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 earliest followers of Christ faced daunting opposition from the Roman and Jewish authorities. They would pray for boldness in preaching the gospel (Acts 4:31). That same bold spirit is needed today in reaching out to the Turks in Italy.
The Turks have lived in Italian cities such as Rome, Milan, Venice, Brescia, and Turin since the 11th century when the Ottoman Empire began to influence southeastern Europe. Today about 18,000 of them live in Italy where they are guest workers, usually doing agricultural work. Despite having the Bible and the JESUS film in Turkish, the Turks in Italy are nearly 100 percent Muslim.
Many Turks believe that Muslim men can put a curse on others by giving them the “evil eye.” Protection allegedly comes to those who wear blue beads. Spitting into a fire and praying to Allah is another way to avoid this cursed look. They also believe that if a woman applies fish oil around a door, the first man who enters the door will love her for the rest of her life.
Pray that the Turks in Italy will have a hunger for truth, and that they will exchange the burdens of religion for Jesus Christ who IS the truth. Pray that mission organizations will boldly reach out to the Turks. Pray that many Turks will be discipled in Italy, and that they will bring the truth back to Turkey.
Rom 11:33, NLT
Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!
Pray that the Muslim Turks in Italy will seek and find God’s true riches, wisdom, and knowledge. Pray for the Holy Spirit to give them understanding that will set them free from the bondage of sin and superstition.
The earliest ancestors of the Uzbeks helped Genghis Khan conquer Eastern Europe in the 1300s. Today, most of the 29 million Northern Uzbeks live in Uzbekistan, though large communities exist throughout Central Asia and smaller groups are found in many other countries. Today there are 1100 Northern Uzbeks In Italy. For decades, the Uzbeks had been under Soviet control. With the break-up of the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan became independent in 1991. Seeking better education and jobs, some Uzbeks left their homeland for Western countries like Italy.
Approximately 86 percent of the Uzbeks are Sunni Muslims. However, they typically are not Orthodox Muslims, since they allow traditional religious beliefs to mix with their Islamic practices. Seventy years of Marxist influence under the Soviets caused Muslim Uzbeks to become largely secular, with some even being suspicious of people with any spiritual mindset. As a result, about 14 percent of the Uzbeks are considered non-religious, including many younger people, some of whom are atheists.
The Northern Uzbek language contains various Christian resources, including the entire Bible, The JESUS Film, and gospel recordings.
Pray for the Northern Uzbeks in Italy and other countries to encounter materials and people that speak to their hearts for Christ. Ask for long-term, Spirit-led laborers to live among Italy’s Northern Uzbeks. Pray that disciple-making movements will bless Italy’s Northern Uzbek families by transforming them with the blessings of Christ.
Matt 9:36, TPT
When he saw the vast crowds of people, Jesus’ heart was deeply moved with compassion, because they seemed weary and helpless, like wandering sheep without a shepherd.
Ask for God’s people to be moved by prayer so that Northern Uzbeks in Italy and elsewhere will come to know God’s love and grace through faith in the only true shepherd, Jesus.
Alfred, a cross cultural worker born on the other side of the world, was shopping at the local discount supermarket in the working-class area of Rome where he currently lives. Suddenly he saw two Eastern looking young men talking to each other in English—one from India and one from Iran. He ended up talking to Andy from Iran, a university student in a business degree program at a local university which uses English as the medium for teaching those courses.
Alfred invited Andy to his house and Paola, Alfred’s Italian wife, was all too glad to cook a hearty meal for Andy. Andy told them he was no longer a Muslim. He had become sceptical of the religion imposed on his nation of Iran by the current regime. Gradually they got to know each other, and Alfred introduced Andy to Tom. Tom befriended Andy more and more and both Alfred and Tom gradually introduced Andy to the biblical gospel. One day Andy came to church. After that, Tom secretly baptised Andy who has decided to follow the Messiah. Andy still lives outside of his nation and is gradually growing in his faith.
Pray that others from Iran living in Italy will be introduced to the only savior, Jesus Christ. Pray that that they will form Farsi (Iranian) speaking fellowships where they can worship the king in their own culture and language.
Rom 10:20, NLT
And later Isaiah spoke boldly for God, saying, “I was found by people who were not looking for me. I showed myself to those who were not asking for me.”
Praise God that there are Iranian people who are finding the Lord in Italy!
A pop song of some years ago comes to mind: “people need people.” No people need people more than refugees, especially those crossing the dangerous Adriatic Sea, seeking safety in Italy. This dangerous crossing has become the only way for many refugees to reach Europe.
