Each year at Gold Hill, we set a prayer focus for the year, praying for an ‘Unreached People Group’ in the world – people who have not had access or the opportunity to hear or respond to the Good News of Jesus. This year, our focus is on the Deaf.

Imagine, for a minute, that when you’re born, your family are unable to communicate with you in your language and you’re unable to understand theirs. (90% of D/deaf children are born into hearing families.) Imagine as you grow up that your parents need to pay large sums of money to be able to learn your language whilst you remain unable to learn theirs. Imagine that, in order to access education, you need to either travel a long distance or attend boarding school to be with others who speak your language. And within your local family community, no-one else your age is able to communicate with you. Imagine never being able to have a doctor’s appointment, meeting, telephone conversation, therapy session, meeting with your child’s teachers, emergency dental appointment or any other interaction without a third-party there to interpret for you. Imagine decisions being made for you where you have no say in them, even as an adult. What you’re imagining is a very small insight into the life of a Deaf person.

Now imagine trying to introduce the gospel to a Deaf person.

If your first thought was around assistive technologies like hearing aids and cochlear implants, these are not always suitable or chosen by people who are Deaf. The Deaf community has a rich language and heritage and, whilst some are able to use assistive technology, others are not and even if they were, they would not see themselves as disabled but privileged to be part of such an amazing community and culture. And to expect someone to conform to your spoken language in order to belong or be included or to hear about the love of Jesus does not value them as the deeply loved child of God that they are, created in His image.

There are around 135,000 Deaf people in the UK and between 30 and 70 million worldwide. As such, they are one of the largest unreached people groups in the world. Focussing for a minute on the UK, there is no Bible in British Sign Language (BSL.), although there is one in progress, through the BSL Bible Translation Project. BSL Bible – The Bible in British Sign Language. Imagine not being able to read the Bible in your own language. Whilst some in the Deaf community are able to access English in written form, this is not true across the board. If the Bible isn’t available to you and the person in a church speaking about and from the Bible doesn’t speak a language you can access, how can you learn about the love of Jesus?

Whilst this focus is on the Deaf (signing) community, we are widening the prayer focus to also include those who are deaf and/or hard of hearing, or deafblind. To clarify, those who are Deaf in the UK are sign language users. Those who are deaf and/or hard of hearing have made the choice to use assistive technologies to access sound and some will sign and/or lipread as well.

To give some context:

  • 1 in 5 adults in the UK are D/deaf or hard of hearing. That’s around 12 million and rising.
  • 90% of deaf babies are born into hearing families. There are around 63,000 deaf children under 18 in the UK currently. 10% of these families go on to learn BSL.
  • Deafness is the third most common disability in the world – but you probably wouldn’t be able to spot them in a crowd.
  • 40% of D/deaf people have other additional needs.
  • D/deaf and hard of hearing people are 60% more likely to have poor mental health than hearing people.
  • D/deaf and hard of hearing people need scripture available in their heart language and church community to be interpreted in order to even begin to access faith. Access is not the same as belonging.

Where can you find out more?

We’re going to explore this much more together as a Church over this year. In the meantime, the links at the bottom of the page may give you some insight as to what life is like for someone who is D/deaf or hard of hearing.

For prayer:

  • Pray for our hearts to be stirred to action.
  • Pray for an acceleration of the Bible being translated into BSL.
  • Pray for access to learning sign language to be wide open and without cost, removing barriers to families and people in the community who would love to learn this rich language.
  • Pray for open hearts and open minds, that we might be willing to move beyond our own levels of comfort in order to create community for those in need of experiencing the love of Jesus towards them.
  • Pray that whoever needs to hear the love of Jesus through those who belong to Gold Hill would find us willing to first show them that love lived out towards them, whatever the personal cost may be to us.

Helpful resources for further information

Gov.UK Research and Analysis. Saleem: profoundly deaf user
Diversity and Inclusion - Video Testimonies
UK Council on Deafness
Twinkl - Children's teaching resources on Deaf Awareness
National Deaf Children's Society
Signs of God. British Sign Language in Christian settings
DeafblindUK. Deafblindness is the loss of sight and hearing to the point where your communication, mobility and ability to access information are impacted. It affects everyone differently
Evangelical Alliance. Definition of Deaf and deaf communities
The Conversation. Deaf Christians often struggle to hear God’s word, but some find meaning in the richness of who they are
HearingLikeMe.com Are you hearing? If yes, have you ever imagined what it's like to have a hearing loss?
The BSL Bible Translation Project aims to translate the Bible into British Sign Language so the UK Deaf community can have scripture in their heart language.

