Bible Sunday: Remember those without God’s word

October 23rd, 2016 by Jo Johnson

Today is Bible Sunday! We are excited that God is at work around the world enabling Bible translation so that more and more people can access his word in the language which speaks to their heart. However, around 165-180 million people still do not have a word of Scripture in their heart language.

As we approach Bible Sunday (23rd October) when we celebrate God’s word, let’s remember those who still cannot access Scripture for comfort, instruction, guidance and wisdom. Let’s not forget that many have not heard the good news of Jesus Christ because his word isn’t available to them in the language they understand best.

This Bible Sunday, if you are a mother-tongue English speaker, take time to praise God that we have multiple versions of the Bible in our heart language.

You can also praise him that today, millions more people around the world have access to God’s word in the language they understand best. Worldwide, there are about 7000 languages in active use and at least one book of Scripture exists in over 2,900 of these languages.

However, please also pray:

  • for the more than 1.5 billion people who do not have the full Bible available in their first language.
  • for the active translation and/or linguistic development happening in 2,267 languages.
  • for people groups where translation has not yet started. Ask God to provide the people, expertise and financial resources needed to start language development and Bible translation for these language communities.

Did you know that you can access daily prayer needs for Bible translation on our website or by email?

Follow us on Twitter @wycliffeuk_pray for other prayer needs.

Find more Scripture access statistics.


Bible Sunday: Celebrating the Bible in more languages than ever

October 20th, 2016 by Jo Johnson

This Sunday is Bible Sunday! As we celebrate God’s word, let’s rejoice with those who, this year, have access to God’s word in their heart language for the first time. New figures to be released in November are expected to include Bibles and New Testaments in at least 30 languages published in the last 12 months. The total number of languages with some published Scripture now exceeds 3000, including Scripture in over 1000 languages available online as text or audio.

We believe that God’s word in people’s own language brings individual and community transformation. Let’s rejoice that God’s word is available in more languages than ever before.

ChamkuDedicationIn some areas of the world it is difficult or even dangerous to access translated Scripture, to be seen to be reading God’s word or allowing it to change your life. Please pray for the impact of newly translated Scriptures in these difficult contexts:

  • Countries which experience cycles of violence, military upheaval and turmoil; pray that many will access God’s word and that it will bring comfort, peace and act as an agent for reconciliation.
  • Communities whose cultural identity is tied up with beliefs of other religions; pray that whole communities will ‘know the truth, and the truth will set you free.‘ John 8:32 NLT
  • Areas where you will be persecuted for owning a Bible or found to be reading the word of God. Pray that many will be able to access newly translated Scripture via the internet and mobile phone apps. Ask God to instill courage in those who seek after him and that they will grow strong in their faith.
  • Physically inaccessible communities which have limited access for much of the year due to poor roads, rivers in flood and landslides; pray that God opens ways for these communities to access God’s word in a format that best meets their needs.
  • Communities which are strongly resistant to change: pray that God will soften the hearts of community leaders and that many will read newly translated Scripture and allow it to change them.

Rejoice with those who finally have access to God’s word and pray that as they engage with it, it will bring transformation to their lives and communities.

Did you know that we have some great resources to inspire you and help you to pray for Bible translation? Use our prayer resources on your own, with your small group or in a larger prayer gathering.

Computers looted and databases lost – please pray!

October 17th, 2016 by Jo Johnson

Today we are requesting urgent prayer for ACATBA, one of our partner organisations in the Central African Republic.

ACATBA* exists to promote local language development, Bible translation, literacy and community development in the Central African Republic. These would be big goals in an easy environment, but when you live in a nation that has been beset with political instability and significant unrest with large portions of the population internally displaced, how much more challenging does reaching your goals become?

img_4739As an organisation, ACATBA is facing some significant challenges which are crippling their efforts. Primary amongst these are issues with their computers. They told us that a few days ago their accounting computer stopped working. An IT specialist from the US called Mike is working online to try to save the accounting database which will otherwise be lost.

Please thank God for Mike and ask him to help Mike recover the database. Ask God to provide ACATBA Finance Services with two new computers with the appropriate software and comprehensive training so that their staff can use them well.

