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A Heart for Hungary Prayer Guide

Cover of printed prayer guide

Dear Prayer Partners,

Thank you for interceding with us for the Hungarian People Group. This guide leads you through 31 days of prayer. Each day contains a brief message, verse, and prayer request. The requests focus on three areas: bridges, barriers, and gatekeepers.

We have tried to remain true to the context and message of each verse as we quote it. Some do not directly address the topic, but do contain the idea. The verses are from the New American Standard Translation unless otherwise noted.

In addition to the daily prayer requests, we include a list of  Hungarian holidays. These are special times of reflection for the people, and we are praying especially at these times that the Lord would move in the heart of this nation.

Also included are the prayer requests from Operation World for May 28 and May 29, the international days of prayer for Hungary. On these days thousands of believers around the world will be joining together to lift these special prayer requests before the throne of God. We have not typed these out in their entirety for the sake of space and time, but have instead combined and restated them somewhat. Please see Operation World, 6th edition, page 304-307 for more information on Hungary and the full requests.

This online Heart for Hungary Prayer Guide has been created to provide easy navigation of the content. You may jump directly to each day's prayer request using the calendar of links.

Thank you again for standing in the gap for our people. We are praying for a powerful moving of the Holy Spirit, and we believe that He is already at work here to redeem millions.

In Him,

The Hungarian People Group Team International Mission Board, SBC

site mapDay 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6Day 7Day 8Day 9Day 10Day 11Day 12Day 13Day 14Day 15Day 16Day 17Day 18Day 19Day 20Day 21Day 22Day 23Day 24Day 25Day 26Day 27Day 28Day 29Day 30Day 31

To go to a specific day's prayer request, click the date on the calendar.  A faster-loading "Day at a Glance" version of the prayer guide is also available, showing each of the 31 days of prayer on a separate page.

Day 1       GatekeepersGuard

Gatekeepers are people in key positions of influence who can help or hinder the work.  Jesus sent his disciples out to proclaim the kingdom of heaven.  He told them to enter a house, greet it, and if a man of peace is there (Luke 10:6) to stay there.  These men of peace can help clear the way for the gospel to be spread.

Open the gates, that the righteous nation may enter.  The one that remains faithful.  Isaiah 26:2

Pray that God will reveal the men of peace that He has prepared to open the gates for people to find a right relationship with Him.

Parliament building

Day 2       National Leaders

National leaders are gatekeepers primarily because they set rules and guidelines for what work can be done in the country.  Few people meet them personally, but they can have an enormous effect on the ministries by the decisions they make.

… Offer acceptable sacrifices to God and pray for the life of the king and his sons.   Ezra 6:10

Pray that God will give the national leaders wisdom as they make decisions.

Day 3       Local LeadersDebrecen City Hall

Local leaders have more of a direct impact since much of the permission to work in an area or to hold special programs comes from them.  In larger towns and cities there is a mayor not only over the entire city, but also a mayor over each district.  Much of the business side of the work must be done through these local offices and through the local police departments.

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.   1 Timothy 2:1-2

Pray that good relations can be established with the local leaders, that the work will be advanced and not hindered.

Day 4       School Principals and TeachersSchool

Every school from preschool through university has an "igazgato," or principal (director). They have the final say about what happens in the school. Groups hoping to work with students, provide after-school activities, English clubs or even anti-drug programs must work directly with the principal. Teachers may request a group or program, but the igazgato must approve it.

But ... Jesus ... said to them, "permit the children to come to me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." Mark 10:14

Pray that good relationships can be nurtured with the school systems so that positive programs can be established.

Day 5       Building Superintendents

Apartment high-rise

High-rise apartment buildings house hundreds and sometimes even thousands of individuals. Many of the apartments are privately owned, but there is a superintendent to oversee the security, repair and business of the common areas and surrounding property. They have considerable authority over what happens on the grounds or in the buildings. Part of the security in some buildings is that there is a watchman to control who is coming and going.

Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices, they shout joyfully together; for they will see with their own eyes when the Lord restores Zion. Isa. 52:8

Pray that good relationships can be established so that the home Bible studies, prayer groups and house churches will not be hindered.

Religious statue

Day 6       Religious / Church Leaders

This is key in every part of the world. Each priest, pastor, bishop, etc., has a crucial role to play in establishing new work. Generally, if the leader is excited, the people will get excited. If the leader is indifferent, the people will be indifferent. Currently in Hungary there is a new and great spirit of cooperation among the denominations in new outreaches and new ministries.