Where are they going? Anywhere that can give them hope and a new start. Many have the goal of reaching Sweden, but others will settle for any country that offers them sanctuary. This is where Youth With A Mission (YWAM) comes to the rescue, especially in Italy.
YWAM started in Italy in 2013 as the location “YWAM Ragusa.” In 2015 “The Open House Ragusa” opened with Italian classes, a sewing workshop, and then added a kid’s club, computer courses, and English conversation classes. They offer seminars about problems refugees may encounter such as sex trafficking and female genital mutilation. Volunteers have come from Germany and Switzerland. The whole goal is to assist these desperate, helpless people as they integrate into a new country and learn languages and trade skills that can help them to get a new start. Yes, people do need people!
Pray for God to supply the needs of manpower and funding to enable the YWAM work to thrive. Pray that the refugees will experience the love offered to them and become Jesus’ disciples.
Rom 8:39, NLT
No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Pray that YWAM workers will be able to explain this verse, and that Muslim refugees will embrace it!
“Syrian refugees are very frustrated with Islam, and when you begin to tell them about the love of God, they say they’ve never heard of that,” according to the Christian Aid Mission director in Spain. Those who have committed atrocities in the name of Islam have further disillusioned masses of refugees fleeing the horror in their homelands.
Amer and Sana, his wife, along with their two teenaged sons were seeking asylum in Europe. They finally were sent to Cadiz Province on the southern tip of Spain as part of a program to redistribute refugees. At first, they were very suspicious and even resentful of the Christian Aid workers trying to help them.
Amer and his family did not want to have anything to do with “deceitful, dirty” Christians, but the workers persisted and helped them find housing and began to build bridges with them through events like a Syrian food festival. One day they asked, “Why are you doing all of this?” The worker explained to the family that as people who follow Christ, they were expressing God’s loving kindness. They started coming to church, and one of the workers began visiting them in their apartment. That is when they put their trust in Jesus.
Thank God that refugees are being won by love! Pray for new believers to continue in the faith no matter what opposition they face.
John 13:35, NIV
Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”
Pray for the Holy Spirit to give more love and compassion to those reaching out to refugees in the name of Jesus. Pray for more workers!
May - Introduction
Who Are the 31 Largest Frontier People Groups in the World?
One fourth of the world lives in secluded Frontier People Groups (FPGs) which contain less than 0.1 percent Christians of any kind. Half the population of all FPGs live in the 31 largest FPGs listed in this booklet. FPGs are a subgroup of Unreached People Groups (UPGs) and are less than two percent Evangelical and less than five percent Christian of all kinds.
Why are Movements Necessary Among FPGs?
Frontier People Groups perceive Christianity as a foreign influence that threatens to tear apart their families and communities. Traditional church planting and witnessing to individuals within FPGs reinforces these fears. They are only reached through Jesus movements, which bring God’s blessings to heal and strengthen families and communities.
How Neglected are Frontier People Groups?
The vast majority of mission prayer, the giving and laboring, focuses on strengthening Christians where Christians are already present. In fact, 29 out of 30 missionaries currently go where the church already exists. Only a tiny fraction of mission prayer and other resources go to UPGs at all, and only a tiny fraction of this goes to FPGs—the quarter of the world where faith in Jesus is still totally foreign.
Why Pray for These 31 Largest Frontier People Groups?
As God answers our prayers for movements in which the families of these Frontier People Groups receive God’s blessing in Jesus, they will in turn influence many smaller FPGs to welcome God’s saving grace.
Where can I Learn More?
Joshua Project (JoshuaProject.net) is a collaborative research hub, helping to define the unfinished portion of the great commission by highlighting the least-reached people groups of the world.
How can I Get Involved?
You can form a team to adopt (pray consistently for) one of the 31 Frontier People Groups, or one of the other 365 larger FPGs. Ask God to make this people group your inheritance (Ps 2) and follow his lead in working with others to see movements multiplying God’s blessing among the families and communities of your adopted FPG.
Apply at Inherit the Nations to be connected with a field team of your people group: InheritTheNations.net
Can My Prayers make a Difference?
Just as prayer preceded Pentecost, most mission breakthroughs throughout history have resulted from prevalent prayer in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Robert Glover summarizes the role of prayer in the history of missions:
From Pentecost and the Apostle Paul, right down through the centuries to the present day, the story of mission has been the story of answered prayer. Every fresh outbreak of missionary energy has been the result of believing prayer. Every new missionary undertaking that has been owned and blessed of God has been the germinating of seed planted by the divine spirit in the hearts of praying saints.