During the last 5 years, ACATBA funding for projects has decreased and there has not been available finance for new computers. During the civil war in the Central African Republic, a significant proportion of ACATBA equipment was looted and some computers were just too old and died. ACATBA is in need of 24 new computers to resume the work of Bible translation in the Central African Republic.

Please pray for ACATBA projects in CAR, that God would provide the computers they need. Pray also for the 22 language communities with which ACATBA is working, that God would open a way for translation to move forward so that these communities can access and be transformed by God’s word in their language.

Find out other prayer needs for the Central African Republic.

Did you know that you can subscribe to receive prayer requests daily, by email?

*ACATBA stands for Association Centrafricaine pour la Traduction de la Bible et l’Alphabétisation (the Central African Association for Bible Translation and Literacy).

National baking week: Rosemary and time for God

October 13th, 2016 by Camilla

Next week is National Baking Week. In preparation, we’re opening up our regular spot for some creative prayer. We’d like to encourage you to pray for missionaries on the field – and make something special at the same time.

Use the prayers below as a guide and pray as God leads you for friends you know serving overseas, or for Wycliffe missionaries currently in training who are preparing to start service in the New Year.

Meet my favourite savoury scones – great for serving with soups, stews, or just on their own.

img_9261Rosemary and thyme scones with garlic and gruyere

350g self-raising flour

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

a good pinch of salt

85g butter

1 tbsp each of fresh rosemary and thyme, chopped

1 clove crushed garlic

150g gruyere or parmesan

284ml pot buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7/fan 200C. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a bowl. As you sift, praise God that he sifts and refines us as necessary, not to make our lives harder but for the sake of a better end product. Intercede on behalf of those serving overseas, and ask for God’s grace during trials (which can feel magnified in an overseas setting) and the strength to trust him.

Chop the butter into small cubes and rub into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Thank God for all the people God has placed in overseas workers’ lives to make them rich – families, friends, church communities, colleagues and more.

Add your flavourings and stir lightly. As you see your mixture become speckled with green throughout, thank God for the little things he fills people’s lives with that make all the difference – small encouragements from friends, a smile from a stranger on a difficult day, or waking up to the sound of birds in the morning.

Tip in the buttermilk and mix lightly and quickly to form a soft dough. Knead very briefly (don’t overwork it!), then roll out to 2cm thickness and cut into sixteen 5cm rounds (or make more, smaller ones). Thank God for his body, the church – that we are all part of the same body, working together under Christ. Church life can often be difficult in overseas settings – ask God to bless workers overseas with church communities where they can find fellowship, grow and be themselves.

Put your scones on a lined tray, and bake for 12-15 minutes, until risen and pale golden. Praise God for his provision for all those working overseas, in terms of financial and prayer support, accommodation and more. Enjoy your fresh-baked scones with a bowl of soup or a cup of tea!

Want to pray more? Check out the range of prayer resources on our website!

Bible stories come to life

October 10th, 2016 by Camilla

When Banko Myle met a paralysed woman in her Banna village, he told her a story he’d just learned.

It was the gospel story of Jesus healing the bleeding woman (Matthew 9).

‘Can that same Jesus heal me?’ she asked.

He assured her Jesus could — both from her physical sickness and from her sin. Banko prayed for her.

When he visited her the next day, she was trying to stand, supported with a stick. On the third day she was walking. By the fourth day she was serving; she prepared coffee for Banko.

banko-myleA week after first meeting Banko, the woman praised God.

‘I was despised and neglected for many years because I was paralysed, but God healed me,’ she said. ‘I believe in him and I follow him.’

Before he learned to tell Bible stories, Banko didn’t share the gospel message with unbelievers in Ethiopia. For him, preaching from the Amharic Bible was for Christians. But storytelling in people’s everyday language provides a bridge from evangelists to the Bible.

‘We don’t need to carry around a book to share the gospel with others. We carry the stories in our hearts. Whenever I meet someone, I can share stories and talk about the meaning.’

Banko also enjoys telling the creation story. When people learn about God, many wonder why he allows sickness and death. Banko gives them an answer they understand by explaining the fall of man and then he explains God’s solution through Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.

