International (MNN) — Approximately 1.5 billion people still don’t have a full Bible in their heart language. Some of them may know a trade language, but it’s not the same as talking to God in the language they grew up with. They don’t want to pray in the language they barter in; they want to greet God in the language in which they heard their mother say goodnight.
Beth Matheson, Women of the Word writer for Wycliffe Bible Translators USA, says that’s why prayer matters alongside Bible translation.
“At Wycliffe, our goal is to see everybody in the world be able to have an understanding that God speaks their language, that He wants to hear from…the depths of their heart in a language that is most comfortable for them.
“The way they’re going to know He speaks their language is by having His words in a language that speaks to their hearts.”
Wycliffe recently did a series on prayer, and Matheson wrote an article on prayer and brokenness for the series.
Since the fall of Adam and Eve, every human experience this side of Heaven has been marred by brokenness — the pain of suffering, injustice, failure, death, heartbreak, addiction, fear.
Matheson says our brokenness doesn’t just alter relationships with ourselves and other people.
“There are times that fallenness and brokenness extend to our interactions with God.”
“I’ve talked with women that feel like they don’t have the permission or the ability to really bring what is the deepest and darkest parts of themselves…and lay those out in the open before God. Or they feel like they have to approach Him in some certain formulaic way,” she says.
As believers learn to pray — especially those discovering God’s Word in their own language for the first time — there is freedom in learning to approach God as a loving Father.
“We don’t have to clean ourselves up to have a conversation with Him. We don’t have to phrase things in a particular way to catch His ear. It’s not about convincing Him to do something. Prayer isn’t about performing. It’s not about trying to twist His arm into doing something that we want Him to do,” Matheson says.
“Prayer is about building a relationship with God… as whole people, including the parts of ourselves that maybe we would rather not bring into the light.”
Please join Wycliffe in praying for every nation, tribe, and tongue to know the joy of approaching the Lord in their brokenness. Ask God to accelerate Bible translation efforts so more people will come to know Him.
To learn more about Wycliffe’s ministry, click here!
Header photo courtesy of Samuel Martins via Unsplash.