Genesis 1:27 tells us that we are made in the image of God. Psalm 139:13 reminds us that God formed us intricately and intentionally. Revelation 7:9 depicts the people of God as a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, global family of believers from every people group. From beginning to end, the Bible teaches us that God’s heart is for the nations. This is why we pray for the unreached.
We go to the unreached because God created and formed the unreached. We give to missionaries because Christ has died for the unreached. And we pray for the unreached because God will save people who are currently among the unreached.
Who are Unreached People Groups?
Unreached people groups and places “are those among whom Christ is largely unknown and the church is relatively insufficient to make Christ known in its broader population without outside help. These two factors used to identify the unreached should make it clear why the label unreached is different from the labels unsaved and lost.
Unreached people groups and places are those among whom Christ is largely unknown and the church is relatively insufficient to make Christ known in its broader population without outside help.
Lost people around you have access to you, as well as to other Christians and churches. Unreached people groups, on the other hand, have no way of hearing the good news. They are lost and they lack access to the only message that can save them.”
Why Should We Pray for the Unreached?
While previous articles have been written about how to pray for the unreached in your own life and in your church, it is important to understand why we pray for the unreached in the first place.
We are Called to Pray
The practice of prayer is not a mere exercise to be engaged in occasionally. Rather, Scripture commands us to “devote ourselves to prayer” and to “pray without ceasing.” Paul mentions prayer 41 times and consistently emphasizes the necessity of prayer. Jesus himself said “men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1, KJV); he said that we should “pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest” (Matthew 9:38).
The terms “devotion,” “without ceasing,” “always,” and “earnestly” often accompany the command to pray in the New Testament. Such language makes it clear that this is not a suggestion but a way of life. Therefore, the call to pray fervently, as a Christian, is indisputable.
Prayer is an act of obedience. As Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” More specifically, if we love God, we will pray. In 1 Samuel 12:23, Samuel considered the failure to pray for the Israelites as a sin against the Lord. He said, “far be it from me.” Despite the difficult situation that faced him, to cease praying was unthinkable.
Prayer Has Power
Prayer is first and foremost communication between you and God. Like any relationship, constant communication with God is vital for our spiritual health. The old collection of Puritan prayers and devotions, The Valley of Vision, says, “Let me know that the work of prayer is to bring my will to thine, and that without this it is folly to pray.”
When we emphasize the power of prayer, we ought to recognize that the power is in the object of our prayer: God. The power of prayer does not rely on our strength, but the strength our savior. We pray with confidence because we pray to one who is strong. Tim Keller says it this way: “Strong faith in a weak branch is fatally inferior to weak faith in a strong branch.” We pray for the unreached because our God has the power to save them.
Prayer Unites Believers
Prayer is not limited to a particular nationality, language, or demographic. The only qualifier for prayer is righteousness, a gift we receive through our union with Christ. James 5:16 says, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
Through our prayer, we renounce sin and seek righteousness. Due to God’s wonderful grace and the sharing of the gospel, there are righteous people praying all around the world.
So how does this unite us? There are many ways, but one thing that stands out is that we all share God’s burden. We make his desires our desires in every area of our lives. This is what we base our prayers on. Thus, believers pray together every day. Like a grand choir or an elaborate, worldwide symphony, we raise our voices to the heavens.
Last year, I experienced the beauty of this ensemble when joining a zoom call with believers in other countries. We gathered monthly to pray for the unreached with believers from the United Kingdom, the United States, Panama, Afghanistan, South Africa, and India.
When we prayed, each of us prayed in our own language. When we prayed, the Lord united us around a common vision that is presented in Revelation 7:9. We were reminded that we have more in common with one another than we do with our non-believing neighbors.
God’s Heart is for the Nations
The Bible makes it clear that God cares deeply about people of every nation and ethnic group. The apostle Paul tells us that God shows no partiality (Romans 2:11). Jesus did not come for Jews only, but for the nations. God’s heart is for people in every nation. God loves people of every people group.
We pray for the unreached because we believe that God will save people among the unreached.
We pray for the unreached because we desire the unreached to come to saving faith in Jesus Christ. We pray for the unreached because we believe that God can save people among the unreached. And we pray for the unreached because we believe that God will save people among the unreached. We pray with a Revelation 7:9 vision of eternity.