Adopting a Frontier People Group in Prayer: God’s Supernatural Way for Mission Breakthroughs
An increasing number of us in the prayer and mission movements believe that we may well be in the run-up to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ! He told us to watch for the signs of the times to know when that will be and perhaps the most important sign is that the ethne, the ethnic people groups, mentioned in Matthew 24:14 and 28:19 are now within the possibility of being reached with the Gospel even by 2030 to 2033 as several world evangelization and Bible translation efforts now predict. What a time to be alive and to serve the returning King of Kings!
In the meantime, we need to greatly multiply and expand both the prayer and mission efforts to ignite movements for Him in every one of the Frontier People Groups, those most unreached groups with less than one per thousand who follow Jesus. Of the several thousand Unreached People Groups, there are 291 Frontier People Groups, each over one million in size, that are called "frontier" because they are the least reached, making up about 1.6 billion people. Joshua Project maintains the list of all the FPGs https://joshuaproject.net/frontier/4 These largest 291 are the most strategic people groups to reach first because as they respond to the Gospel, movements for Christ that develop within them will likely overflow out to the smaller FPGs in their proximity as the powerful momentum of disciple-making church planting movements is unleashed. The prayer and mission movements need your help! We are seeking to get churches, prayer groups, youth, and children’s ministries worldwide, through their denominations and networks, to systematically adopt each one of these 291, even by this year’s end. Jesus commanded that we pray to the Lord of the harvest to send workers into His harvest field (Matthew 9:37-38). Prayer is the powerful supernatural way that mission is enabled to happen, even in the most resistant and unreached places and people groups! When each of these 291 are adopted for ongoing prayer that specifically focuses on them in an in-depth manner by multiple ministry entities, it will result in an explosive, synergistic leap forward in seeing Jesus’ command to reach the ethne accomplished in this decade. The attached brief video, "Understanding the Remaining Mission Task" provides a helpful overview on where we are in completing this all-important mission of the Lord.
Prayer cards for each of these largest FPGs are available at: https://www.joshuaproject.net/frontier/4. They can be enlarged to be placed on the wall of a church or prayer group’s meeting place or given out as bookmarks for members' Bibles to remind them to pray regularly for the raising up of workers and movements for Christ in the people group they have adopted. Joshua Project www.joshuaproject.net has many wonderful resources to help them find out more about their people group. Also, adopting entities can always do their own research and seek to network with others who have the same FPG as their focus. A new web platform called GetInvolved.com will enable the formation of digital prayer communities to connect those with the same FPG in ongoing prayer.
We would deeply appreciate your help in getting this challenge out to any churches, prayer groups, youth, and children's ministries you are in touch with. We have found through experience that usually it is best to assign just one of these FPGs to each ministry entity, including one of the attached prayer cards with your request, so that hopefully all these 291 Frontier People Groups will then be covered by one or more churches or prayer ministries as their responsibility. They can be asked to pray for the coming year and then to renew that commitment or shift to another people group after that if they like. Please also ask each adopting entity to register your and others’ commitments to adopt particular FPGs (or other UPGs) so we can track what is happening at https://aims.org/adoption-registration.html. The AIMS mission agency will help to track each adoption, connect them with field teams where possible and communicate how their prayers are being answered. They also have a very helpful website at AIMS.org. They can assist you with adoption, research, prayer, and connection with those on the field seeking to reach these FPGs and other unreached people groups.
Let me close with an amazing testimony about the power of praying for a Frontier People Group. At the beginning of the 1990’s, I asked two churches in my hometown to adopt a Central Asian people group with only two known Jesus followers. All the rest, as far as we knew, were Muslims. One of them I was privileged to lead to the Lord myself in an evangelistic event in southern Russia. The other I was able to meet on a visit to the country where their people group lived.
The Adopt a People Clearinghouse associated with the U.S. Center for World Mission at that time had just printed a beautiful prayer card about this almost completely unreached people. Using that card, church people from both churches began to pray and we begin to see God’s wonders. As it is promised in Psalm 77:14, “You are the God who performs miracles; You display your power among the peoples.” That is exactly what we began to witness!
Shortly after the believers began to pray, our city and their capital city began a sister-city program that enabled the exchange of musicians, composers, and other cultural programs. The symphony orchestra of that country then decided to do a concert the night before their independence celebration from the Soviet Union. The music of my grandfather, who was Dean of Fine Arts at our university and a well-known local composer, was chosen to be performed. My parents could not go to represent him since he had recently passed away, so I was chosen to do so. At the concert, in that Central Asian nation, the conductor asked me to say some words about my grandfather, so I told them about his search for God through his composing, and we read Psalm 23 his favorite Psalm. The conductor and all the musicians, as well as the audience that included some government officials, were all Muslims, yet they loved my grandfather’s music and Psalm 23 since they came from a shepherd culture! I also found out that my remarks had been included along with the concert on national radio! In addition, a non-residential missionary who had a heart for that people group had come with me and through that experience was given an open door and office to bring in university lecturers and agricultural development experts who were all Jesus followers. They eventually led hundreds to Christ, thanks be to the Lord!
The favor God gave in answer to the prayers of ordinary believers back home was so amazing! After the concert, the conductor asked if I could come back the following year for another such concert of my grandfather’s music which I did. As we were sitting in the audience before the orchestra began to play, the conductor said. “Now, can we have John Robb come up to the mic and tell us about God?” Talk about being ready to share at a moment’s notice! I did my best to follow up on what was said the year before and again they seemed to be so open and receptive for nominal Muslims. “What is this glory?”, one of the songs that was sung during that concert, was my granddad’s touching Christmas piece about the shepherds welcoming the birth of Jesus. It has been said that you can preach to Muslims and they might kill you, but you can sing to them and they will love you! That is what happened apparently since I am still breathing and can recount this wonderful God-story to you!
Wow, what an illustration of the power of focused prayer to bring about breakthroughs among unreached people groups! That must be the reason that Jesus stressed that prayer was the essential thing for mission breakthrough when He said: “The harvest in plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.” (Matthew 9:37-38) God owns the harvest and the process of reaping it as its Lord. However, what He really needs and wants is our prayer through which He will send out the workers He has specially chosen and gifted. Here lies the mystery and potency of prayer for the still plentiful number of people groups who have never heard the Gospel. That is why the most strategic thing we can do as instructed by the Master Missiologist Himself is to pray and get others to do so.
In the run-up to His return, let us take up His command so that all the Frontier People Groups will have movements for Christ as we exercise the supernatural prerogative of prayer for mission breakthroughs!
Coordinator, Unreached Peoples Task Force
Chairman, Transformation Prayer Foundation
Founder, International Prayer Connect