If Faith Comes by Hearing, How Do We Pray for Bible-less Peoples?

Am I the only one who starts to pray for a Bible-less people group but gets a little stuck?

I start my prayer like this: “May they put their faith in Christ”….but then I realize they do not have a good understanding of who he is. So I try a different approach: Oh God, please change this people…but then I am reminded that without the power of the Spirit, we all remain slaves to sin. It is only those who repent and believe in Christ who receive the Holy Spirit. And then that brings me back to prayer attempt #1: that the people do not have a biblical understand of who Christ is. But how can they have a biblical understanding without the Bible?

So, if you get stuck like I do, here are some concrete ways we can pray for people groups who do not have the Bible.

Pray They Will Respond to the Little Revelation They HaveWhen God brought Abraham out to look at the stars and then promised him that his offspring would be just as numerous as the stars he saw, Abraham believed and that belief was counted to him as righteousness.

The Bible-less peoples do not have that specific promise from God, however, they do have the same stars. And these stars are God speaking to them. He reveals through his creation that he is there and that he is glorious.

In the words of King David, “There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.” (Psalm 19:3). There are no language groups that are beyond the language of God’s creation. Through the stars, through the lightening bugs, through the exotic monkeys, God is calling out in every language “I am here and I am glorious.”

So let us pray that the Bible-less peoples of the world would be like Abraham and look at the stars and believe that there is an amazing God behind them.

But however great this wordless language of God’s creation may be, we do know that the Bible-less people groups of the world need to hear about Christ to be reconciled to their Creator.

Pray for More PentecostsIn Acts 2, there were people of many nations present in Jerusalem, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, when the disciples started preaching, everyone could understand what they were saying in his own language. After the crowd listened to a powerful sermon about Christ, there were 3,000 people who repented of their sins and believed in Christ.

It was a miraculous incident and yet, I do not believe, it has to be an isolated event. The same problem of not being able to understand the Gospel exists today, but fortunately the same Holy Spirit is still at work in the world. Why then would we not pray that God would grant people the ability to understand the preacher who is speaking in the trade language as if he were speaking their mother tongue? Let us pray for the Lord to miraculously intervene so that the Gospel could be heard and accepted.

Pray for Literacy in the Language of Wider CommunicationWhile it is true that God is a God of miracles, he is also a God who usually works through ordinary means: such as children going to school to learn to read so that they can read the Bible. Unfortunately there are many problems here that hinder children from learning French, the language of wider communication in our region. There are schools that teach French, but the classrooms are overcrowded (i.e. 100 kids in one classroom), the teachers often do not show up to teach, and many kids need to work in the fields in order to have food to eat. The result is that the number of Bakoum who can read French is minimal and most of the women that I have met speak very little French.

Thus, we can pray for the Bible-less people groups who may have a Bible available in a trade language, that the Lord would make a way for them to learn to understand and read that language.

Pray for More Laborers

There are still over 100 languages in Cameroon alone that do not yet have a Bible. Thus, it goes without saying that we need to faithfully pray that God would send out more Bible translators. I recently received an email from a girl who girl who said that she had been praying for the Bakoum for over 10 years. She received their name from Wycliffe’s Bible-less Peoples Prayer Project and has been faithfully praying they would receive a Bible. Oddly enough, the year that she started praying for them was the year that we signed on with our mission agency World Team. Let us follow her example and check out Wycliffe’s Bible-less people’s prayer project and pray for God to send out laborers to specific people groups.

Pray for Current Laborers

And finally, we can pray for those on the field who are currently pulling their hair out with linguistics and Bible translation issues. Pray that the Lord would grant translator/linguists incredible intellectual capacity to understand the target language, the culture and the Word of God so that it would be translated accurately.

To conclude, the problems that confront the church in the Western world are extremely different than the problems that most missionaries face on the field. And thus, we need to customize our prayers accordingly. I pray that this blog was a good place to start for how we can pray for the Bible-less peoples of the world.


Author: Stacey Hare

Stacey is a servant of Jesus Christ as well as a wife, mom, linguist, and Bible translator among the Kwakum people of Cameroon.