Banko has seen transformation in his own life. Now he’s watching God change his community by removing obstacles to faith. Where people used to seek healing from traditional healers, now many are praying and seeking insight from Scripture.

‘I have seen the power of God’s word in the Banna language,’ he says. ‘We used to think that the only person who could minister is the one who can read and write. But now everyone — even laypeople — are ministering and boldly sharing their faith.’

This story originally appeared on our partner The Seed Company’s website.

Intrigued? Find out how you could get involved.

David Brainerd (1718 – 1747)

October 9th, 2016 by Ruth

David Brainerd was not an archetypal candidate for a heroic and inspiring missionary. Before going into ministry, he had already failed at farming. On to university, where he was expelled in his second year. He was ill throughout his adult life, having contracted tuberculosis, which eventually killed him. He also struggled with depression, even praying for death on occasions. His first two years in mission saw only two converts from the Native American communities amongst which he worked.

On this day in 1747, he died aged only 29, at the home of the theologian Jonathan Edwards. Edwards looked beyond these continual difficulties. He was so encouraged by the commitment of Brainerd’s life, he decided to publish a biography, recounting trials, turned-down-offers of a more comfortable life and 3,000 miles covered on horseback.

This book of Edwards’, The Life of David Brainerd, became his most popular work. Since its publication, it has never been out of print. John Wesley prescribed its reading for every preacher. Brainerd’s life, as retold in the book, has been cited by many missionaries as influential in their lives, including Henry Martyn, William Carey, Adoniram Judson, Robert McCheyne and Jim Elliot.

His work at and expulsion from Yale were also major factors in the establishment of Princeton and Dartmouth Universities. And the Brainerd Hall is the only university building at Yale to be named after an expelled student. A lot of influence for a man who during his lifetime was seen to be a sickly and melancholic failure!

Brainerd’s life was not constrained by what he appeared to be. He knew that God invites anyone and everyone to participate in his work. God is doing amazing things around the world through Bible translation. You can participate by praying, giving, going or telling someone else about the 180 million people who still don’t have a single word of Scripture in their own language. Visit to find out more.

When tennis, fresh fruit and ??? were illegal

October 6th, 2016 by Camilla

The 1500s were a very different time. Most of England’s population lived in villages and made their living from farming. In 1512, tennis became illegal, along with a number of other games. For a brief time during the plague of 1569, it also became illegal to sell fresh fruit (presumably possession of the stuff was a lesser crime). What is perhaps even more surprising, however, is that it was illegal to translate the Bible into the modern English of the day.

william_tyndaleSo why are we talking about the 1500s? you ask. It’s because of this dapper-looking chap. He is in fact none other than William Tyndale (pronounced ‘tindle’). It’s the anniversary of his death, and if you’ve never heard of him, you’re in for a treat.

Tyndale is one of our heroes here at Wycliffe Bible Translators. Like us, he believed that people (specifically, the English) should be able to read the Bible for themselves, in their own language. The difference is, in his time – the early 1500s – this was considered a very dangerous idea. Even the Church of England was against it.

Even though the Bible had been translated into an earlier form of English (Middle English) before, by John Wycliffe, translating the Bible into modern English was strictly forbidden. Tyndale went ahead and did it anyway.

Tyndale started his work in London, and later relocated to Germany for safety reasons. Three years after he started his work, copies of Tyndale’s English New Testament were being smuggled into England.

Tyndale ended up being arrested for heresy, imprisoned, and eventually strangled and burned at the stake for his crime – but not before several thousand copies of his New Testament had been printed.

Want more? Read about our history as an organisation!

Tyndale completed his work for his countrymen hundreds of years ago. But there’s plenty of work still to do: there are over 1.5 billion people worldwide who don’t have access to the Bible in their language. Why not connect with a Bible translation project that’s happening right now!

Signs of transformation: a new prayer goody bag

October 6th, 2016 by Jo Johnson

Did you know that there are over 400 sign languages in the world? Not one of these languages has a complete Bible in it. Estimated at 70 million, the Deaf are thought to be one of the largest unreached people groups in the world.

