NICOSIA, Cyprus (BP)–Southern Baptist workers in the Middle East and North Africa are seeking massive prayer support to help them reach one of the world’s most difficult areas to penetrate with the gospel.
“We want to sign up 5,000 prayer partners who will commit to praying for us weekly,” said Hugh Provost, a Southern Baptist representative based in Cyprus.
About 220 Southern Baptist workers serve in 11 countries across the MENA area. They have been encouraged by increased openness and response in many places during recent years.
The Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board’s “Prayer Plus Partnership” emphasis challenges Southern Baptist congregations to pray for the 2,161 ethnic people groups in “The Last Frontier,” where people have little or no access to the gospel. In Prayer Plus, churches pledge to pray that God would draw an unreached people group to himself — plus be willing to obey when God shows them how to help take the gospel to that people.
The majority of the 280 million people in the MENA area are Muslim, some avowedly anti-evangelical. More than half the population is under 20 years of age. The area is home to 201 “Last Frontier” people groups, including the Berbers of North Africa and some 19.2 million Bedouin nomads.
There are pockets of traditional Christians in some lands, but for most of these “Christianity” is only a cultural identity, not a living relationship with Jesus Christ.
“We want people to pray for several reasons,” Provost said. “First, we want our Southern Baptist churches to become an integral part of our outreach effort through prayer. We want them to become informed about specific individuals and current projects and take a prayerful interest in them. Surely the churches that are paying for what we do are interested in the changed lives and sometimes the struggles that result from our work.
“Second, the work here is hard but we’re seeing some victories. Many Southern Baptists don’t realize we now have more than 600 students involved in theological studies at different levels. Imagine the impact these trained believers will have as they begin putting their studies to work!
“Third, we want them to pray both for the protection of our workers, who often are in very dangerous, unsettled places,” Provost said. “Our area includes some war zones and former war zones, areas which are economically unsettled and areas where violence can erupt any time. Prayer is essential.”
Southern Baptists who respond to MENA’s “On Mission Through Prayer” invitation will receive background information packets and periodic updates for prayer topics.
To become a prayer partner for the unreached peoples of the Middle East and North Africa, send an electronic mail to [email protected] or write the International Prayer Strategy Office, Foreign Mission Board SBC, P.O. Box 6767, Richmond, VA 23230.