In Ps 2:8, the Lord invites us: “Ask of me and I will make the peoples your inheritance and the ends of the earth your possession.” All we can take with us into eternity as our inheritance is other people, who become part of his eternal family. Our joy and crown, just as for the great Apostle Paul, will be those who come to Christ through our efforts.
One of the most strategic things we can do to advance God’s Kingdom on earth is to persistently pray for the Frontier People Groups (FPGs) that have no movements to Christ yet, and no breakthrough of God’s blessing for their families. We urge you to form a prayer team to “adopt” one or more of these 31 larger Frontier People Groups.
Pray for all UPGs and Frontier People Groups globally:
Pray For Teams Adopting Specific Larger FPGs:
The Importance of God’s Word
In every movement the Bible is the central authority for believers and churches. Even in non-literate cultures where the Bible is shared through oral storytelling, the Bible guides doctrine and practice.
Faith comes by hearing God’s word; transformation comes in applying it through obedience. Every person has the right to have the word of God in their own heart language, in a form they can understand and apply.
God’s word was conveyed orally before it was committed to writing. Jesus used stories in his teaching. In oral societies the Old Testament is critical for revealing the bloodline of Jesus from the beginning of God’s story.
The 31 FPGs are primarily oral communicators. For such peoples, oral scripture in the heart language is essential for the gospel to be fully heard, understood, and received, and for heart transformation to occur.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow, as it judges the thoughts and purposes of the heart.” Heb 4:12
Scripture Availability among the 31 Largest FPGs
Pray for God’s word to reach every people group in their own heart language, and to spread rapidly and be honored by all. Pray that those who receive God’s word will base their lives on Jesus and his word, being obedient doers, not forgetful hearers.
Visit: prayforzero.theseedcompany.org to learn more.
Other good resources:
How would you like to do blacksmithing work over some yellow-hot flames when it is 110 degrees outside? The Lohar people in South Asia must get the coals so hot that they can melt iron so they can bend and mold it. They need to hit it very hard to make the iron bend. All the while they are breathing fumes from their work station. This is the life of the Lohar people.
Lohars can be Hindu or Muslim. A smaller number are Sikh. The Muslims are scattered all over India, and throughout the eastern half of Pakistan, especially Sindh and Punjab Provinces. The Hindus among them might worship their tools, but no self-respecting Muslim would do this. Muslim Lohars attend mosque like any other member of their faith, and officially, they put their faith in Allah and the guidance of the Qur’an, their holy book. But in daily life, they might look to spirit beings who seem more available than the one who created the universe.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to give Lohar people hearts that are far more pliable than their metal goods. Pray for a strong movement of the Holy Spirit will bring entire Muslim Lohar families into a rich experience of God’s blessing. Pray for the Muslim Lohar people to understand and embrace that Jesus wants to bless their families and neighborhoods.
Matt 5:16, NIV
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Pray for the Lord to raise up his chosen ambassadors to live among the Lohars and show them the light of Christ through their holy lives.
What do you need? Vegetables to eat, grass to feed your livestock, or flowers for a wedding? For any of these, if you live in India, you would probably do business with a member of the Mali community. The word “Mali” means “garland,” and these people are well-known for their main work which is related to gardening and growing beautiful flowers. The women are especially talented in creating and selling flower garlands primarily used as presentations to Hindu gods and for weddings.
An estimated ten million Mali Hindus live throughout many regions in northern India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. In India’s state of Rajasthan, some believe that the high caste Mali group originated from Rajput warrior communities. They were noted for being well-disciplined soldiers.
Though some Mali people are Muslim, the vast majority of them are Hindu. Their main Hindu god is Devi; they perform their weddings in front of her image. At times they offer animal sacrifices to Devi.
Pray that soon Mali family leaders will be so consumed with a passion for Christ the savior, that they will put aside all other gods to follow him. Pray for the Mali people to seek and find the blessings of the living God.
Matt 10:39, NIV
Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
Pray for the Lord to raise up and send out those who will find their lives by living for the savior of all nations—Including the Mali peoples!
There is a thin line between “Arab” and Berber in the north African country of Morocco! The indigenous peoples are Berber, with their own language and culture, but the dominant people are the Arabs, who migrated there from the Arabian Peninsula soon after the time of Mohammed. These Arabs speak a dialect that would be hard for Arabs elsewhere to understand since it is blended with the Berber languages and French. The Arab Moroccans can usually be found living in the cities where many are successful in business or other professional jobs. An important part of their identity is being Sunni Muslim. Some records indicate that the estimated Moroccan Arab followers of Christ has grown. Although the Moroccan constitution guarantees its people freedom of religion they have laws against anyone who “employs incitements to shake the faith of Islam or convert a Muslim to another religion.” Breaking this law can result in imprisonment, a fine or dismissal from the country. If a Muslim decides to follow Christ, the penalty is particularly harsh. For security reasons Moroccan believers can often not meet together.