These are sad statistics yet there are signs of encouragement too. Around the world translation is happening in around 40 sign languages. One of our partners, DOOR International, is involved in many of these projects and we have worked together to bring you a brand new goody bag to help you get involved, through prayer, in bringing God’s word to Deaf communities around the world.

Our goody bag Signs of transformation features great videos explaining how DOOR International is working with Deaf communities to translate God’s word into their heart languages. There are prayercasts to listen to and pray along with and lots of specific information to help you pray into the challenges that the teams face. We also include ‘dig deeper’ options which help you find out more.

Our goody bags are mobile device friendly. You can use them alone, with a few friends or in a bigger meeting. You can pray for individual projects, all those in a specific region or all the projects in one go. The choice is yours – pick and mix as God inspires you!

Check out Signs of transformation.

Want to find out even more about Bible translation for the Deaf? Check out DOOR International‘s website for more videos and inspiring stories.

Getting our game face on

October 3rd, 2016 by Camilla

Games are probably as old as time itself. So what’s new? Themes and formats of games are changing with the times, of course, and we’re also looking at a shift in attitudes regarding the value of games. Peter offers some insight into what’s going on in the area of games.

‘When was the last time you heard a lecture on the “theology of play” or a sermon about what games Jesus would play? If you are involved in children’s ministry or youth work then games and fun activities are probably a key part of your toolkit. But how much are they a standard part of the wider thinking of mission agencies and how much are they a part of the mission of God?

Play serves many functions in society not simply as a tool to bring about education and behavioural reinforcement, but as a natural way of exploring new ideas, developing skills and habits, and of relaxing and socialising.

Eminent theologians, sociologists, educationalists, psychologists, therapists, and marketing experts have written on various issues around what kinds of games are beneficial, how much screen time and outdoor play should be allowed or encouraged.

MissioMaze is the latest incarnation of one simulation idea now available as an iPhone app, in which the expectations on a Western missionary of a sending church are compared to the demands of life ‘on the field’.

Phone apps are also increasingly being used as tools for evangelism and discipleship, not because people waste time on games and so we must hook them with game-like tracts, but because people play games and games have value.

Gamification is a relatively new term that has become a multi-billion dollar industry. It’s basically the idea of using game elements in non-game environments. For game elements think points, badges, leaderboards, onboarding, leveling up, boss-fights, or simply the theme tune of a TV quiz show.

For non-game environments think work, exercise, dieting, housework, or Bible study. A couple of years ago the YouVersion Bible app started awarding virtual badges to people for finishing a study series. The Go-Tandem site and app is designed to help you in your spiritual development with a series of nudges and game-like elements used to track your progress.’

This story is adapted from a post by Peter Brassington which originally featured on Redcliffe’s Bible and Mission blog. Check out even more great stuff on digital engagement and games on Peter’s own blog.

Grinding to a halt

September 29th, 2016 by Jo Johnson

What do you find encouraging? We think that making progress in a task or towards a goal can be very encouraging and can help us press on. Conversely, watching others moving forwards when we ourselves are not can be very discouraging.

img_2475The latter is the situation in which our colleagues in the Koro-Waci project of Nigeria find themselves. They are part of the Koro cluster project where several teams from related languages are being trained together but each working on their own translation.

The Koro-Waci team has been reduced from two translators to one and it seems that one person is not easily able to work alone, so the project has effectively ground to a halt. This is very discouraging for all who are involved, not only for the translator but the community leaders and technical experts who support the project. Perhaps it is especially discouraging as the other teams in the cluster are making good progress with their translations.

Praise God for the progress being made in the Koro cluster as a whole and that the Koro-Waci project is fully funded.

Please pray for breakthrough in these ways:

  • for the right people and creative ways to engage with the Koro-Waci community
  • against discouragement and that the Waci church leaders will find renewed vision and enthusiasm for Bible translation
  • that the church can find the right people to be translators
  • that these people can be trained well in the right skills, knowledge and would above all have the enthusiasm and persistence to push through these challenges the project is facing.

Find out how to pray for the Koro cluster projects regularly.

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