The 9-to-5 Guide to Praying Around the World | Wycliffe Bible Translators

The 9-to-5 Guide to Praying Around the World

  • September 29, 2022
  • By: Emily Lupfer
The 9-to-5 Guide to Praying Around the World

There are a lot of people in the world.

I’m really bad at math, but I’m confident it’s a pretty big number.

And many of those people deal with a lot of hard things.

Just turn on the news or open a social media app and you’ll quickly be overloaded with information about pain and hurt in seemingly every country; it can be hard to know how you can help. But what if you could make a difference without traveling across the world or altering your daily routine?

The solution is simple: prayer.

If your life is anything like mine, it’s incredibly busy. But no matter what your day‑to‑day looks like, you can still make an impact with the time you do have by making a conscious effort to pray for people around the world throughout the day. Just like everything on your schedule, prayer should seamlessly fit into your daily routine — your 9‑to‑5 life.

Brushing Your Teeth — 30 Seconds

two toothbrushes in a mason jar

I know dentists recommend* brushing your teeth for at least two minutes. They also recommend things like flossing and fluoride. But I’m going to be real: I spend a solid 30 seconds on my teeth each morning. Sorry, Dr. Sherman!

Whether you’re passionate about your dental hygiene or just going through the motions, if you have 30 seconds, you can make a positive impact on the world through prayer. Try sticking this prayer on your bathroom mirror as a reminder to lift up people around the world each morning:

Lord, thank you for the privilege of praying for others. I lift up the men, women and children around the world who are suffering. For everyone who feels burdened — by poverty, loneliness, conflicts or isolation — ease their pain. Draw them to you and to the hope that can only be found in your son, Jesus. Amen.

*I didn’t actually research this. Statement not approved by the American Dental Association.

Morning Commute — 30 Minutes

Commuting is one of the most mundane parts of the day.

person riding orange bicycle wearing a helmet and backpack

You pass the same trees, the same stretch of highway and sit in the same frustrating traffic. Halfway to work you realize your socks don’t match and your $5 coffee is actually more creamer than caffeine.

No matter how long your commute is, pass the time by covering the world in prayer as you drive, ride, bike or walk to your destination. You can focus on the five regions of the world by praying for just a few of the issues people that live in these areas experience:

  • Pray for people in Africa, specifically for community development and educational needs.
  • People in the Americas face ongoing disaster recovery efforts, conflict and poverty. Lift up their needs to God.
  • Ask God for political and religious peace in Asia and lift up the people impacted by recent natural disasters like tsunamis, earthquakes and typhoons.
  • Lift up the immigrant communities living in Europe due to displacement caused by conflict, persecution and economic pressures in their home countries.
  • In the vastly diverse Pacific region, pray for youth education and health in the midst of natural disasters and challenging living conditions.

Lunch — 60 Minutes

Whether your schedule allows you to take your lunch break at noon or at midnight, you have an opportunity to briefly hit the “pause” button on the busyness of your day. As you eat, you can do whatever you want with your unpaid time: Take a walk, return a personal call or even read the Bible.

You probably own at least one copy of the Bible in your preferred language and format. Bibles are available everywhere — in every church and household, even on cellphone apps! And there are even numerous versions of the Bible you can read too.

But did you know that at least 1.5 billion people around the world don’t have access to the full Bible in their language?

Open Bibles and notes on a wooden table with coffee cups

As you munch on chips or sip soup, consider praying for different regions of the world, but this time focus on some of their Bible translation needs*:

  • Pray for Africa, which is home to about 30% of the world’s total languages! At least 597 people groups in this region are still waiting for translation to begin in their language. Praise God that despite these needs, churches are growing quickly throughout Africa.
  • The Americas already has translations completed in 400 languages, but more than 120 languages need work to begin. Ask God to bless the remaining languages with translation projects and access to Scripture.
  • Asia is a leading partner in advancing the work of the gospel around the world, but there are at least 836 languages that still need translation work started. Pray for the individuals and missions organizations that are working together to help change that.
  • Europe has the lowest Bible translation needs in the world, but there are still at least 60 people groups waiting for a Bible translation project to start in their languages. Lift up these groups, especially work happening in European sign languages.
  • The Pacific region includes thousands of islands within the world’s largest ocean, and over 400 language groups are waiting for Scripture. This represents the greatest remaining need for translation. Ask God to work in the people and languages across this region to make his name known.
*Source: Wycliffe Global Alliance, October 2020

Water Cooler — 3 Minutes

It’s time to stand up, stretch out and do that thing where you stare into the distance so your eyes can rest from looking at a computer screen. Maybe grab a candy bar if you’re feeling adventurous. A break, no matter how brief, is a great opportunity to refocus and put things in perspective.

man pointing to small globe on an outside table

As you reflect on your remaining tasks of the day, say a prayer for the Bible translators and missionaries around the world working diligently toward the goal of everyone having the Bible in a language and format that can clearly understand.

