Pentecost Sunday kicks off 33-day challenge to pray for Gospel-destitute areas of the world

A man reading the Bible.
A man reading the Bible. | Getty images/stock photo

Pastors David Platt and Francis Chan have joined a collective of more than 50 Christian ministries in launching a 33-day prayer challenge on Sunday, the Day of Pentecost, to raise awareness for the one-third of the world’s population that is still without access to the Bible, the church and other believers.

The 1:11 Prayer Challenge, which will begin with a Facebook Live event on Sunday at 1:11 p.m. in each U.S. time zone, will ask Christians across the U.S. to pause at 1:11 p.m. each day for 33 days to pray for the “third of us” who have no access to Jesus.

“What many people don’t understand is that ‘unreached’ is not the same as unsaved or even unevangelized,” explained Marv Newell, executive director of the Alliance for the Unreached, which is hosting the event as part of the “A Third of Us” movement. “The vast majority of people in communities across North America are reached with the Gospel, meaning that they have access to the Good News in their language in some form or another.”

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Newell continued: “But this is not true for the 3.2 billion people living in Gospel-destitute areas of the world. They are considered unreached because they have no access to the Good News. They still await the opportunity to hear the message of Jesus for the first time, and based upon the number of professing believers in their community, it is extremely unlikely they will meet or know a Christian personally.”

Pastor Francis Chan with the 'Three Line Symbol' – representing a third of humanity with the “three no’s”: no Bible, no church, and no other believers.
Pastor Francis Chan with the "Three Line Symbol" – representing a third of humanity with the “three no’s”: no Bible, no church, and no other believers.

Throughout the day on Sunday, the online event will feature video chats with Platt, the lead pastor of McLean Bible Church in Vienna, Virginia, and New York Times bestselling author Chan.

“I cannot imagine having to face God apart from Christ,” the alliance quotes Chan as saying. “So how can I allow other people to do this? If there are people who haven’t even heard — God, give me a desire for them. Give me a love for them.”

Participants will be asked to draw or place the “Three Line Symbol — I II — somewhere visible, for example, on their hands or in their profile pictures on social media with the hashtag #athirdofus. The three lines represent a third of humanity with the “three no’s” — no Bible, no church, and no other believers.

“This is a conversation starter to talk about the movement and invite others to join the 1:11 Prayer Challenge,” says the alliance, which includes Bibles for the World, FEBC, Door International, Ethnos 360, Frontier Ventures, Joshua Project, Missio Nexus, Mission Network News, Operation Mobilization, Seed Company, TransWorld Radio, World Mission and ZimZam Global.

“Someone came and presented the Gospel to us and gave us the opportunity to be reconciled to God, to have a relationship with God, and to have our lives transformed by the Living God. Why would we hold that back from millions of others?” said Jon Fugler, board chair of the Alliance for the Unreached. “So awareness is our focus. Our campaign is designed to help spread awareness, through our social connections, simply and quickly.”

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