Navigating deafness in a hearing world | Rachel Kolb | TEDxStanford

Embracing our Limitations | Justin Osmond | TEDxRexburg

Going deeper prompts for the Deaf People prayer prompts of 4-8 December 2023


04.12.23 Monday – During this year, has God been asking you to respond in some way to the needs of the Deaf community in the UK? Perhaps you would like to learn some Sign Language signs? Or be more intentional to care and adjust your position so you can be in a quieter location and look at the deaf person when you are talking with them? The biggest thing we can do is to be friends with people who are D/deaf and make space for them in our friendship groups.

Dear Lord, Help me to make room in my heart and adjust my position toward Deaf people who you bring into my life or send me out to find for your life. Amen.


How they are reaching out to Deaf People.  Pray for them. Learn a few signs.

Go! Sign – Outreaching to the Deaf Christians community (gosign.org.uk)

For insight into how Deaf people may see the Bible & church, see Deaf Christians often struggle to hear God’s word, but some find meaning in the richness of who they are (udayton.edu)




05.12.23 Tuesday – Deaf Ministries International (DMI) work in 21 countries, 180 churches, 10 schools, 700 students, 70 employment projects have 5,000 church members. They share the gospel of Christ, provide quality education, and establish employment opportunities. All of DMI’s work is conducted using the local sign language, giving the Deaf opportunities that the rest of the world takes for granted.


Dear Lord, Thank you for Deaf Ministries International. Help me to echo their prayer requests (see below) in my life and as you call and equip me to be an answer to them.  Amen.



DMI Educational programme in Upper Egypt

Home page: Deaf Ministries International

Pray Points: Prayer – Deaf Ministry International

2022-Annual-Review-A4.pdf (deafmin.org)

2021-Annual-Review-A4-Single-pages-WEB.pdf (deafmin.org)



06.12.23 Wednesday – Human Rights Watch defends the rights of Deaf people in close to 100 countries worldwide, spotlighting abuses & bringing perpetrators to justice.


Sign language allows people who are deaf or hard of hearing to enjoy rights just like anyone else, they are able to learn, work, and socialize.  People who are deaf or hard of hearing are often excluded from their communities, denied equal access to basic services and face stigma and violence. Students who are deaf are uprooted from families and communities because their school doesn’t offer instruction in sign language. For the Deaf community, sign language is not simply a means of communication; it’s crucial for securing basic rights and it’s a part of belonging to a community.


Dear Lord, Thank you for a Benedictine monk called Pedro Ponce de Leon in the 1500s who developed signs to help him educate deaf Spanish students.  Thank you that his sign language paved the way for the first formal sign language to be developed by Charles Michel de l’Eppe in the 1700’s. Thank you Lord for making a ways for all people to be reached. mAy it be the same for your church and all nations. In Jesus name, Amen.



For the Deaf Community, Sign Language Equals Rights | Human Rights Watch (hrw.org)

See this link for an article 23.9.22 for the International Day of Sign Languages.

  • 71 countries that recognize sign language as part of their legal framework
  • Approx 300 sign languages in the world.
  • Around 70m people are deaf globally, many of whom identify proudly as members of the Deaf community. Deaf culture is diverse and rich.


07.12.23 Thursday – Indonesia & Mental Health


Use Herbert Klein’s tour to Indonesia to inform your prayers further.  Note: Remark!’s main objective is to reduce isolation within what is already a marginalised and isolated community.


Dear Lord, We thank you for Herbert Klein. Thank you for his passion for deaf people in Indonesia far away from where he lives. My his efforts by rewarded by deaf people given them the support they need to thrive from the central government and through this support many may hear about the good new of Jesus Christ. Amen.





08.12.23 Friday – Learn a new language


Dear Lord, Help us seek you with open hearts, minds & ears.  May we listen to & understand Your Word & speak it to others. Work directly in & through us, as we follow what You are doing, to bring your heavenly kingdom to earth.  Help us learn from Jesus, & open physical or spiritually closed ears or mouths, as Jesus did with such sensitivity, in Mark 7:31-37, responding to the Holy Spirit, with each individual we meet. Amen



  • Email hcull@btinternet.com to receive either a one-off list with key information including BSL workshop Gold Hill July 2024 or ask to be put on a group email list. Let me know anytime you wish to unsubscribe.
  • See Signs of God – Summer Schools are for those with BSL1 upwards. The next one is in 2025.
  • Remark! – Empowering Deaf People see this link for a free sign language class