BIBLE TRANSLATION PROGRESSING
More than 1,500 languages have access to the New Testament and some portions of Scripture in their language, and more than 650 languages have the complete translated Bible. However, at least 7,000 spoken or signed languages are known to be in use today, and at least 1.5 billion people do not have the full Bible in their language – that’s more people than the entire continent of Africa! Thankfully, more than 2,500 languages across 170 countries have active translation and linguistic development work happening right now. This means, however, that approximately 2,000 languages still need a Bible translation project to begin.
One organization working to ensure that the Bible is accessible to all people, in all languages and all forms, is Wycliffe Bible Translators. Wycliffe, officially founded in 1942, celebrated their 500th completed translation in the year 2000, and in 2018 celebrated their 1,000th New Testament. Thankfully, advancement in technology is helping the pace of the work to progress significantly.
Please uphold in prayer Wycliffe and other Bible Translating organizations in the precious work they are doing. Some special requests listed on Wycliffe’s 30-Day Prayer Calendar include:
Praise God for the technology that is available today, allowing translators to work more efficiently.
Ask God to provide ease of language and culture learning for those who travel to new areas.
Pray that workers would be welcomed into new areas and trusting relationships would be formed.
Ask God to provide more language surveyors, language development specialists and IT specialists so that the work of translation can continue.
Ask God to raise up workers who have a heart for sign languages and who can specialize in this area.
Ask God to raise up new and faithful prayer partners for national translators who often lack outside prayer and support.
Pray for political stability in countries where translation work is taking place.
Pray that God’s Word would transform individuals, communities and nations as it becomes available in every language.
– Adapted from wycliffe.org
SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE
On January 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion-on-demand in all 50 states. On January 13, 1984, President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation designating January 22, 1984, as the first National Sanctity of Human Life Day. Churches continue to recognize the third Sunday in January as Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. Churches around the United States use the day to celebrate God’s gift of life, commemorate the many lives lost to abortion, and commit themselves to protecting life at every stage. This year’s date is January 19th. (lifematters.org)
Pray for the United States (and other nations) to recognize the sanctity of all human life, including the unborn. Pray for the Lord in His mercy to awaken this nation to the horrible sin of abortion, and lead us to repentance. Thank the Lord for political leaders, church leaders and regular citizens who are working diligently to promote life and protect the unborn. Pray for their efforts, including the efforts of lawmakers, to be successful. Pray for God’s people to help lead the way in providing compassionate care for those who are in crisis pregnancy situations so that the unborn are valued and protected. Pray for those in crisis situations to be able to make connections with those who can provide such compassionate help. Thank the Lord that He is the precious Creator of life, even life in the womb, as these verses reveal:
“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them” (Psa. 139:13-15).
“Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations’” (Jer. 1:4-5).
TRANSITIONAL TIME IN SAUDI ARABIA
Saudi Arabia, a nation in the heart of the Middle East, is implementing an ambitious plan to transform the country from an oil-based economy to one based on business investment, technology and tourism. As part of this plan, this “ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom” is opening its doors to allow foreign tourists for the first time from 49 approved countries.
As Mission Network News reports, Saudi Arabia has been very closed as foreigners could not previously enter the country unless they had a business visa, an invitation from the government, or were on holy Muslim pilgrim. Islam is the only recognized religion and the majority of the people have never met a believer, so gospel influence has been very limited. Christians are banned from gathering, and many of them do not even know other believers to gather with.
Pray that the Lord will work through this transitional time in Saudi Arabia to bring the light and truth of Christ into the country. Pray for believers there to be encouraged in their faith and to find opportunities for fellowship with other believers.
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTRICTIONS INCREASE IN INDIA
There are reports showing a continued rise of Christian persecution in India. Greg Musselman, a spokesperson for Voice of the Martyrs Canada, says that unfortunately these reports are not surprising. “We’ll never eliminate persecution. It is getting worse. I think a part of that is the internet, the social media, people around the world firing each other up,” Musselman says.
Police in the state of Tamil Nadu have put several house churches under surveillance in an effort to prevent their use for Christian worship. House church congregations in several villages were warned to stop meeting altogether. Pastors of these small gatherings have been harassed and ordered to get permission from district officials in order to conduct prayer services.
India is officially a secular nation and courts have repeatedly stated that no permission is required for worship in homes. This has not stopped local officials from demanding such permits, often after complaints from others in the community who do not wish to have any Christian activities in their village.
Please lift up in prayer the harassed members of these small house churches and their spiritual leaders. Ask the Lord to grant them wisdom, discernment and favor as they come into contact with community members who are opposed to Christianity. Pray that the local governing officials will abide by the laws of their nation – providing freedom and protection to all – so that the growth of the church can move forward unhindered and more of India’s citizens can receive needed ministry.
– Adapted from Mission Network News (mnnonline.org) and Voice of the Martyrs Canada (vomcanada.com).
TAJIK PEOPLE IN UZBEKISTAN
The Tajiks are known for being one of the largest people groups in Central Asia. Missiologists also know them as one of the least reached with the Gospel. There are several reasons why this particular group continues to be a challenge to those seeking to fulfill the Great Commission. Among them are location and lifestyle. Uzbekistan (and Central Asia in general) is difficult to access, especially for foreign missionaries. Tajiks have also traditionally been migratory, moving to feed their animals and meet farming needs, depending on the season. Physically reaching them is difficult and being accepted into their culture has been nearly impossible.
But things have been changing in recent years. More and more Tajiks are heading to cities to find work. Their new migratory pattern tends to be farming in summer, city jobs in winter. As it has with other people groups, increasing urbanization among the Tajik people has increased opportunities for them to encounter the Gospel. It might also provide a more stable environment for the church to be established and grow among them.
Pray for the Tajiks to see their sin and accept God’s lavish offer of salvation through the Savior. Pray for the Lord to use the changes in the lives of the Tajik people to draw them to Himself. Pray for the gift of faith to come to every Tajik family in Uzbekistan.
– Information adapted from Global Prayer Digest November 2019 issue, globalprayerdigest.org. For subscription information for Global Prayer Digest, call (888) 881-5861.
PRAYER FOR ISRAEL
In November, Israel faced a barrage of over 400 rockets fired from Gaza. In addition, four rockets were fired from Syria at Israel’s Golan Heights, in what Israel says was an Iranian operation. These four rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome Missile Defense System. With attacks such as these in mind, please pray for the safety and security of the nation of Israel.
Also in November, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief rival Benny Gantz failed to form a ruling coalition, which means a third election in one year is now likely. Please pray that the election will result in the best leadership for the country.
Thank the Lord for His faithfulness in regathering Jewish people from around the world to Israel in these last days. Pray for their eyes to be opened to the truth that Jesus is the Messiah, and that many will turn to Him for salvation. As the Apostle Paul shares in Romans 10:1 – “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.”
And, in keeping with Psalm 122:6, pray for the peace of Jerusalem.