Four Nations, 12 Unreached People Groups, One Gospel
Billions of people around the world are dying without ever having heard the gospel or even the name of Jesus. Let’s join together in prayer for these unreached people. Pray for God to prepare hearts to hear and receive the gospel and for believers to obey His call to go to them.
Most of the following unreached people groups are considered a frontier people group, meaning there are anywhere from zero to a negligible number of known Christians in their numbers.
SPRING 2023 | Praying for Myanmar
- Mon – 85% Buddhist
- Rakhine – 67% Buddhist
- Rohingya – 99.9% Muslim
April | Mon – 1.1 million; 85% Buddhist, 0.9% Evangelical
- Religion is very important to the Mon. The majority practice a mixture of spirit worship and Buddhism, but some are Theravada Buddhists. Those who are traditional animists believe that good and evil spirits inhabit non-living objects. Each family has a “house spirit” that is located in the home of the eldest living male of a lineage. The spirit’s clothing and gear hang in a basket on the southeastern post of the house. Mon beliefs have been partly influenced by Hinduism, where spirits known as tewatao are associated with trees and fields. Other spirits such as ancestral spirits, spirits that cause illness, and spirits that have magical influence, are called kalok.
- Buddhist monks act as mediators between villagers and the spirits. Other practitioners include shamans (priests or priestesses), doctors, astrologers, and witches. Witches are believed to cause illnesses or spirit possession. The Buddhists believe that a sick person has an insufficient accumulation of merit, so offerings are made to the Buddha images on his behalf. To alleviate the illness, shamans (mostly women) put on spirit dances at which time they usually become possessed by evil spirits. The doctor then seeks to exorcise the spirits by reciting chants.
May | Rakhine – 2.6 million; 67% Buddhist, 0.05% Evangelical
- Rakhine people come from the western coast of northern Myanmar in the Rakhine state. They are fishermen and agriculturalists. The 2.6 million Rakhine people of Myanmar have been caught in the middle of a war for the past decade. Attacks come from the Buddhist Myanmar government, the Arakan Army and the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army. The suffering has caused many of them to leave their historic homes in fear of their lives and to search for work. Many young people are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Due to the war, villages and culture are being destroyed. Many temples where the Rakhine would offer prayers and tribute to the Buddhas have been ruined. They feel attacked on all sides.
- The devout, animistic, and Buddhist traditions of this people have made them unreceptive to the gospel in the past. They are suspicious and resistant to outreach efforts. Because the Rakhine people do not speak traditional Burmese, there is a need for evangelistic materials in their own language.
June | Rohingya – 500,000, 99.9% Muslim, Unknown Evangelical
- The Rohingya are staunch followers of Islam. Most of the elderly Rohingya grow beards and the women wear hijab. All Rohingya houses are surrounded by high bamboo walls. There is still social group in every village called Samaj. All social welfare activities like meat distribution, helping the poor, widows, orphans and needy, marriage and funeral functions are done collectively by the Samaj.
- Unfortunately, today the Rohingya face an enormous cultural problem. The Muslims encounter strong pressure from the Buddhist culture of Myanmar. The Rohingyas have to confront ideological assault from all directions because they are considered to be practicing a foreign way of life having no origin in Burma. According to the ruling military, the Rohingyas are to adopt and entertain no ideas but those of Burmese race and culture and Buddhism. Because of their resistance, many have had to flee persecution and have ended up in refugee camps, where conditions are often very difficult.
How can we pray for them?
- Ask the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into Myanmar (Burma) to minister to these people groups.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to mission agencies focusing on these people.
- Pray that God will give Burmese believers boldness to share Christ with their own people.
- Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the spiritual soil through worship and intercession.
- Ask the Lord to bring forth strong and growing Mon, Rakhine, and Rohingya Christian fellowships for the glory of His name.
- Ask for more Christian aid to reach the people living in refugee camps, and that their difficult circumstances would make them more receptive to the gospel.
What is An Unreached People Group?
A people group is defined as an ethno-linguistic group with a common self-identity that is shared by the various members. For strategic purposes it is the largest group within which the Gospel can spread without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance.
A people group is considered unreached (UPG) when there is no indigenous community of believing Christians able to engage this people group with church planting. Technically speaking, the percentage of evangelical Christians in this people group is less than 2 percent. South Asia has the largest unreached people group population with 1.5 billion people who have little to no access to the gospel. Of the 11,741 people groups in the world (7.4 billion people), 7,024 are unreached (4.3 billion people).
Unreached people groups are unengaged (UUPG) when there is no church planting strategy, consistent with evangelical faith and practice, under way. Gathering believers and planting churches are the keys to establishing an effective and multiplying presence among these people groups. There are approximately 220 million people worldwide who are unreached and unengaged.
Please join us as we pray for unreached people groups each month. Pray that God will raise up laborers to take the gospel to these parts of the world. Pray for the truth of Christ to overcome the darkness.
Want to Learn More about Unreached People Groups?