How to Pray for your Missionary
In many corners of the world today ordinary men and women are doing an extraordinary task for Jesus Christ. Part of the secret is that they are bathed in faithful prayer by God’s dear saints in the homeland. Many people do not realize the extent of the battle Satan wages. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood,” writes the Apostle Paul, “but against principalities, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against the spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). The spiritual battle must be fought with prayer. And because of the many demands on the missionary’s time and the special need for prayer in his or her ministry, it may be your calling to uphold the missionary by your prayers in a vital intercessory ministry.
Take seriously the responsibility of carrying this prayer burden. When he or she triumphs, their victory is yours to share. The following suggestions may help you to more fruitful or faithful prayer ministries for missionaries all over the world for whom God has given you the privilege of praying.
1. Spend time in thanks for your missionaries. Thank God for their call and for their obedience to His leading in their lives. Thank Him for the privilege of being involved with them in His work by upholding them in prayer. Express thanks to God for the known blessings in their lives, for successes in the ministry in terms of conversions, spiritual growth, and building in lives. And thank God for His faithfulness in hearing your prayers on their behalf.
2. Pray for the daily lives of your missionaries. Their common problems are the same as yours, though you may not be made aware of them very often. They are subject to the same temptations and weaknesses you have. Crossing an ocean does not solve the difficulties of daily living or make one a spiritual giant. Whenever you face problems, pray for your missionary in those areas of his or her life. Remember that missionaries are human. Loneliness is only the beginning of adjustment to living in a foreign culture. Pray that your missionary will be kept from pride, from personality conflicts, and especially from discouragement. Pray that he or she will be able to effectively serve with fellow workers.
3. Pray that barriers may be minimized so that the Gospel may go forward. In an exceptional way the missionary needs patience in learning to do things according to the “foreign” custom. He or she needs to gain rapport with people. Pray that the efforts of Satan will meet with failure. In certain countries there is known hostility or persecution. Pray that the Lord will keep his servants there faithful to His Word and safe from the attacks of Satan.
4. Pray that your missionaries will have wisdom in the use of their time. Missionaries are very busy people, and their many demands on their lives. The task is always greater than their ability to serve, and it is very difficult to say “no”. With many conditions beckoning for their attention, the missionary must make decisions as to what he or she will do and what he or she will leave undone. Pray that the missionary will be discerning in the tasks selected and that their time will be spent in those areas which are most important in God’s economy. Pray, too, that your missionaries will be able to gain the needed rest for their bodies and minds, that they might be alert and effective in their work.
5. Pray that the Holy Spirit will lead your missionaries to prepared hearts. While some hearts are resisting the Gospel, there are many who are hungry for spiritual reality. There are some in whom the Holy Spirit has already been working. Pray that God will bring the missionary in contact with these people. Pray, too, that these hearts will be released from the grasp of doubt and fear and rebellion against God.
6. Pray for the missionary’s children. The education and discipline of children are frequently problems in a foreign culture. Some children have to live away from their families for their education. Different customs of child-rearing and discipline sometimes cause difficulties, and frequently the foreign culture magnifies ordinary everyday crises. Pray for family peace and harmony, as the attitudes of the children mat enhance or detract form the parent’s ministry.
7. Pray faithfully for your missionaries. Select a regular time and pray with diligence. When they really need your prayers, there is frequently no time to write an emergency prayer letter. What a blessing it is to a missionary to receive a letter or an email saying, “We are praying for you daily.” And makes these prayers a time of real carrying of their burdens, and not just a brief, “Lord, bless the missionaries.”
8. Show interest in the missionaries by writing to them about their work. Keep track of their current prayer needs and find out what requests have been answered. If you have been praying for something daily for several months, write to ask how the Lord is working with regard to that subject. Ask about special needs. Some items can’t be shared with the general public and your missionary will appreciate your praying for these needs as well.
9. Pray for more missionaries. Jesus told His disciples to pray that “the Lord of the harvest would send forth laborers into the fields.” There are never enough workers to complete the job. Young people are continuously preparing themselves for their lifetime occupations. And many people are retiring earlier in life and can serve on the mission field. Pray that Go will call these new resources out into his service and they will dedicate themselves in obedience to Him.
Adapted from a brochure written by Bob Hill, a Bible teacher at Greater Europe Mission’s Greek Bible Institute in Athens