Great Commission

Embracing a Global Mission: Praying for Unreached People Groups in 2024

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Another year has come and gone, and as we begin a new year, it is the perfect opportunity to recenter our hearts on the Church’s missions of sharing the gospel with the lost. One important and often neglected aspect of this mission is praying for unreached people groups.

Prayer for unreached people groups plays a crucial role in opening doors, breaking down barriers, and preparing hearts to receive the gospel. We will explore the significance of praying for unreached people groups, understand who they are, and discuss practical ways to intercede for them and the laborers committed to sharing the gospel with the unreached.

Who Are Unreached People Groups?

Unreached people groups are communities where the majority of people have little or no access to the gospel, to Christians, or information about Christianity. Unreached people groups often reside in remote areas with significant cultural and religious barriers to the gospel. However, due to globalization, not all unreached people groups live in closed countries. The International Mission Board defines an unreached people group as a population that is less than 2% evangelical. The Joshua Project estimates that around 7,400 people groups are classified as unreached.

Unreached people groups represent pockets of humanity still waiting to hear the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. This reality should remind us of our ongoing mission as Christians in Matthew 28:18-20. The Great Commission mandates that those who have believed the gospel message are to share it and make disciples of all nations. Disciples of Jesus are tasked to make disciples who make disciples, and that task extends to all people. By focusing our prayers on unreached people groups, we align our hearts with God’s desire for all to come to know him (2 Peter 3:9). As disciples of Jesus, it is our responsibility to intercede on behalf of the lost, asking God to open doors for the message of salvation to reach them.

How Should We Pray for Unreached People Groups?

Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task of reaching the nations, we can rely on the Holy Spirit and take up the powerful weapon of prayer. As you do so, here are some practical ways to intercede for unreached communities:

  1. Pray for Open Hearts: For the gospel to enter unreached people groups, God must break down cultural and spiritual barriers to the gospel, soften hearts, and grant gospel opportunities. Pray for persons of peace within unreached communities to become relational bridges for communicating the gospel. Ask God to prepare the hearts of unreached people to receive the gospel. Pray that the Holy Spirit would frustrate the efforts of our spiritual enemy and remove spiritual blindness and oppression within the community.
  2. Pray for Wisdom and Cultural Sensitivity: Those who share the gospel with unreached people groups need cultural understanding and spiritual discernment. Pray for laborers to be equipped with the wisdom to communicate effectively and respectfully, recognizing the value of existing traditions and cultural differences while sharing the powerful and transformative gospel of Jesus Christ.
  3. Pray for Laborers and Perseverance: Jesus commands us to pray for God to send more laborers into the harvest (Matthew 9:38). Intercede for missionaries, local believers, and organizations actively working among unreached people groups, praying that they would be salt and light in dark places. Pray for their spiritual protection, their perseverance through challenges, and their faithfulness to God despite opposition. Ask God to also move in our hearts and the hearts of other believers to join him in the harvest.
  4. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s Power: Ultimately, it’s the Holy Spirit who convicts hearts and opens spiritual eyes to the truth of the gospel. Pray for the Spirit’s powerful work within unreached communities, drawing individuals towards Christ and establishing them in the faith as self-propagating churches (Ephesians 1:13-14).
  5. Pray for Specific People Groups: Research unreached people groups in your community and around the world. Learn about their cultures, challenges, and needs. Choose a specific people group and remember them daily in your prayers, interceding for tangible needs and opportunities for gospel advancement. Pray with compassion, asking God to give you a deep love for these unreached communities.

How Else Can We Embrace a Global Mission?

Prayer is vital but should not be our only response to unreached people groups. As you continue faithfully in prayer, here are some additional ways to respond:

  1. Support Mission Organizations and Missionaries: Partner with organizations and missionaries actively engaged in reaching unreached people groups. Give financially, volunteer, and get to know missionaries personally so that you can strategically partner in their work.
  2. Educate Yourself and Others: Learn more about unreached people groups and the challenges of reaching them with the gospel. Share what you learn, inviting others to join you as prayer warriors and as advocates for the work of reaching the unreached.
  3. Advocate for Unreached People Groups: Share with your friends and church about the needs of unreached people groups and present tangible opportunities for them to get involved. Help others to recognize the importance of reaching the unreached and to develop a passionate heart for the lost.
  4. GO and Share: Ask that God would give you a passion for reaching those who do not have access to the gospel. Look for opportunities to engage your community and the nations on short-term or long-term trips. Ask God if he desires to send you and your family to live among the unreached.

As disciples of Christ, let us commit to regular, intentional prayer for unreached people groups, trusting that God hears our prayers and is actively at work in the world. God marvelously chooses to work through our prayers, so as we pray for the unreached, we participate in his mission of seeing every tribe, nation, and language worshipping before the throne of God (Revelation 7:9-10). As we pray, God is faithful to align our hearts with his heart for the nations and faithful to open doors for the light of the gospel to penetrate the darkest corners of the earth.


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  • Other World Views
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Jenna Burchett

Jenna Burchett moved from New Hampshire to North Carolina in 2016 for her BS in Global Studies at The College at Southeastern and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Jenna has served in various missions contexts both nationally and internationally, including a semester with Hands On through the International Mission Board. Jenna and her husband, Chad, hope to move overseas one day and minister in an underserved region.

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