Therefore we ought to support such men, that we may be fellow workers with the truth. 3 John 8

Pray that the spirit of cooperation will not only continue, but will grow, and that these established leaders would use their influence to encourage new outreaches and church starts.

Day 7       Small Shop Owners

Small shop

Zoning laws do not prevent businesses from entering into residential areas; these "mom and pop" shops have learned to survive by keeping close personal ties with the people that live in the surrounding community. Their "word of mouth" can many times open and close doors since they are in touch with a wide variety of people on a day-to-day basis.

So he [Paul] was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present. Acts 17:17

Pray that many shop owners and business people will come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and then use their strategic influence to reach others.

Day 8       Barriers


Barriers are those things in a culture that hinder the spread of the true gospel, spiritual renewal and/or church growth.

They must be broken down, overcome or circumnavigated so that each person has the opportunity to hear God's Word and the great news of Jesus Christ.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 2 Cor. 10:3-4

Pray that the barriers to the gospel be overcome so that people have the opportunity to accept God's grace and mercy shown at the cross.

Day 9       Mistrust of StrangersYoung people

Hungarians are very leery of people they don't know - not only foreigners but also other Hungarians. This makes it difficult to establish new relationships and earn the right to share your faith with others. It takes time for people to establish and build friendships. Once they know how much you really care, they will listen to what you have to say.

"And a stranger they simply will not follow, but they will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers." John 10:5

Pray that the Hungarian people will come to hear and follow the voice of the One who cares for them more than any other can.

Day 10       Mistrust of Institutions

Parliament guard

Due to a long history of broken promises and misplaced hope, the Hungarians are very hesitant to trust any type of institution. At each election they hope for a system that will be better, but since corruption is accepted as the norm at all levels of society it is difficult to make any real changes, and the mistrust remains. This mistrust has carried over to the church and its institutions, which makes it difficult for believers to share their faith.

Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation. How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God. Ps. 146:3, 5

Pray that the Hungarians will realize that true hope comes from God, who changes people from the heart, and that they will place their trust in Him.

Day 11       PrivacyPrivacy fence

Hungarians greatly value their privacy. Residential neighborhoods are lined with row upon row of steel fences, guard dogs, heavy locks and sturdy gates. Entrance into a person's yard is by invitation only. They tend to guard their private lives just as much or more than their private property.

How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? Rom. 10:14a

Pray that this barrier can be overcome so that they can hear the good news of Jesus Christ, while at the same time having their privacy respected.

Day 12       The Building is the Church

Church building

The majority of the people think of the church as a building. In addition to the requirement of owning a building, there is also generally a minimum number of members necessary for it to be considered a "real church." The scriptural focus of the believers being the Body of Christ and thus the real church has been lost.

You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Pet. 2:5

So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one with another. Rom 12:5

Pray that the church in Hungary will regain its focus on being the Body of Christ and that this will begin to permeate the culture.

St. Matthias

Day 13       Ritualism

Christianity has been reduced by many to a set of rituals rather than a true and vibrant relationship with the Savior. Many resent the implication that they need anything outside of what they already have. They cannot picture a Jesus who calls them "friends" and wants to spend time with them and draw them close to Himself. They do not see past the acts that they perform for their worship, to a loving, personal relationship with God.

God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. John 4:24

Pray that the church will be revived to vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ and that this would spread throughout the people.

St. Matthias altar

Day 14       Traditional Structures

The churches of all denominations in Hungary have developed their own traditions and their own way of doing things. When they were first developed they met the needs of the people and brought them closer to the Lord. Now all the denominations are struggling, and most are declining in attendance, if not in membership. They are finding it difficult to change their structure to meet the needs of a changing society.

To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. 1 Cor 9:22

Pray that the churches will do whatever it takes to win the lost, without compromising the truth of Scripture.

Day 15       "Anti-Fanatic" FeelingsLady in pew

Since religion is considered a private matter, people who speak too much about God or Jesus Christ are often seen as fanatics or assumed to be cult members. This has hindered many from sharing the truths in scripture for fear of being labeled or alienating others. However, many church leaders have been asking us to pray that they and their congregations would boldly proclaim the gospel.

And pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel...that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly as I ought to speak. Eph. 6:19, 20b

Pray that believers will openly and boldly share the great mystery of the gospel without alienating others.

Day 16       Bridges


Bridges are indigenous (naturally occurring) means into the community, which can open up opportunities to share the gospel. Almost anything can be used as a starting point for discussion so that the truth about Jesus Christ can be presented.

And Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, "Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, 'TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.' What therefore you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you." Acts 17:22-23

Pray that the natural bridges into the culture can be used to further the Kingdom of God.

Day 17       A National Christian Heritage

St. Stephen, first Christian king of Hungary

Christianity came to this area during the time of the Roman Empire. The Hungarians adopted Christianity in the year 1000 and consider themselves to be a Christian nation. However, for the vast majority, their faith has been reduced to a set of rituals that have lost all real meaning.

For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6

Pray that Hungarians will come to know the personal salvation that is in Jesus Christ.

Day 18       Respect for the Scriptures


Polls indicate that most Hungarians believe the Bible to be the Word of God and have some knowledge of it. Few, however, spend much time reading it and even fewer spend time in quality study.

So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. Isa. 55:11

Pray that more Hungarians will develop a deep interest in the Scriptures and begin to study the Word of God so that it can bring about God's desire of salvation.

Day 19       Family

Wedding Photo by Stephen Eric Wood/DHD Multimedia Library

Hungarians maintain a strong sense of family. Government work programs during past administrations forced many to relocate and caused the close ties of extended family and friends to be weakened. However, Hungarians strove to keep close to immediate family. Many families still care for elderly parents or grandparents at home. Families get together for birthdays, Christmas, and other holidays. They actively work at keeping family relationships strong, and the extended family ties are strengthening.

He [Andrew] found first his own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which translated means Christ). John 1:41

Pray that the Hungarians' desire for strong families will lead to finding a strong relationship with Jesus Christ.

Friends in conversation

Day 20       Relational

"It is not what you know but who you know." This statement is true in Hungary as much as anywhere else. It is rare to call a repairman without calling a friend to see if he knows someone who knows someone.... Information flows along these same chains of connections. They tend to believe only the people they know.

...But he [Jesus] said to him, "Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how he had mercy on you." Mark 5:19

Pray that the Good News of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will also flow through these chains of connections.

Day 21       Desire for Closeness


Even though the Hungarians are relationship oriented, forced relocation programs by past administrations severed many emotional ties and created an environment of mistrust. A recent Gallup poll showed that more than seventy percent of Hungarians say they do not have a best friend. In their small circle of friends they continue to search for at least one person they can open up their heart to.

No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends... John 15:15a

Pray that the Hungarians will come to know Him who is the best friend of all, and that the need for human friendship will be satisfied through His church.


Day 22       Hospitality

In a Hungarian home you will never go hungry. They enjoy entertaining their friends, families, co-workers, etc. They take great pride in their treatment of guests in the home.

And day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart.
Acts 2:46

Pray that the great Hungarian hospitality can be used to draw people together for home Bible study and worship.

Day 23       Small GroupsStudy group

Hungarians like to study in small groups. This starts almost as soon as they enter school, and continues on through the university years. Many adults may join a small group to learn another language or about some other interesting topic. Groups such as these are excellent for teaching the Bible and making it very real in a person's life.

And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. Acts 5:42

Pray that many small group Bible studies can be established, and that many of these will develop into spiritually strong churches.


Day 24       Education / Knowledge

Hungarians hold education in high regard and enjoy learning for learning's sake. Their talk shows are generally information-oriented, where people can learn about science, education, politics, etc. There are even classes to learn foreign languages on television. The Hungarians love to learn.

Wise men store up knowledge...Proverbs 10:14a

Pray that the Hungarians' quest for knowledge will lead to a pursuit of the Scriptures "and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge..." Eph. 3:19a

Day 25       Intellectual

Discussion at coffee shop

Hungarians tend to enjoy discussing a variety of topics and have a very intellectual approach to life. Even though religion is considered a private matter, discussions on the topic of God and faith without being pushy are acceptable. Most will join in and present their view and listen to what others have to say.

"Come now, and let us reason together," says the Lord... So he [Paul] was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present. Isa. 1:18a, Acts 17:17

Pray that God can use the Hungarian intellectual approach for them to come to know the Scriptures and experience the God who inspired them.

