Often times it seems as though there is way too big of a need in the world for us to have a real impact on eternity. Let’s face it, there is only so much we can do ourselves. I don’t want to discourage you, but rather give you a direction in which you can have a real impact on eternity and it won’t be anything that would be deemed “a sacrifice.”
I want to warn you now though, if you partake in this exercise, you are putting yourself in a situation to really have your heart and life impacted for people all over the world whom you have never met.
This exercise is simply called world prayer. Set time aside, say… half an hour a week and you can use this model to pray for specific kinds of needs throughout the world. Oh yeah, to make it easier, all you have to do is look at your hand and see your thumb. The prayer tool I am going to teach you is an acronym for the word thumb.
There are 5 major kinds of people who are considered “least reached.” This simply means that there is little to no presence of the Gospel amongst these peoples. Each letter in the acronym represents one of these five kinds of people. The first one might be a good place to start for a couple of reasons:
1) It is the first letter in the acronym.
2) It is the kind of people that Jinny and I are planning on serving in our ministry.
You can do a rotation and switch up which kind of people you are going to pray for each week. Without further ado, here is the T.H.U.M.B. tool.
T ribal: This genre of people are exactly what they sound like. They are people who live in remote places on earth, they have their own specific language, and usually own an animistic world view. Animism can be described through the term “spirit appeasement.” Mostly they live there lives in fear of upsetting spirits and then being cursed because of it. Think of it as being really superstitious… only a million times worse. Sometimes the cultural penalty for upsetting the spirits can be death.
- God would raise up people to go and supporters to send them to the most remote places on earth to reach to these people.
- God would reveal a lack of power in the spirits to the tribal people.
- They would be open to having missionaries live amongst their tribes and villages.
- The workers would put in the time and effort to effectively learn the tribal language and culture so they can effectively share the gospel in the heart language of the tribes.
- Tribal people would take on a missionary role to reach the other villages in their tribes with the Good News.
H indu: The majority of all Hindu people in the world live in one country… you guessed it, India. Hinduism is an eastern religion that has hundreds of millions of gods that are worshipped by its followers. Not everyone worships the same gods, but rather they pick and choose. It is common practice for families to have prayer closets where they set up mini shrines to all of the gods they worship in their family. Sadly, it is not uncommon to see little statues of Jesus and his mother, Mary, in these prayer closets right next to other hindu gods. Often times Jesus can be shared with hindus and they will just add Him to the list of gods they pray to.
- God would raise of laborers and senders to go reach these unique people.
- The hearts of the people would yearn to know of the One true God who transcends not only men, but also all the gods they pay homage to.
- Clarity in sharing the truth of Christ in a polytheistic setting.
- Overcoming boundaries set up through the caste system.
- Hindu students studying internationally would be reached while they are abroad.
U nbelieving: These people are those with little to no spiritual beliefs. Okay, I’ll be honest, it is China, but we needed a vowel to go along with all these consonants and make a real word. So Unbelieving was used to represent China. As many of you know, the church is growing daily there, but when we are talking about over a billion people, we must realize that they are still considered “least reached.”
- God would raise up laborers and senders to reach out to the Chinese people.
- That the hearts of the Chinese would be burdened to know their creator.
- The Chinese gov. would not be a deterrent to the Gospel, but rather a catalyst.
- Through their persecution, the Chinese believers would grow in their faith.
M uslim: Islam is spreading throughout the world, mainly through relocation, marriage, and having kids. Muslims follow the teaching of the prophet Muhammad. They believe the Jewish and Christian scriptures were corrupted by man and are invalid. They respect Jesus as a prophet, but do not believe He is God. They view Christians as polytheists based on the belief in the trinity.
- God would raise up laborers and sender to reach out to the Muslim people in the most closed parts of the world.
- God would soften the hearts of Muslims to hear and believe the truth about Jesus.
- Muslim students who are studying abroad would hear the Gospel, put their trust in Christ and take it back with them to their home countries.
- That the Church would no longer view Muslims as their enemy, but rather as people in desperate need of Christ.
B uddhist: Buddhism is another eastern religion that is very much unlike Christianity. The main goal is to quickly move away from human desires to a state of nirvana, which is a state of perfection and pure peace. Most buddhists just hope to build up good karma. They also believe in reincarnation where their karma and merits go with them into their new lives.
- God would raise up laborers and supporters to reach the followers of Buddhism.
- That their hearts would burden to know God and not depend on individual efforts for meaning in life.
- Buddhist students studying abroad would come to know Christ and take it back to their homelands.
- The idea of works and merits would not be a barrier in their understanding of God and what Christ did on the cross.