There are many days scattered throughout the year that emphasize certain things, though many of them are tucked and hidden away. Apparently National Rocky Road Day, Hug Your Cat Day, and Flag Day are among just some of the special emphases that make the June calendar. Perhaps more importantly, June is the month with a particular emphasis on reaching the unreached. (It wasn’t deemed important enough to make the calendar containing dozens of other special days! http://www.holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/june.htm)
Among all the other “special” days, there is a day set aside to advocate for prayer for the cause of reaching every unreached people group. Although a somewhat recent study by the Barna Group would indicate that over half of church goers don’t know of the Great Commission, one might assume that most (if not all) pastors are aware of the task that the Great Commission has placed upon the church. Yet, sometimes pastors view an emphasis on missions or the unfinished task as just one more thing to add to a to-do list for an already full plate. Rather than being a burden to bear, The International Day for the Unreached is simply a way of putting an emphasis on this task for just one Sunday of the year so that perhaps a greater awareness would be a catalyst for prayer for the other 364 days of the year. In fact, this opportunity can be grabbed on any Sunday during the year. June 9th may have been the “chosen” Sunday this year, but praying for the unreached ought to be as much a part of gathering together as praying for the petitions of the reached.
If you or your church have not yet heard the statistics on the number of people groups that still have not had a chance to hear the gospel message, don’t delay…head on over to Joshua Project (https://joshuaproject.net/) and read all about it right now. There are over 7,000 unreached groups, all of whom are in need of prayer. Over 3 billion people have not had the chance to hear about Jesus, and there is nobody among their group to share. According to Joshua Project, the criteria needed in order to be considered unreached indicates that less than 2% of the population is evangelical, and less than 5% of the population are professing Christians. For those of us who have grown up always hearing about Jesus or at least knowing others who follow Jesus, this is really just simply too hard to comprehend. However, it is a sad reality for almost half of the world’s population. Indeed, there is a task waiting!
Every church, every Christian, every Bible study group, and any other Christian entity can easily adopt a people group and begin praying for the unreached. There are many free resources on the Joshua Project page, including prayer cards that can be printed to serve as an easy reminder to pray each day for the unreached people group which has been adopted or chosen. For those who prefer electronic resources, there is an app that will send an unreached group of the day if someone prefers to pray for a variety of people groups. The Alliance for the Unreached also has a page full of free resources to equip Christians to pray on behalf of those who have not heard. Just check out https://alliancefortheunreached.org/resources/ to see what is available.
Adopting an unreached people group and praying for that group is easy! There are resources that abound, and getting involved does not have to cost a penny. It might cost a few minutes each day, but the value of joining your heart to the heart of God on behalf of people He already loves is more than worth it. If you or your church missed the International Day for the Unreached, it is not too late. Every day can be a day for the unreached, so let it start now. Jesus prayed for the lost as He hung on the cross (Luke 23:34), and the Father’s heart is to draw more people groups to Himself. Clearly, we want to be part of this task too!
Kirsten McClain serves in church missions mobilization for Propempo International and OMF. She has been serving churches and mission agencies for the last 20 years. She has a heart to see the church realize her potential in missions and is driven to be a mobilizer to this end. She lives in Georgia with her husband and three children, and she is ready to direct pastors to the various resources that Propempo and OMF use to come alongside churches and individuals so that they can do missions well. email@example.com