Pray for the Bibleless, and watch God work

By April 14, 2015
(Photo courtesy Wycliff Bible Translators)

(Photo courtesy Wycliff Bible Translators)

International (MNN) — Many organizations ask for prayer so they can thrive where they’re working. But, Wycliffe Bible Translators is swimming against the flow. Through their Bibleless Peoples Prayer Project, they’re asking people to pray for places where they aren’t working…yet.

History of Bibleless People

Shayna Noble who oversees the project says this project is nothing new.

“It was started back in October of 1982, and really, our leader at the time had a vision for praying for language groups where no Wycliffe work was going on yet.”

Many of the “Bibleless” people groups are unreached because a variety of factors are working against them. Two of those factors are size and geography.

Wycliffe says some people groups are very small and speak languages that are only known in their communities.

Other people groups may be larger in size, and their language may be well known, but their location works against missionaries. They’re difficult to reach and far from many roads, causing missionaries or Christian workers to hike, bike, climb, boat–anything it takes–for hours, days, maybe weeks, just to get to them.

The Project

When the project first started, Wycliffe was hoping for at least 6,000 prayer partners. Recently, they passed a 20,000 prayer partner mark.

After signing up, prayer partners receive specific unreached people groups to pray for.

“It’s something that anyone–5 years old to 95 years old–can do,” says noble. “We really believe in the power of prayer and how, really, God starts working in those language groups once someone starts praying.”

So how does Wycliffe measure or know that these 20,000 people are continuously praying? “Only God knows that answer, but one of the ways we like to measure prayer is just by keeping in contact with people,” says Noble. “So we try to keep in contact pretty regularly with our prayer partners and encourage them. And as updates are available, we send those along, so then they can continue to pray, and pray with details and specifics.”

Is it helping in the field?

Noble continues, “[There are] some stories that we’ve been able to see over the years, where [on] exact dates and [at] exact times God has worked and used the prayers of people. That’s just really neat when we get to see those.”

An example of the power of prayer comes from Africa: after the first prayer partner signed up, the national translator became a Christian. “In that same language group, another person signed up to pray with the Bibleless Peoples Prayer Project,” says Noble, “and that’s when [the national translator] was admitted into a Bible translation certificate program.”

How can you get involved?

People in every nook and cranny of the world need to hear the Gospel, preferably in their own language. The only way translation projects begin is through prayer — through your prayer.

Be a part of the project. Click here to sign up.


  • Steve Garcia says:

    Please send me the name of a group of people that need the bible translated into their own language. I will pray for them.
    Thank you.
    Eleanor Garcia

  • Shayna Noble says:

    Thanks for your interest in praying for a Bibleless language group! You can go to our website to sign up:

  • still praying War Jaintia -Bankal -Otomi- Naskapi- Nuristani
    others in Hymilaya area

  • Carol Sissel says:

    I believe it was in 1988 that I signed up to pray for a Bibleless people group. I was assigned the Phudagi of India, in the state of Maharashtra.

    You mention in the article that you regularly contact those who pray. It has been a very long time since I’ve heard anything. Do you have any news? Do you have any new guidelines for prayer that you could send?

    It seems the name of the people group has been changed, but in our many moves I’ve lost that notice. Ethnologue states they are now referred to as Vadval. Why are there two name references? Could you direct me to a map, just to give me a better picture in my mind?

    Is there still a plan to give the Phudagi the New Testament some day?

    Thank you.


  • Sherry Lorei says:

    Our family committed to praying for the Nayini people, but we haven’t heard anything is over a year. Are there any updates? Thank you!

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