May Staff Spotlight: Laura Gish

Meet American Bible Society’s Director of Prayer Mobilization

This is the first blog in a series of monthly staff spotlights at American Bible Society. We hope you enjoy getting to know our staff members, who are using their gifts to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.

What is your role here at American Bible Society?

I serve as director of Prayer Mobilization. We focus on mobilizing our prayer partners and thinking critically about how we can serve our international community, partner networks, and our own staff through prayer and prayer-focused resources.

Tell us a little more about yourself!

Before coming to American Bible Society, I worked for a partner organization and helped launch their prayer program. I remember always wanting to work in prayer ministry. When I was 15, I would read God’s Word each night and feel a specific calling to be part of prayer and Bible ministry. I feel like I was made for it, and it was made for me!

Another big passion of mine is discipleship. For years, I was part of discipleship training schools. That experience helped equip me to serve young adult communities in different churches over the past decade. I love sharing quality time with my community of faith. Here in Philadelphia, my church has been a gift and a lifeline after I moved across the country from Texas. On that note, I should mention that I’m a graduate and loyal fan of Baylor University, and that green and gold sparkles run through my veins!

How long have you worked at American Bible Society?

I’ve worked at American Bible Society for five years.

What attracted you to American Bible Society?

I originally came to American Bible Society to consult on their prayer strategy. Prayer had always been part of American Bible Society’s DNA, but there was a vision to emphasize prayer that really impressed me. Their goal was to be not just an organization that prays, but to be a praying organization. It was compelling! I’d been in the world of Bible translation at my previous job, but I realized that at American Bible Society, I’d get to see a world of Bible that includes translation, Armed Services Ministry, trauma healing, domestic outreach, and more! That lit up my faith and made me feel like all those years of training and ministry had prepared me for this. Eventually, I was invited to join American Bible Society to launch the Prayer Mobilization program.

Tell us more about the international community supporting American Bible Society through prayer.

When I arrived in 2016, we had zero prayer partners. There were people praying for us, but to have a unique designation for this group—to say as an organization that we value prayer so much that if all you do is pray, that’s enough—was a positional statement our leaders made. I believe the Lord has honored it. We’ve seen the number of prayer partners grow not only in the United States, but also around the world. Right now, we have more than 35,000 partners interceding for us in 25 countries and counting!

Once someone joins our prayer community, we focus on calling on them to participate in Bible ministry through prayer. We affirm that they’re not on the sidelines—they’re part of God’s story! Their prayer, in and of itself, is a gift. It’s an investment of the heart. As we developed our vision for our prayer partners, we saw it touch the other communities we serve—financial partners, Bible society partners, even staff members. Often, we see crossover between these communities. For example, people who want to pray want to give, and people who want to give want to pray.

The other important piece of our prayer community is our prayer networks. We engage local, national, and global interconfessional prayer networks, both formally and informally. Recently, we prayed with Cru’s One Miracle Night, which hosted a prayer event for Muslim communities around the world. International House of Prayer prays for us from their 24/7 prayer room. We partner with National Day of Prayer, promoting Bible engagement and prayer through them and vice versa. United Bible Societies hosts monthly prayer meetings in four time zones and three languages, giving our Bible society partners the opportunity to pray together for God’s work around the world. I’ve had the privilege of working with many of our partner organizations in the Bible community, including Year of the Bible, Every Tribe Every Nation, and illumiNations, each of which affirms and enriches our culture of prayer.

Through these tangible partnerships and cross-promotions, we share resources, inspire communities, and connect with new prayer partners. It’s difficult to know the exact number of people these networks touch, but we know God is moving through them!

What resources do you offer the prayer community?

We offer resources that focus on prayer for specific American Bible Society ministries. For example, we partner with PrayerMate, an app that reminds partners to pray for our ministries and provides updates each week. We also provide Scripture-based resources that encourage our partners in developing their personal prayer lives. In addition, we provide impact reports, testimonials, blogs, and even insights from the annual State of the Bible research.

This year, we launched our new Prayer Snapshot video podcast! It started as a concept in 2020 when Google searches for prayer were skyrocketing globally. There was a real movement toward curiosity about prayer inside and outside the church. We began thinking: if the world is going to be more digital, how can we move prayer into that space? On the podcast, my colleague, Nena Podbury, interviews American Bible Society ministry leaders so that our partners can hear directly from them in an engaging, accessible format. In the future, we’ll be sharing what God’s Word says about prayer, how our partners can grow in their prayer lives, and how we can all be interceding for American Bible Society.

I believe that informed intercessors are powerful intercessors, and that the more specific the prayer, the more specific the answer. We turn information and data into actionable prayer requests and invite our partners to pray for specific outcomes. Our community helps us fuel our mission and move us forward through their prayer support.

How can someone become a prayer partner?

If you’d like to join our prayer community, you can sign up to become a prayer partner at www.americanbible.org/prayer. We’ll send you a welcome series with tips and tools to guide you in prayer, along with ongoing ministry updates, answered prayer reports, and Prayer Snapshot episodes—all delivered to your inbox!

Would you share one of your favorite Bible verses to end this interview?

I immediately thought of John 17:3 (GNT): “And eternal life means to know you, the only true God, and to know Jesus Christ, whom you sent.” This verse always strikes me with the reality that, in some ways, eternal life starts now. It starts with knowing God as revealed through his Word and goes on into forever as we walk with the Lord. It’s a reminder of the eternal story we’re invited into—to find our lives in knowing God and making him known.

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Elisabeth Trefsgar
Elisabeth Trefsgar

Elisabeth Trefsgar is a content specialist for American Bible Society. She has made a home in New Jersey and Sofia, Bulgaria, and is always on the lookout for the next adventure. She is passionate about seeing communities around the world flourish through the power of God's Word and the efforts of the local church. When she isn't writing, you can find her reading good stories, photographing local sights, and spending time with friends.

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