Praying for the Philippines and Filipino Sign Language

A look at the Philippines and how to pray for its people.

  • November 6, 2017
Filipino boys flying a kite

Philippines Fast Facts*

  • Population: 98,394,000
  • Main Language: Tagalog
      • Religions:
        • Roman Catholic: 82.2%
        • Protestant: 8.4%
        • Islam: 4.8%
        • Ethnic: 3.2%
    • Total number of languages: 175
      • Number of languages with …
        • No Scripture: 55**
        • Scripture portions: 25
        • New Testaments: 82
        • Bibles: 13

    The Philippines is composed of more than 7,100 islands and is surrounded by the South China Sea, Philippine Sea, Sulu Sea and Celebes Sea. The islands are home to beautiful and diverse landscapes, including two of the wonders of the world: the Banaue Rice Terraces and the Tubbataha Reef.

    Traces of Spanish and Chinese influences are evident in Filipino languages, and English is widely used as a second language by many Filipinos, particularly in urban areas. English is also taught in schools across the country. The Philippines is a leader in education with a high literacy rate.

    Filipinos value hospitality, loyalty, camaraderie and service. Filipino culture is diverse because of the influence of Malaysian, Chinese and American cultures and values, and Filipinos are able to easily assimilate themselves into jobs around the world. Today the Philippines plays an active role in Bible translation by sending missionaries and partnering with neighboring countries to bring God’s Word to people who are still waiting.

    Malnila residents playing bingo, launghing

    More than half of the language communities in the Philippines have access to Scripture, but there are still those — like the Filipino Deaf community — who are waiting to have God’s Word for themselves. There are an estimated 500,000 Deaf people in the Philippines, and less than 20,000 of those are believed to be Christian. A group of Deaf pastors established a Philippine Deaf Sign Language Association with the goal of bringing transformation to the Filipino Deaf community through Scripture. One of their main goals is to translate 110 selected Bible passages — from creation to the book of Acts — so that the Deaf community can understand the message of the gospel. So far 10 stories have been distributed.

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    Join us in praying that God would continue to further the work of Bible translation across this country so that all Filipinos might have the Good News in their own language.

    • Praise God for the work that’s already been done in the Philippines and the impact it’s made on communities.

    • Pray that God would use Filipino individuals and organizations — such as the Philippine Deaf Sign Language Association — to further the work of Bible translation, both in their country and around the world.

    • Ask God to reach the Filipino Deaf community with Scripture in their language so that their lives might be transformed for his glory.

    *The statistics included in the "Fast Facts" section are pulled from wycliffe.net and joshuaproject.net.

    **As far as we know, Bible translation has begun in all the remaining languages that still need it in the Philippines. The remaining 55 languages have been determined to not need translation because speakers are bilingual and have access to Scripture in another language that speaks to their hearts.