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing.
Pray for fighters in Yemen to have a genuine fear of the sovereign Lord who offers protection for vulnerable widows and orphans. Pray for the Lord to supernaturally show mercy and kindness to those who suffer in Yemen.
(This story illustrates real situations in Yemen.)
Noor, a Yemenite girl, was listening to some beautiful music being played on a guitar by a younger girl. “Matria, where did you learn to play like that?” She responded, “I received free lessons from music teachers. It helped me get my mind off the fear and pain of the war.”
Noor replied, “The music is soothing! I have found something too that is calming my heart each day. A friend gave me some verses from the Bible. One was from Psalm 25:5, ‘Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.’ Whenever I am angry, sad or afraid, I recite this verse. There is another verse about Isa, Jesus, that says…”
Matria cut her off. “I do not want to hear this kind of talk! Things are hard enough here in Yemen, and if people read the Bible rather than the Qur’an, it will get even worse!”
The ongoing war has left many Yemenis disenchanted with Islam. It is true that some Yemenis are now finding hope in God’s word.
Pray that the Bible will become available to everyone in Yemen. Pray that new Yemeni believers will remain strong in faith, patience and love. Pray that many will be willing to give up Islam in order that others will know that God offers them freedom from fear and death in Jesus.
2 Kings 3:15b, NLT
While the harp was being played, the power of the Lord came upon Elisha…
Pray that soon many Yemeni musicians will use their talent to usher in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Speaking at the 2018 International Women’s Day conference in London, the SAT-7 representative stated, “In some ways, the situation for women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has improved in recent years. Girls’ access to education has increased, as has women’s political representation in select countries. But in many places the situation remains dire. Women continue to endure gender-based violence and a lack of freedoms. The conflicts that have engulfed Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen have shattered the lives of many women. In some cases, it has reversed years of progress. Refugees are extremely vulnerable to violence from both outside and inside their families. Displacement can cause domestic violence to escalate. Women who have lost their husbands to violence often find themselves the sole parent and provider at a time of severe poverty.”
“Satellite television is an extremely effective way of reaching women, especially those who are isolated and illiterate. When women rarely leave the house in dangerous parts of the world, they often spend a lot of time watching television. SAT-7 has many programs for women that raise awareness of issues and offer hope in hopeless situations.”
Pray that programming by SAT-7 and others will lead in giving hope and courage to women. Pray for lasting spiritual transformation for all. Pray that women will gather around the TV, learn of the ways of God, and teach them to their children.
Acts 16:40, NLT
When Paul and Silas left the prison, they returned to the home of Lydia. There they met with the believers and encouraged them once more. Then they left town.
Pray that Yemeni refugee women will be used by God to offer hospitality to God’s servants, and to help them to tell others of His glory, love, and might.
Seventy million people in the world use sign language as their primary language. Eighty percent of them do not have a good formal education available to them in their area of the world. Ninety-five percent of the deaf world does not yet have a Bible accessible in their sign language. Imagine how difficult it would be for deaf people to communicate in a solidly Muslim country like Yemen, where even hearing people seldom have access to the truth of Jesus!
Deaf people are in every country, including Yemen, yet their language is not the same as that of the majority language speakers there. Often their own family members do not use their sign language and cannot communicate with them.
The deaf world needs Jesus, and the best way to equip pastors, other workers, and those who are believers is to give them the Word of God in the sign language of their community. God has raised organizations that work with local deaf translation teams who are developing Bible translations that are clear, accurate, natural, and acceptable in their own sign languages.
Pray for the Lord to raise up the right people to produce these special Bible translations. Pray for someone to overcome the humanly impossible task of reaching the deaf in Yemen, so they can enjoy fellowship with the king of Kings.
Isaiah 29:18a, NIV
In that day the deaf will hear (see) the words of the scroll…
Pray for the Lord to do the impossible, and make sure the deaf people in Yemen can “hear” about Jesus in a way that they can understand.
One of the fastest ways to spread the gospel is not to rely on seminary-trained pastors to lead a church. It involves meeting in homes, businesses or even under trees—wherever people normally gather in a given culture. Their goal is to model Christ, share the word, teach, and equip the new believers to do the same and quickly reproduce themselves. This is called a Church-Planting Movement, or CPM for short, and some of their congregations could be composed of only 10-30 people. To be effective in taking this good news to “the ends of the earth” as Jesus commanded, CPMs must grow faster than the birth rate, and this type of growth is happening in many parts of the world, including the Middle East.
Older believers in the faith model themselves after Christ-like behavior. It is not a natural response to “turn the other cheek” when offended or insulted, but doing so will often compel the unbeliever to become a “seeker” when they see behavior that only the Holy Spirit can produce.
One church planting movement in the Arab World is asking God to lead them to new relationships with those who are hungry for God and studying the Bible. Pray for local Arab believers to be passionate about Jesus and long to share their faith with others. Pray for those discontented with Islam to be drawn to the person of Jesus Christ.
Acts 5:42, NLT
And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: “Jesus is the Messiah.”
Pray for house churches to spread far and wide, even in the hardest to reach parts of the Arab World.
If you are reading this article, you probably live in an area where you have the freedom to openly confess Jesus as your savior without fear of imprisonment. Do you realize how fortunate you are? Believers in many parts of the world are forced to worship in secret.
One missionary team works among a large people group in the Middle East that has no country. They are weathering a season of political upheaval which has had a huge impact on the entire region. Some of the team’s national partners are seriously considering leaving the country permanently.
“With God nothing is impossible” (Luke 31:7). Our God is able to work in the darkest times, in the darkest areas of the world. This is a very dark time for the national partners and the believers living in this region. The Bible says, “All the nations You have made will come and worship before you, Lord; they will bring glory to your name” (Ps 86:9, NIV).
Pray for the people groups of Yemen to understand that they do belong; that they can be part of the very best kingdom! Pray that believers among them will remain faithful and share Jesus with others. Pray that this will become a season of great growth and spiritual maturity for this unreached people group.
1 Tim 1:5, NLT
The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.
Pray that Muslims will be discipled to love and have faith in Jesus Christ.
Worship is a very personal experience and often one that stirs the emotions. This is true in all cultures. Adapting music that extols and praises our savior to the familiar rhythms and styles of a culture enables them to worship in a way they find meaningful.
Poetry is very significant in the Arabic culture, and believers in the Arab World are using it to reach out. Local believers from a Muslim background are writing films using poetry to communicate the life-changing power of Jesus.
Many Arab Muslims view local believers as being from a foreign, Western culture, but when they hear music or poetry that is familiar to them, they realize that they do not need to abandon their cultural heritage to worship Jesus Christ. Basma, a local believer commented, “historically, when Arabs lived in other lands, they didn’t know if someone was a true Arab. When in doubt, they would often test someone by asking him to recite poetry. If his poetry was good, they knew he was a true Arab.”
Pray that music and poetry that magnifies Christ will be created in Arab cultures that will enable Muslim background believers to truly worship their savior in a way that they find meaningful. Pray that Arab believers will find ways to take Christ to others through music and poetry.
Judges 5:3, NLT
Listen, you kings! Pay attention, you mighty rulers! For I will sing to the Lord. I will make music to the Lord, the God of Israel.
Pray that Arab rulers and common people alike will sing to the Lord from the heart when they hear of His greatness!