7 Reasons to Pray for Unreached and Unengaged Peoples

There are approximately 6,500 unreached people groups and roughly 1,200 unengaged people groups on planet earth. All are image bearers of God.[1]

None are worshipping Jesus.

What does this mean for the church? It means at least one thing: we pray.

Here are seven reasons why Christians should pray for the unreached and unengaged peoples of the world.

7 Reasons to Pray for the Unreached and Unengaged

1. Obedience. God’s word commands us to pray for all people—that includes the unreached and unengaged (1 Thess 5:17; 1 Tim 2:1–4).

2. Hope. If we pray, God just might answer our prayers, such as Bethlehem Baptist Church reaching twenty-five unengaged people groups by the year 2025. Our prayers are the means by which God accomplishes his redemptive goal of gathering his people (Matt 9:37–38). Further, the prayer of faith can move mountains (Mark 11:20–24; cf. Matt 7:7; 21:22; John 14:13; 1 John 5:14). Do you believe that? 

3. Joy to the World. God desires to see his name exalted among the nations: “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Ps 46:10). But not only that, Psalm 67:4 declares that these nations are to be glad and sing for joy, and in Philippians 4:4, Paul commands the church in Philippi to “rejoice in the Lord.” Likewise, the psalmist commands, “Delight yourself in the LORD” (Ps 37:4).

But here is the truth of the matter: many are not glad in Godmany do not delight or rejoice in the Lord, and many certainly do not sing for joy because of Jesus Christ. Many do not worship Jesus with joy because there has never been anyone to preach to them the gospel of Jesus Christ (Rom 10:14–15). 

Therefore, we call upon God to do that which only he can do—namely, send his laborers into the ripe harvest and grant the unreached and unengaged a heart of flesh capable of rooting themselves in Christ-exalting joy.

4. God cares for the poor. Nearly all of the world’s unengaged and unreached peoples are located in what is called “the 10/40 window” (a rectangular area that stretches from North Africa to Asia, ranging 10 degrees and 40 degrees north of the equator). Here you will find the majority of the world’s poverty, and God deeply loves them (Deut 10:12–19; Matt 5:3; Lk 14:12–14; Gal 2:10; Jas 1:22–2:13).

5. There is a full harvest. The nations, like a harvest of ripe grain, are ready to be gathered. Lift up your eyes and see. (Lk 10:2; John 4:35).

6. There are few laborers. There are not many people in America who are willing to drop everything for the dangerous duty of delighting in God through a sacrificial and radically life-risking life given to missions. Pray for God to decisively call his people. (Lk 10:2) 

7. Confidence in prayer. At Bethlehem College & Seminary, we celebrate what one of our professors calls, “Big-God Theology.” In other words, we are confident that our sovereign God will accomplish through Christ all that he has promised—specifically, that all of the nations will be penetrated with at least one gospel witness before Jesus Christ returns in his radiant splendor (Matt 24:14). Don’t think “nations” as in political regions such as, the United States, China, Somalia, and Australia. Think more ethnolinguistic people groupings—that is, more or less, sub groups of sub groups of sub groups of people groups. And Matthew 24:14 is a promise. God always fulfills his promises. Therefore, pray and bank on it happening.

8. God's Glory Among All Peoples. Hidden in the depths of God’s word, on every single page, is God’s heart to magnify his name. Do you see it? Spend a few hours in the Psalms and you will see the Almighty Yahweh exalted high above all things. Read Genesis–Deuteronomy and you will find a God who aims to see his name exalted among all things. Read the book of Hebrews, and you will see the exalted Christ in all his authority and power and strength soaring high above all things. God’s aim is to see that his glory is seen and treasured. You will see God’s glory on every page. Immerse yourself in it. Then pray it. Pray that the unengaged and the unreached would see such glory in their hearts—they will. Remember, God promised it (Matt 24:14).

[1] This post is an edited version of a previous prayer letter written for Bethlehem College & Seminary.