Pray for: The World

Key Stats

Religion & Geography
Category Statistic
Continent: World
Population: 7,874,965,731
% Urban: 56.2 %
Languages: 6,909
% Christian: 32.3 %
% Evangelical: 7.9 %
Largest Religion: Christian
% Largest Religion: 32.3 %
People Groups: 16,542

The World

Title: The World

Tier: 1

Type: world

Topic: Global Answers to Prayer

The amazing harvest of new believers continues across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. By contrast, the Church grows very slowly or even declines in the rest of the world. Although sometimes small in number, or away from public view, Christians now live and fellowship inside every country. World mission, migration, and globalization all spread the Church. It is not a European “white man’s religion”, but a global faith for all peoples. The majority of Christians today are Africans, Asians, and Latin Americans.

The World

Title: The World

Tier: 1

Type: world

Topic: Global Answers to Prayer

God’s people joined together to pray in greater numbers, and with greater focus, than ever before! Grassroots movements on the local, national, and international levels pray for their communities, for countries and people groups, and for important global issues (like the persecuted Church, children at risk, victims of human trafficking, others). Go and connect with others around the world to pray for the country, region, or issue you are passionate about!

The World

Title: The World

Tier: 1

Type: world

Topic: Global Answers to Prayer

The globalization of the Great Commission movement changed the face of missions. Many nations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America have mission-sending movements (like Ethiopia, Nigeria, Brazil, Philippines, South Korea). The Majority World nations together already send more missionaries than Western countries. This exciting 21st-century reality also introduces unique challenges. New missions movements will still make old mistakes, and workers from the Global North will now work alongside or even serve under the leadership of those from the Global South. International agencies see more recruits from the Majority World. Praise God for a global mission force that is more multi-cultural and multi-national than ever before!

The World

Title: The World

Tier: 1

Type: world

Topic: Global Answers to Prayer

The Church must find new ways of training, sending, and supporting missionaries, especially non-Western workers. Traditional Protestant mission agencies will continue to serve the global movement, but changes in global politics and economics require new models and patterns of mission work. Mission agencies increasingly work through partner networks, based on specific unreached areas or people groups. The networks share resources or even workers, and collaborate on initiatives. Mission-minded Christians serve overseas in a variety of vocations, whether relief and development, business, education, sports, the arts, or others. Some serve through agencies, but others go on their own, or hold looser connections with a mission fellowship. Groups that migrated all over the world (like Filipinos, Chinese, Koreans, Nigerians) have become stronger forces for mission as they see opportunities for Kingdom service abroad.

The World

Title: The World

Tier: 1

Type: world

Topic: The Unfinished Task - Religious Systems

Islam dominates a territory that stretches from West Africa, through the Middle East and Central Asia, down to Indonesia. Islam grew quickly, from 12.3% of humanity (1900) to 24.3% (2020). Most Muslim growth comes through high birth rates, but conversion plays a big part in West Africa, Indonesia, and the USA. But Islam faces significant internal crises. The violence and terror tactics of radical Islamists horrify the world, including many of the peace-loving Muslims who make up the majority of Islam. More Muslims than ever have turned to Jesus, but many Muslims decide to abandon religion altogether. Muslims have become a large minority inside many Western countries, but communities struggle with the social and spiritual effects of secular culture on their faith, especially among young people. Pray for the small streams of Muslims who come to Christ to become rushing rivers all over the world!

The World

Title: The World

Tier: 1

Type: world

Topic: The Unfinished Task - Religious Systems

People who identify as “non-religious” had the largest increase as a percent of humanity over the last century. This group was just 0.2% of the world’s population in 1900, but 11.3% in 2020. The majority are Chinese or European. As Communism declined in Europe and now declines elsewhere, many religions see new growth. But all over the world, people continue to leave their religious traditions. So far, Christianity has not effectively communicated the gospel to secular, postmodern cultures. Churches struggle against the spread of secular thought and values, and many leave the faith, especially the younger generation. Pray for wisdom and discernment to be combined with fearlessness and passion in how churches address these challenges.

The World

Title: The World

Tier: 1

Type: world

Topic: The Unfinished Task - Religious Systems

Hinduism remains strongly centred in India (90% of the world’s Hindus live there). But Hindu ideas became more popular across the world, through New Age thinking, yoga, transcendental meditation, the Hare Krishna sect, and popular Indian gurus (spiritual guides). Like Islam, Hinduism also has a violent side. Extremist Hindu groups actively persecute Christians and followers of other faiths in India and Nepal. The Indian sub-continent has the world’s highest concentration of unreached peoples. While the Church continues to grow rapidly among the poorest and the lowest castes, the main body of caste Hindus remains largely isolated from the gospel. Pray for Jesus to be revealed to the world’s billion-plus Hindus.

