Whether you’ve grown up in the church or not, you have more than likely heard about the 10/40 window. When I was younger I could never figure out what it meant though, which led me to believe that it was some deeply spiritual terms about the world. I learned, however, that it’s much more simple than that. So in this post, I’ll take some time to thoroughly explain the basics as well as some important facts.
What is the 10/40 window? The 10/40 Window is a term created in 1990 by Christian missionary and Partners International CEO Luis Bush to denote the world’s most unreached people groups. These unreached peoples are collected in 69 countries in North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, which lands on the map between 10 degrees north and 40 degrees north latitude.
Above is the most basic answer that provides the wide scope of what it is, but let’s go a little deeper into exactly what this means.
The Resistant Belt
The 10/40 window also often goes by another name, the resistant belt. Why is this?
In the 10/40 window or resistant belt, you find three of the world’s largest religions, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. It is in these areas that the highest percentage of followers of these religions are concentrated.
The Open Doors World Watch List also counts the top 10 most dangerous countries for Christians in the world within the 10/40 Window.— The Gospel Coalition
The majority of these countries are closed countries. This means that evangelism of the Christian faith is against the law. In some countries, if you are caught or suspected of trying to proselytize you will be deported or imprisoned. In other countries, however, proselytizing or even merely being a Christian can get you tortured and killed.
Additionally, if you do any sort of studying on these religions, you will quickly find that it is not merely a religion or practice but rather it is grafted in the culture; to renounce one of these religions is to renounce heritage, family, social standing, etc.
There are many other factors that play a part, but in all, this window holds the highest percentage of unreached people groups––people who have never had the chance to hear the Gospel.
Home to the Most Unreached People Groups
If this part of the world is so resistant to the Gospel message, why do Christians spend so much time trying to infiltrate it?
There are several reasons. One is that Jesus never said, “Go to the easy places.” No, He said, “Go into all the earth….” Not only this, but a staggering 61% of people living in the 10/40 window have never even had the chance to hear the Gospel. And this statistic is put into perspective when we understand that two-thirds of the world’s population — more than 4.4 billion people belong to the 10/40 window.
Approximately 61% of the individuals in the 10/40 Window live in an unreached people group. The 10/40 Window is home to some of the largest unreached people groups in the world such as the Shaikh, Yadava, Turks, Moroccan, Arabs, Pashtun, Jat and Burmese.— Joshua Project
This is one of many reasons that Christians focus so heavily on the 10/40 window; these are most certainly difficult places filled with people who are lost and confused, believing in millions of gods, or a god who is not relational, or an enlightenment that is attained from denying every natural worldly pleasure, or any other various religion that jumps in the mix. Yet, we have been given the power of the Holy Spirit to bring these people into the arms of God.
You might think that there are people in America who have yet to hear the Gospel message, but it is important to grasp the difference between unevangelized and unreached.
Those who have never heard of Jesus in places like America and other nations that are saturated in the Gospel are classified as “unevangelized,” not unreached. Unreached people are those who have never heard the Gospel and couldn’t, even if they wanted to.
This means that 61% of 4.4 billion people have never had the chance to hear about Jesus, nor are they able to.
That is 2,684,000,000 (over 2 billion) people. This is massive.
Home to the Poorest People in the World
Another reason we make it our mission to reach out to those living in the 10/40, is because it is home to the majority of the world’s poor, and not just poor, but impoverished.
Of the poorest of the poor, more than eight out of ten live in the 10/40 Window. On average, they exist on less than a few hundred dollars per person per year.— Joshua Project
This points to a great need for missionaries and Christians to go and transform these nations just as Jesus commissioned us to do.
Five Things to Pray for
These are the main things to know when looking into the 10/40 window. Perhaps you feel called to go to a country found within the 10/40, knowing these stats and facts will help you to plan and strategize.
Additionally, I have put together a list of things to pray for in the 10/40 window.
One: Pray for Missionaries From All Over the World
Pray that God will raise up missionaries from all over the world to penetrate the darkness of the 10/40 Window.
In this present era, Americans are becoming more and more unwelcome in foreign countries, especially in those of the 10/40 window. So, it is important that we partner with Christians of other nations that will be far more effective in reaching those in countries that are not welcoming to Americans.
Two: Pray for Stewardship and Strategy
Missions is not just prayer and blindly jumping from place to place; instead, missions is prayer partnered with strategy.
If there is anything I have learned during my time studying missions at Bethany Global University, it is that understanding the culture you’re endeavoring to enter is key.
Going into a country without taking care to learn the culture is setting you up for great difficulty. The most important thing is to be as effective in sharing the Gospel as possible. This means we need to pray that Christians take care to steward our calling well; to study, learn, and understand the cultures of these closed nations.
Three: Pray for Open Hearts
The 10/40 Window, as we have discussed, is closed off to the Gospel. We need to earnestly pray that the people who inhabit these 69 countries would have softened hearts ready to hear and receive Christ.
Four: Pray for Open Doors
Pray that God would open doors for Christians to enter nations belonging to the 10/40 Window.
It can be extremely difficult to enter another country, let alone move there. So pray that God would give us great opportunities to enter these nations and spread the Gospel.
Five: Pray for Safety and Boldness
There are missionaries and Christians in various countries throughout the 10/40 and many are persecuted and killed every day. Pray that they would be protected while spreading the Gospel and that the glory of God would be greatly declared through their testimony.
In addition to this, pray that the issue of safety would not deter anyone from rising up. Pray that in America, as well as all nations, that God would give us His bold and mighty heart for the nations. Also, pray that Christians all over the world would count the cost and go forward in bringing the lost to Christ.