Thankfulness In Every Language

how to simplify your homeschool

Does your family have in-jokes that only your family understands? Maybe you have a special memory that you share and think of or talk about often. Maybe it’s that story your grandfather has told so many times you lost count. (Have you noticed how it has changed a little over the years?)

thanksgiving in every language

How about favorite television or movie quotes? All someone has to do is say a few words, and your family is all on the same page. You all know exactly what is being referred to and can finish the quote without a moment’s hesitation.

I’m thankful for those jokes, memories, and quotes. They are just a few of the innumerable threads that hold my family close. I’m also reminded of how they function as a type of language all their own.

One time, my sister and I were part of a group playing a game where you had to get other people on your team to say a certain word, but you couldn’t say any of the words you normally associate with it (imagine trying to get someone to say “dog” without saying “canine,” “man’s best friend,” etc.) But she and I used our shared language to completely crush the other team!

For example, I could say the name of a pet dog, and she immediately knew where I was going. We communicated effortlessly because we spoke the same language, and it went beyond both of us speaking English. The other team knew “what” we were saying, but they didn’t “know” what we were saying. (They subsequently forbid us from ever playing on the same team again!)

That is somewhat like people who share a heart language that is not the dominant language in an area. They may be able to understand and communicate in the majority language, but it isn’t the language of their hearts. It’s not the language that thoughts go through their head in. It’s not the language they share their deepest thoughts with loved ones in. And it’s not the language they pray in.

It is humanly impossible to know at this moment exactly how many languages still exist in the world today that do not have a Bible translation. Some have portions of Scripture. Some do not have a single verse. Some languages are spoken by one hundred or so people in a location so remote that it will take a miracle to reach them. Other languages are spoken by millions.

Further complicating the ability to calculate an exact number is various methods of reporting and counting languages. Languages can have many different dialects, and some dialects are different enough to require Scripture translations in each one.

According to 2021 statistics gathered by the Joshua Project, 2,753 languages had an ongoing Bible translation project. Another 2,563 languages had no Scriptures and no translation in progress.1 According to Wycliffe Bible Translators, that represents 145 million people.2

Even if they have a Bible available in their community (which is often not the case due to persecution, poverty, or other factors), they cannot read it in the language of their hearts. They may be able to pick out a few words. With time and careful thought, they might be able to read a few verses. But they can’t read it in the way that best speaks to them.

The words sound like what someone who is outside their community would say.

Remember your family jokes, memories, and quotes? If you’re with someone else’s family, and they say something only they understand, how do you feel? You may not feel hurt, but you do feel a little separate. A little distance separates you, no matter how close your relationship with them may be.

thanksgiving in every language

When you feel outside or separated from the message and love of God, you can have eternal ramifications. Thankfully, God is on the move. He has worked in the hearts of His children for hundreds of years to translate His Word into the languages people need. We can show thankfulness in every language.

In the late 1990s, Bible translators estimated that Bible translation work would not begin for every remaining language until the year 2150. By 2021, thanks to a variety of developments, that estimate was cut by more than 100 years to the year 2030.33 Imagine all the souls who would have gone to eternity without ever hearing a single word about God in their heart language in those 120 years! Some have even embraced the challenge of meeting that goal before 2030.

This year, as we remember all we have to be thankful for, let’s remember . . .

  • We can thank God for giving us His Word in the language we best understand.
  • We can pray Psalms of thanksgiving with the psalmist. We can listen to everyone’s favorite Christmas cartoon character share what Christmas is all about from Luke 2.
  • We can pray that every person around the world will soon be able to join us in thanking and worshipping the Lord in the language of their hearts.

If you would like free resources to help your family remember to pray for ongoing translation projects and for people who do not have access to God’s Word in their heart language, there are many available. You may consider this free monthly prayer guide from Wycliffe Bible Translators.

I hope you’ll also enjoy this free printable I’ve created to help kids understand what a heart language is and to help them pray for people groups around the world. It is excerpted from Journey Through Asia, a full-year unit study that connects geography, history, science, and faith. It just debuted and is on sale at 50% off through December 31.

Thankfulness In Every Language Activity Pack

You can get the Thankfulness In Every Language Activity Pack by leaving your name & email. We’ll zip it over to your inbox.

Bonnie Rose Hudson’s heart’s desire is for every child to feel the love of God and know how special they are to Him. Her website,, exists to serve homeschoolers, home educators, and teachers around the world by creating practical resources that are fun, affordable, and easy to use. She has hundreds of resources in many subject areas for preschool through high school and releases an average of more than 100 new titles each year. You will also find resources there to help teach your children about missions and the persecuted Church and information about her early reader set in India, The Hidden Village, published by JourneyForth.

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  1. Statistics per the Joshua Project, “Bible Translation and Language Status” infographic found here accessed through the library of infographics at
  2. Wycliffe Bible Translators 2021-22 Media Kit available at The total number of languages that probably need translation work to begin was lower than Joshua Project’s numbers, but Wycliffe’s number represented at least 145 million people.
  3. Joshua Project, “Bible Translation and Language Status” infographic.

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