The World

Title: The World

Tier: 1

Type: world

Topic: The Unfinished Task - Religious Systems

Buddhism is the official religion of two Asian countries (Bhutan and Cambodia), accorded special status in another four, and is a significant minority in 10 others. In most places, followers actually mix Buddhism with Chinese religions, Daoism, Confucianism, and Shinto. After Communism lost strong influence in Asia, Buddhism began to grow again. The Dalai Lama of Tibet has made Buddhism more popular in Western countries. Only a small minority from Buddhist backgrounds have come to Jesus. The worldviews of Buddhists and Christians have great differences, and many Buddhists struggle to understand the gospel message in the ways Christians have tried to communicate it. Pray for a breakthrough.

The World

Title: The World

Tier: 1

Type: world

Topic: The Unfinished Task - Challenges for Prayer

Churches around the world must gain a vision for unreached peoples. “Peoples” — or ethne in New Testament Greek — are a basic unit in God’s plan to redeem all humanity. When we read the Old Testament, the Gospels, and Revelation, we see that disciples will come from among every people on earth. Pray that the Church might passionately pursue this end! Christian missions will have many strategies, approaches, and trends, but the concept of ethne always needs to be part of how the Church understands the Great Commission.

The World

Title: The World

Tier: 1

Type: world

Topic: The Unfinished Task - Challenges for Prayer

Most of today’s least-reached peoples have not heard the gospel because it remains so difficult to reach them! Many barriers (geography, language, culture, religion, politics, economics, spiritual darkness) leave them hidden or overlooked. These unreached groups generally will not hear the good news until someone reaches across the barriers to share and demonstrate the love of Christ, until a Church grows among them. Pioneer mission work is hard, expensive, and takes time. It requires great cultural understanding, commitment, and spiritual warfare through prayer. Many unreached peoples have small populations, and Christians know very little about them because they are so isolated, or because they appear to blend in with larger groups. Ask God to reveal Jesus to these smaller, more vulnerable groups. When Jesus commissions the Church, He assures the believers of God’s power and authority, and the presence of the Holy Spirit. The work before us is great, but not so vast as the greatness of God, who promises to go with us and empower us.

The World

Title: The World

Tier: 1

Type: world

Topic: The Great Commission

Missionary vision in the Church: An Acts 1:8 strategy is needed for every church and denomination. Amazing results have been achieved by a dedicated few. How speedily the world would be evangelized if all believers and every congregation obeyed the commands of Jesus in Acts 1 and believed His promises of enablement through the Holy Spirit! Pray for the awakening and growth of missionary concern. Ask for the Church to pray, give and go to the harvest fields, and request of the Lord the following:

  • The speediest possible completion of the goals given in the Great Commission by the Lord Jesus to His Church. Until the gospel of the Kingdom is indeed preached in all the world for a witness to all ethne, the end cannot come (Matt 24:14).
  • All churches to make obedience to the Great Commission their primary ministry objective. Biblically, this goes beyond mere evangelism to include the imperative of discipleship (“make disciples of all nations . . . teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” Matt 28:19-20 ESV). Only through the mobilized resources of the whole Church will we be able to bring the task to conclusion, or closure, in our generation.
  • All leadership training institutions and programmes to ensure that the centrality of mission to the purpose of the Church is a fundamental and essential core component of every course. To a large degree, failure to do this has caused centuries of neglect and marginalization of world evangelization in churches and agencies.
  • The multiplication of missionary prayer movements, the component of the Great Commission in which every Christian can actively participate. This must involve strategic intercession for mission workers, for specific teams and projects, for unevangelized peoples and for spiritual warfare to open the way for the gospel to bear much fruit among those the enemy wishes to isolate from the good news.
  • The adoption of unreached peoples by mission agencies, churches, Christian groups, prayer circles and individuals. Such adoption can be expressed through prayer and intercession, through advocacy and raising awareness and through the support of those working among said peoples.

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  3. This content is a curated selection of points from our book, Operation World. Find out more about it and all the rest of Our Publications ›

Content taken or adapted from Operation World, 7th Edition (2010) and Pray for the World (2015). Both books are published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.