According to Global Frontier Missions, “It is estimated that of the 7.75 billion people alive in the world today, 3.23 billion of those live in unreached people groups with little or no access to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
The need for the gospel among these unreached people groups is great. Billions of people are living without any knowledge about what Jesus has done to save them.
One of the ways we can participate in the mission of reaching the unreached is to pray for these people. While the need is larger than we can even imagine, our prayers can make a difference.
In this article, I will discuss the importance of reaching the lost and ways that you can participate in praying for the many people living without hope in Christ.
The Importance of Reaching the Lost
Before Jesus ascended, He commanded the disciples to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). Christ died to save all people, but individuals must place their trust in His death and resurrection to receive His gift of salvation (Romans 10:9-10).
For people to trust in Jesus, they must hear the good news, which necessitates communicating the gospel to others (Romans 10:14).
Believers need to pray for the spread of the gospel because Jesus’ offer of salvation is for everyone (1 Timothy 2:1-6).
We should pray for workers who will take the gospel since “the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:37-38).
The need is great, especially, considering the number of people who have not heard about the good news of Jesus.
Therefore, Jesus wants His followers to prioritize evangelism and discipleship. Every believer should be concerned about the task of reaching the lost.
The job of engaging the unreached is not just for the missionary or pastor — it is for every Christian.
We can take part in God’s work by reaching out to people who have not heard the gospel and by praying for the many unreached people groups around the world.
Ways to Pray for the Unreached
Spreading the gospel and making disciples of people around the world is vital according to Scripture.
However, we may wonder what our prayers should consist of and if there are specific areas we should focus on when praying. When interceding for those who do not know the good news, there are many things to keep in mind.
First, people have physical needs. The Lord cares about the poor and oppressed, the orphan and the widow (Proverbs 14:31; 19:17; Luke 12:33; James 1:27). He wants us to “act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
We should not neglect to talk to God about children trafficked in Nepal or about the health needs of people suffering from transmitted diseases in Africa. These are legitimate concerns that Christians should pray about as we ask God to send help to those who are suffering.
Next, we need to remember the centrality of the gospel. Ultimately, people are suffering in the bondage of sin (John 8:34). The only one who can free them is Jesus (John 8:36; Romans 6:7-1; Galatians 5:1).
Thus, as we are praying about the physical problems of an unreached people group, we also need to remember to pray for their salvation.
We can do this by praying for Christians to take the gospel to these people groups. Also, we can ask God to prepare the hearts of these people so they can be receptive to the good news.
Finally, when we engage in prayers for the unreached, we should be prepared to respond. The Lord might choose to answer our prayers by using us to take the gospel to the people we are praying for.
This might mean going overseas or getting involved in sharing the gospel with unreached people groups that are in the cities where we live. Also, He might move us to give to the mission work of those who are serving a specific people group.
In any way God chooses to answer our prayers, believers should expect to be changed by their intercession. Not only is the Lord moving in the situation we are praying about, but He is working in our own hearts to make us increasingly concerned for others.
Our compassion and concern for the mission of Christ are deepened when we pray for the lost in the world.
Resources for Prayer
Christians do not have to try to map out a plan to pray for the unreached people groups on their own. Multiple organizations already have specific prayer guides and resources for interceding for the lost on a regular basis.
These resources are free to use and accessible in different formats, both for personal and group use.
Currently, I am using Operation World to systematically pray for the nations of the world. In a year, this organization guides Christians in prayer for the entire world.
For each day, believers receive helpful points for prayer that can inform their intercession and help them to be more specific in praying for specific people groups.
Operation World also has published guidebooks, The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation and Pray for the World, which are available for sale online. However, you can receive daily prayer points through your email for free.
Another helpful resource is the Joshua Project, which has the “Unreached of the Day.” Depending on how you want to use the resource, there are different formats for receiving the unreached people group of the day.
There is an app, a prayer calendar, and a printable version. You can also receive the prayer requests through your email inbox throughout the week. Each prayer request features a people group, information about them, a Bible verse, and specific items for prayer.
Whichever way you choose to pray for the unreached, be assured that your prayers do make an impact. As James wrote in his epistle, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results” (James 5:16, NLT).
God hears our prayers and answers them according to His will (1 John 5:14). Since we know that God is working to bring people to Himself, we can trust that He hears our prayers and is working in the lives of the unreached to make them ready to hear the good news (Acts 10).
Why Does This Matter?
Jesus died for all people and his salvation is freely offered to everyone. However, people must place faith in Christ’s death and resurrection to receive the gift of salvation.
Billions of people currently live without hope in the gospel because they have not heard about what Jesus has done for them.
All Christians should prioritize spreading the gospel and making disciples of all nations, as Jesus commanded.
We can help impact the lost by committing to pray for them. By finding a prayer guide for the unreached people groups in the world, believers can regularly pray for the lost, focusing on specific points each day.
Focusing on physical needs and problems, such as poverty, sickness, or human trafficking, we can intercede for those who are suffering.
However, we ultimately pray for them to be set free from sin by knowing Jesus so that many more people would become disciples and glorify the Lord. When we pray, we will grow in love for our unreached neighbors, both near and far.
For further reading:
What Did Jesus Mean to 'Go and Make Disciples’?
7 Steps to Share the Gospel with a Stranger
What Is the Biblical View of Mission Work?
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Sean_Kuma
Sophia Bricker is a freelance writer who enjoys researching and writing articles on biblical and theological topics. In addition to contributing articles about biblical questions as a contract writer, she has also written for Unlocked devotional. She holds a BA in Ministry, a MA in Ministry, and is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing to develop her writing craft. As someone who is passionate about the Bible and faith in Jesus, her mission is to help others learn about Christ and glorify Him in her writing. When she isn’t busy studying or writing, Sophia enjoys spending time with family, reading, drawing, and gardening.