By Jami in Ulan-Ude, Siberia — We’re in full-on packing mode. In two weeks, our family will move from the main city in our area of Siberia to a small village where many of the residents are Buryat. As our family embarks on this new step in our ministry to the unreached, the theme of prayer keeps pounding in our hearts and in our minds.
We’ve heard in so many ways and from so many places the adage that a church-planting movement’s foundation rests on prayer. We really believe it’s true. And, so, as we build a new home in order to live among the unreached, we feel a fresh desperation to come to God, seek him, and ask others to engage in the spiritual battle of prayer with us.
The unreached people of the world are unreached for a reason! We live in such a spiritually dark place and know that only God can break through these bonds of oppression to change people’s hearts and minds. As we bring his message of hope to the Buryat — a primarily Buddhist group where less than 1 percent of the people have been reached with the gospel — we’re ever aware that if there is any fruit, it will be God who produces it.
Learn more about the Buryat from their Joshua Project profile.
We ourselves are growing in prayer, but we also are seeking a team of at least 1,000 people who will deeply and consistently pray for the Buryat and for many new churches to be planted in the Republic of Buryatia. One of the catalysts for this call to prayer is from “Contagious Disciple Making: Leading Others on a Journey of Discovery” by David and Paul Watson, which notes that the disciple-making movements that have really taken off in the past have had not just hundreds but thousands of people praying for them.
Here are some practical steps we’re taking — and that any global worker could take — to inspire prayer for the unreached:
1. We’re using our networks, both here and abroad
We have written to pastors and spiritual leaders to see if they have ideas of how to spread the excitement of coming to our God on behalf of these unreached people. At the same time, we are sharing our vision with friends in Russia and asking them to get the word out. We would love to see people around the globe praying throughout the day for the Buryat.
2. We’re staying connected
We understand that many people want to pray, but they don’t know what to pray for unless we who live among the unreached help direct them. We send a weekly update that keeps the Buryat on people’s radar and makes it less likely that they will forget to pray. We don’t want writing these prayer updates to fall to the bottom of our to-do list, so we schedule them into our weekly calendar.
3. We’re bringing the Buryat to life
Our updates go beyond simply listing prayer needs. When the Buryats have a holiday, we explain their traditions. When there’s a reason to mourn, we share the sad story. The gospel message flows through daily life — game nights and English lessons and meals together. We want those praying to connect with the Buryat as real people, and sharing about the extraordinary way God uses ordinary situations helps build those connections.
As we embark on this pattern of concentrated prayer, there are ways we want to grow:
- We want to follow up. We hope to highlight specific prayer requests that are more likely to have tangible answers — and then report the good news when they are answered!
- We want to reciprocate. We aim to pray more regularly for those who are praying for us. We want to develop a system of connecting with someone each day to ask how we can be lifting them up in prayer, too.
- We want to be open to the Spirit. We have begun praying through Psalms and allowing the Holy Spirit to lead through his Word.
It truly is amazing that we can talk with the Creator of the universe! It’s beyond comprehension that he wants to engage with us and work in and through us. The more we come to him in prayer, and the more others are praying alongside us, the more we will be filled with awe by his wonders.
Top image: There are 86 unreached people groups in Russia. During a missions-education course for believers in Siberia, the names of these people groups were typed out on a scroll, and the group gathered to pray for each group.
About the author: Jami, originally from Washington state, lives with her husband and three children in Siberia, in the Republic of Buryatia. Their desire is to see the local church reach the native Buryat people and for the Buryats to know and praise their Creator.
Learn more about the unreached
- ‘Is Jesus some person living in your village?’ — An exploration of what “unreached” means, and what it doesn’t mean.
- Uncovering the unreached — A missionary’s treasure hunt leads to prayer guides that inspire Ukrainian believers to engage the cultures around them.
- Exploring the faith she mocked — Building trust in unreached communities can take decades, but SEND is poised to invest more in Ummi.
- Upward evangelism — Ministry among diaspora Vietnamese ends up also engaging wealthier Taiwanese.
- ‘Are you a new creation?’ — A young woman from an unreached people group ponders this most-important question.
- SEND offers hundreds of opportunities — long term. mid term and short term — to engage the unreached.
- Find ideas for daily prayer for the unreached.