Here is an example of a prayer you can use, but create your own prayers as God leads you:

Lord, thank you for the communities around the world committed to the work of Bible translation. Thank you for their love of you and your Word. Thank you for the missionaries coming alongside local translators and churches. Thank you for the love they feel for the region, country and communities they serve.

Fill local translators and missionaries with wisdom, knowledge, patience, clarity and perseverance. I pray that they continue to draw close to you, even in the midst of trials or exhaustion. I pray for safety and health so that they can continue to do your work. When hope seems dim, let them see your light shine even brighter so they’re reminded that you are our good, good Father. Amen.

Dinner Prep — 20 Minutes

An ipad in a stand on kitchen countertop, displaying a recipe

For me, dinner preparation means putting food in the microwave and hitting a few buttons. Maybe you use a meal delivery service to prep dinner or pull out your mom’s cookbook.

No matter your preferred method, consider how much more difficult the simple task of food prep would be if the instructions were in a language you didn't understand.

Now consider how hard it would be to wrap your mind around concepts in the Bible if it was in a language you didn't understand. For people who communicate in at least 2,000 languages around the world without Scripture, it’s their reality.

So whether you’re waiting for water to boil or just staring at a ticking timer, take a moment during your dinner prep to pray for the people who speak languages where no translation work has started yet.

Lord, thank you for all of the incredible progress that has been made in the work of Bible translation. Thank you for each of the New Testaments, Old Testaments and portions of the Bible that have been translated. Thank you for all of the individuals and communities who’ve experienced the life-changing power of a relationship with Jesus Christ because of your Word.

I want to lift up the people around the world who don’t have any Scripture available in their language. I can’t imagine navigating a world without the hope we have through promises found in the Bible. Lord, give them hearts that yearn for more — that they recognize that something is missing from their lives.

I ask that you raise up local communities to initiate and pursue the goal of having the Bible in their language. Give them the motivation to persevere in spite of any obstacles they may face. Lord, I pray that the translation process brings churches and communities together like never before as they discover new truths in your Word and anticipate the completion of translation projects. Amen.

Before Bed — 1 Minute

As you go through your bedtime routine (Brush your teeth for 30 seconds!) and check for the third time that the alarm clock on your phone is set, end your busy day with a quick prayer.

person in bed with blanket, Bible and drink cup

To make this big world feel just a little bit smaller, think about the personal connections you have to places and people across the globe. Maybe it's where your family is from, a favorite vacation spot or where a friend lives. Maybe there’s a region of the world you’ve always been interested in or a country you keep hearing about in the news.

No matter what God puts on your heart, consider using these points to guide your bedtime prayer:

  • Pray that communities would recognize God’s love for their language and culture.
  • Ask God to give communities a desire to see the Bible translated into their language.
  • Lift up missionaries helping local translation projects.
  • Ask God to prepare the hearts of those still waiting for Scripture in their language.
  • Pray that when a Bible translation project is completed, the community would engages with God’s Word on a daily basis.
  • Ask God for unity among church leaders and language communities worldwide.

Every Prayer Matters

two pairs of hands folded in prayer

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the chaos and mess of our schedules. Commitments pile up. Stress levels rise. But we can pray in any place at any time — and your prayers matter! James 5:16 reminds us that “the earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results” (NLT).

Ultimately, it’s God who changes people’s hearts through Bible translation. But we’re called to partner with him in prayer. So as you rush through your day completing tasks and checking things off your list, bring meaning to your routine by praying for people around the world, Bibleless communities and the life-transforming mission of Bible translation.

After all, every prayer matters.

When people meet God through Scripture, their lives are changed forever. And your prayers can help people around the world encounter the transforming hope of the gospel for the very first time!