As we interact with the written Word of God, we experience the Living Word of God and are able to respond to the gospel. Literacy ministries help ensure many are able to pick up the written Word of God and encounter Him when no disciple of Jesus can be present. Literacy ministries take many forms: foreign language classes, translation and transliteration, literature development, and simply learning to read and write in any language. This edition of By Prayer will guide us to pray for many literacy ministries helping people understand written words so they can read and respond to God’s Word. Thank you for supporting these literacy ministries, by prayer.
Some of Jesus’ final words were, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always…” (Matthew 28:19–20 NIV). As followers of Jesus Christ being changed by the power of the gospel, we are to make disciples of Jesus who learn to obey and follow Him. This begins with those closest to us in our marriages and families, in our neighborhoods and churches, rippling out to the nations. Over the next two months, we will pray for a variety of ways individuals and churches around the world teach, model, and aid in this disciple-making mission Jesus gave us. Thank you for your investment in making disciples, by prayer.
Jesus often ministered to the marginalized and those considered at risk. Matthew 9:36 references Jesus’ compassion for those “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Throughout this edition, we’ll be praying for some of the harassed and helpless, people suffering from famine, tempted by or escaped from the sex industry, wrestling with the stigma of having had Ebola, battling HIV/AIDs, or struggling as refugees. Regardless of the prayer request topic, all are connected to the work of communicating the gospel of love, acceptance, and new life in Jesus Christ to those who are living and dying without Him. This task is still urgent and the workers few. Jesus’ words in Matthew 9:38 still ring out, “Pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers…” Thank you for your gospel work, by prayer!
Healing people with diseases was an important part of what Jesus did in His earthly ministry. Matthew 9:35–36 allows us to catch a glimpse of Jesus’ heart as He healed every kind of disease and illness. He was moved with compassion when He saw the crowds because they were “harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd.” SIM’s medical ministries provide unique opportunities to minister the love and compassion of Jesus Christ. In difficult areas, God is using medical care to open countless doors for the gospel message. Many churches have been planted as a result of caring for the suffering. Thank you for extending the compassion of Jesus Christ through SIM’s medical missionaries and ministries by prayer.
SIM is committed to being a mission that begins, nurtures and equips churches to be the expression of Jesus Christ in their communities and to reach out with cross-cultural missionary vision and action. Around the world the Church is increasing rapidly in size, despite intense persecution in many areas. From refugee camps in Africa to earthquake-stricken villages in Ecuador, Jesus is building His Church just as He said in Matthew 16:18, “…upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it” (NLT). Thank you for your participation in building the Church around the world, by prayer.
People are moving now more than ever in history. SIM has always had ministries with nomadic communities but is now expanding to include ministry with migrant workers and those changing continents. This truly is “from everywhere, to everywhere.” One common plea you will pray over is the need for more workers and resources for this ministry. Jesus said, “Ask the Lord of the Harvest to send workers into His harvest field.” (Matthew 9:38) Let us pray for more laborers in this field and for communities and peoples to hear the good news of Jesus wherever they are. We celebrate the new places God is allowing SIM to serve (see new areas highlighted) and expect our God to do great things so mobile people can find their true home in Jesus, by prayer.
We believe in the worth and giftedness of those within SIM and of those we seek to serve because every person is uniquely made in God’s image. Because of this we seek to live as lifelong learners by giving and receiving discipleship and encouraging development. We learn and grow best together. The task before us is referred to by Paul, writing to Timothy, “What you have heard from me… entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2 ESV). Discipleship, mentoring and training all relay the idea of investing in others. All of us need someone investing in us and someone in whom we are investing. Community is about giving and receiving, and learning and growing together. Thank you for investing in these kinds of relationships over the next two months, by prayer.
Many years ago SIM was denied permission from government officials to begin a gospel work among a least-reached people in Africa. Prayer for this tribe continued. Years of unrest and war in their country took its toll, forcing them to flee their homes to refugee camps. It was in these camps that four young men from this tribe heard someone was teaching about Jesus the Messiah. They wrote a letter to SIM asking for someone to teach them about Jesus. SIM responded and, since that initial letter, over 100 people from this tribe have come to a saving knowledge of Jesus, and a church has been established. Pray with us for God to continue to use the refugee crisis and chaos to move people to places where they can hear and respond to the message of the gospel.
Some of us learn best by reading, but millions of people around the world are oral learners: those who learn easiest through stories, songs, chants, music, dances, drama, and ceremonies. Using oral means of communication like media players, mp3 Bibles and stories, storytelling, and pictures enable learners to interact with the message of the Bible whether they can read or not. Orality is becoming a more important topic as even literate cultures rely more and more on videos, online interaction and other media—which are all oral means of learning. Join us in praying for both literate and oral learners around the world to hear, understand and respond to the message of salvation through Jesus Christ.