Pray for Moroccan Arab believers to be encouraged by their faith in God and by their salvation. Pray for entire Moroccan families to accept Christ and follow him together. May they disciple others from a Muslim background, who will in turn disciple others until Morocco is transformed by Christ.
Matt 6:9-10, NIV
This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
This month pray for God’s will, which is that the lost Muslims and Hindus will be led by Jesus Christ.
In 2014, Shi’ite Houthi rebels from Northern Yemen captured the capital city of Sanaa and began their campaign to take over the whole country. Neighboring Saudi Arabia formed a military coalition with other Sunni Muslim countries to defeat the Houthis. After three years of continuous aerial bombardment the Saudi coalition has failed to stop the rebels. What they accomplished has produced one of the most devastating man-made famines known in world history!
The bombardment of Hodeida, one of the main ports of entry for humanitarian supplies, has left some 17.8 million people at risk of starvation. Lack of clean water has resulted in an unprecedented cholera outbreak with over one million cases reported. Each day Yemeni children risk death and injury. Some of Yemen’s boys are recruited to fight and their young girls are sold as child brides so the family will have money. Very few children go to school. Problems from terrorist cell groups like Al-Qaeda and drug abuse from qat add to Yemeni’s suffering. Yemen is one of the most unreached countries in the world.
Pray that the Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims will finally realize that their fighting only leads to more division and suffering. Pray that they will understand that the only way to peace is by following Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. Pray that a movement of God’s blessing will flow through Yemeni families as they discuss and apply God’s word.
Matt 3:8, NIV
Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
Pray that when Northern Yemenis come to faith that they will turn their lives around and show grace, mercy, and compassion to those less fortunate.
The history of Afghan Tajiks goes back to the fourth century! Tajiks have their own country, more of them live to the south in Afghanistan. Those in Tajikistan were much more affected by the Russians, since Tajikistan was one of the Soviet republics for nearly 70 years. Today about one-fourth of Afghanistan’s population is Tajik, and they are the second largest ethnic group in that country after the Pashtuns. Tajiks live in various parts of the Afghanistan, and they range from very poor to economically comfortable.
The Tajiks were forcibly converted to Islam during the seventh century, and today over 99 percent remain Sunni Muslim. They have internalized Islam as their own, so few would consider straying from Islam. Yet they feel it is necessary to “hedge their bets” by depending on amulets and charms to get what they need in their day-to-day lives.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to give Tajiks in Afghanistan such a spiritual hunger that they will find him no matter what it takes. Pray for workers to go to Tajik family and village leaders to tell them what Jesus can do for their communities. Pray for Tajik disciples who will make disciples, who in turn will make even more disciples.
Song 8:6, NLT
Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, its jealousy as enduring as the grave. Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame.
Pray that the Tajik people would seek the love of God who is a consuming fire.
Turkey is one of the places where the Apostle Paul first planted churches, but things have changed since then! Today 97 percent of the Turks are Sunni Muslim. They are becoming more hostile to the gospel that Paul preached there 2,000 years ago, especially since President Recip Tayyip Erdogan came to power. After a dubious failed coup in October 2016, Erdogan ordered the arrests of thousands, including American Pastor Andrew Brunson.
According to Open Doors, “converts from Islam, while not legally prosecuted, face social opposition, and are often forced to lead double lives to keep their faith hidden from family and community members. Christians with Muslim backgrounds are threatened with divorce and loss of inheritance rights upon conversion, and all Christians face employment discrimination.”
What would happen if believers made efforts to reach entire Turkish families rather than individuals? It is very possible that if families worshipped Christ together, that social pressure to remain in the Islamic religious system would be weakened.
Pray for a movement of God’s blessing to flow through Turkish Muslim families discussing and applying God’s Word. Pray for believers in Turkey to be strengthened in the Holy Spirit as they face persecution from many fronts. Pray for God’s favor and protection for Christ’s ambassadors as the Muslim majority is evangelized to believe the good news that Jesus Christ offers the gift of salvation to those who believe.
Matt 5:44-5, NIV
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to do something in the hearts of Turkish believers that only he can do: give them forgiveness and love for those who persecute them.