Translating Prayer

Join the global team in prayer to bring The Chosen around the world.

Wendi Lord, PhD
May 20, 2024

“The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16b, ESV)

Here at Come and See, I have the great honor of overseeing the translation and localization efforts for The Chosen episodes. We have a stable of incredible volunteers who give their time to ensure our translations are linguistically accurate, theologically sound, and culturally relevant. Every day, I get to connect with these global teams to discuss the words and meanings of specific scenes. There are some tricky lines to localize!

For example, in Season 2, Episode One, we have our first reference to “Creepy John.” The word “creepy” can have multiple meanings in other languages.

In Season 3, Episode Two, Atticus exclaims, “Quintus is going to come out of his sandals when he sees this!” How do you translate that?

And do you remember the scene in Season 3, Episode Four where Simon and Gaius sit beside a broken cistern, commiserating together while tying knots in a rope?

“I’ll tie ‘em,” Gaius says to the experienced fisherman, “and then you can just tell me what [the knots] are called.” 

And so as Gaius ties the knots, there’s Simon, saying, “Turn-hook. That’s the double-stopper. That's the snake-in-the-hole.”

Our teams had to wrestle to get those terms just right.

But no one has ever asked me how to translate prayer.

Most prayers are offered in words, but they transcend languages and cultures. No matter where you are or what language(s) you speak, you can talk with God and you don’t need a translator or quality review processes. You can tell God how you’re feeling—what you’re excited about or daunted by. You can ask for health and provision. You can even ask him to help you make decisions or to guide your work. Prayer is easy and costs nothing. What’s more, we’re encouraged in the book of James to believe that our prayers have great power.

It’s quite a gift we’re given in prayer. 

So let’s talk about two general ways we can pray and unleash this gift and its power for everyone involved in the making of The Chosen—and even more guidance is given in the callout box in this post. 

First, would you please pray for the volunteers who scour the show’s scripts to ensure all translations are biblically accurate? Some of them do this work even in harm’s way. Please pray for their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. 

Second, I ask that the overarching aim of your prayers be for peace and love. If you’ve seen Season 4, you know how the disciples grapple to understand why Jesus didn’t respond the way they thought he should. But when your prayers are for peace and love, you win every time—no matter how he answers (or seemingly doesn’t answer). The show reminds us so beautifully that when you pray, you can have peace in the storm and feel his love—even when your painful circumstances don’t make sense.

And I want you to know that while you’re so busy praying for us, here’s my prayer for you. It’s one of my favorite verses, and I am thrilled that they used it early in the first episode of Season 4: “Let the favor of the Lord, our God, be upon us and establish the work of our hands upon us. Yes. Establish the work of our hands.” (Psalm 90:17, ESV)

That’s my prayer for you in English. Here are a few of our volunteers praying for you in their own tongue…   

From our Thai volunteer:

“ขอความโปรดปรานขององค์เจ้านายพระเจ้าของข้าพระองค์ทั้งหลายอยู่เหนือเหล่าข้าพระองค์ ขอทรงสถาปนาผลงานจากมือของข้าพระองค์ทั้งหลายไว้เหนือพวกข้าพระองค์ ขอทรงสถาปนาผลงานจากมือของข้าพระองค์ทั้งหลาย”สดุดี 90:17 THSV11

From our Finnish volunteer:

”Herra, meidän Jumalamme, ole lempeä meille, anna töillemme menestys, siunaa kättemme työt.“ Psalmit 90:17 FB92

From our Telugu volunteer:

మా దేవుడైన యెహోవా ప్రసన్నత మా మీద నుండును గాక మా చేతిపనిని మాకు స్థిరపరచుము మా చేతిపనిని స్థిరపరచుము. కీర్తనల గ్రంథము 90:17

From our Swedish volunteer:

"Låt Herren vår Guds ljuvlighet vila över oss. Ge oss framgång med våra händers verk, ja, ge framgång åt våra händers verk." (SFB 15)

I’m rooting for you, 

Wendi

Wendi Lord, PhD

Vice President,

Content Translation & Localization

Let’s get to praying! Here’s how you can pray specifically for translation:

  • In some regions our translators face the possibility of persecution, imprisonment, or harm. Pray for protection over those serving in places of risk. Pray for perseverance and courage. Pray that resistant hearts would receive the message of Jesus in these sensitive regions.
  • Many of our translators and their family members face health challenges, economic hardships, natural disasters, societal unrest, and unexpected loss. Pray for God to comfort, strengthen, and provide for translation reviewers and their families—whether they encounter physical, spiritual, or emotional need.
  • The translation process faces numerous challenges. Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide effective communication through localization efforts. Pray for the message of Jesus through The Chosen to be portrayed with excellence—engaging diverse cultures and languages with biblical accuracy and cultural relevance. Pray against evil forces seeking to thwart translation and distribution efforts so that millions more may experience the authentic Jesus through this series.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Wendi Lord serves as VP of Localization at Come and See. Her experience spans Fortune 50 to not-for-profit organizations, with a focus on translation in the technology sector. For many years, she has served in leadership roles across the Christian publishing and music industries, and in 2023, she released her book Propel Your Potential: Learn to Flourish When You Have Enough but Don’t Feel Like Enough. Wendi collaborates with clients and firms worldwide to help people flourish at work and in life.