Day 26       Poetry, Stories and Tales


Along with the Hungarians' intellectual approach to life, they have the ability to write poetry that when read aloud can make people cry who do not understand a word of the language. History is mixed with fascinating stories of heroes and villains, and sometimes it is hard to tell which is which. Fact and fiction are equally important to the culture. They also have a rich history of fictional tales that is entirely their own and not brought in from other countries or cultures.

Jesus always used stories and illustrations like these when speaking to the crowds. In fact, He never spoke to them without using such parables. Mat. 13:34 (NLT)

Pray that the cultural love of poems and stories will be used creatively to spread truths about Jesus Christ.

Day 27       MusicMusicians

Hungarians love music, all types of music, from classical to rap. Their history and hopes are contained and expressed in songs. This is one bridge that seems universal, crossing regional, ethnic and age barriers, crossing from east to west, from city to country and back again.

But Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's chains were unfastened. Acts 16:25-26 (Bold added)

Pray that music of the believers will be used so that the Hungarians can find the freedom that comes in Jesus Christ.

Hero Square centerpiece, Budapest

Day 28       Visual Arts

From sculptures to paintings to photo exhibits, even down to the graffiti on the walls, life is expressed through art. In every Hungarian city and town, no matter how small, there will be a large variety of statues reflecting their history. Both the triumphs and tragedies are on display. Art is one place where the typically reserved Hungarian can express his innermost feelings.

And let every skillful man among you come, and make all that the Lord has commanded. Exodus 35:10

Pray that the visual arts can be used to communicate God's great love for the Hungarian people.

May 28  Prayer Requests from Operation World in conjunction with the international world days of prayer for Hungary

Day 29       Craftsmanship/Traditional Arts

Traditional uniforms

The traditional crafts and handwork passed down from one generation to the next keep the people connected to their history. Each region has its own colors, designs and themes to illustrate their uniqueness and family heritage within the Hungarian culture. The embroidery, lace making, woodwork, pottery and traditional clothes make the statement, "this is who we are."

And I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, to make artistic designs...that they may make all that I have commanded you. Exodus 31:3, 4a, 6b

Pray that the creative arts can be used to lead people to the Creator.

May 29  Prayer Requests from Operation World in conjunction with the international world days of prayer for Hungary

Day 30       Humor

Girl queen

Hungarians love jokes and humorous stories. Even though they are known for having a pessimistic view of life, they also love to laugh, sometimes laughing at their own pessimism. Their favorite humor tends to be puns. They love to manipulate the language where things have multiple meanings. A lot of intellectual humor is used with references to scholars and artists of the past.

A joyful heart is good medicine...Prov. 17:22a
...A cheerful heart has a continual feast. Prov. 15:15b

Pray that appropriate humor can be used to open doors and provide non-invasive ways to share the gospel with the people.

Day 31       

Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified... 2 Thess. 3:1

Thank you to each one who has prayed through this guide for Hungary. As we close out this season of prayer we ask you to lift us up, as well as the others who have come to serve here. Signs of revival are beginning to be seen, and God is working in a mighty way. Opposition is of course coming as well. This is nothing new. Pray that God will give all of us a steadfast spirit as well as a spirit of love and unity.

And may the grace of the Lord be with you all and to Him be the Glory forever and ever. Amen.

Significant Hungarian Holidays

Jan. 1New Year’s DayNew Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are celebrated with traditional festive parties.
Mar. 151848 Revolution DayRemembering those who died during an attempt to break free from the control of Austria.
Easter Sunday and MondayCelebrated by most with the Catholic calendar.
May 1Labor DayDay to recognize the Hungarian workforce.
Aug. 20St. Stephen's DayThe largest celebration of the year commemorates the founding of the Hungarian State in 1000 AD. St. Stephen was Hungary's first king.
Oct. 231956 Revolution DayCommemorates the short-lived uprising against Russian occupation.
Nov. 1All Saints DayCelebrated with candlelight processions in the cemetery. In strong Catholic families it is a day of prayer for the souls of the deceased. (not official)
Dec. 6St. Nicholas DayThis is the day St. Nicholas comes leaving candy in the boots of good children and twigs for the bad. (not official)
Dec. 24Christmas EveThis night is reserved for the immediate family and is seen as the main celebration.
Dec. 25 & 26Christmas DaysThese days are typically spent visiting extended family.

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