In all circumstances take up the shield of faith…praying at all times in the Spirit,
with all prayer and supplication. (Ephesians 6:16, 18)
Seven Ways to Pray for Missionaries – Unleashing God’s Power
The Apostle Paul was a great missionary who often urged God’s people to pray for him. He linked the success of his mission to the faithful prayer support of the saints of God (2 Corinthians 1:8-11). Paul describes some of his experiences as: “hardships we suffered,” “under great pressure,” “beyond our ability to endure,” and “despaired even of life.” Yet he speaks confidently of God’s deliverance. Paul is sure that God will sustain him as the believers help in prayer.
This passage shows that God actively protects, delivers and uses us for blessing. In addition, prayer links us to the most exciting aspects of ministry. Paul says, “many will give thanks … for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.” There is an inseparable link between prayer and effective missions. The place God wants you in his process is something wonderful that you must discover from him. But it is his will that you, a child of God, pray for world evangelization.
We don’t dare sidestep this opportunity and responsibility. Pray. “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and “You should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1b).
SUNDAYS • Relationship with God
Too often we assume that missionaries don’t struggle as others do in their relationship with God. But this relationship is a missionary’s primary need. Pray that your missionary will:
- Love and study God’s Word.
- Have a strong prayer life.
- Be filled with the Holy Spirit.
- Be maturing spiritually.
- Make progress over personal sin.
MONDAYS • Physical and Emotional Needs
Satan often discourages us through our physical and emotional lives. Many missionaries live in difficult climates that can present health challenges. Pray for good health. With busy and hectic schedules, missionaries travel often. Pray for safety, stamina and a sense of priority. Remember that preventive prayer helps. When we hear that a missionary is hospitalized for a heart attack, disease or has been injured in an accident, we pray up a storm. The wise thing is to cover your missionary’s health continually. Pray against discouragement, loneliness and depression.
TUESDAYS • Family Relationships
Pray for family relationships—husband/wife, parent/child. Pray for the children, their salvation and spiritual growth, their health and education. Pray too that their family life will provide an excellent model for local Christians and the unsaved. And pray against the temptations that destroy families. If your missionary is single, pray that God will meet his or her needs in this area. Pray for strong, healthy friendships, and contentment in singleness.
WEDNESDAYS • Ability to Communicate
In world evangelization, communication is crucial. Your missionary is in ministry to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Whether your missionary is communicating with life or lips, they must be understood. Learning a new language and adapting to a new culture is frustrating, difficult and essential to good communication. Languages in the Far East are among the most difficult for a Westerner to master. Even elementary knowledge of a language takes years of study and practice. And a superficial understanding is insufficient for communicating spiritual truths and defending the faith. Would you listen to a speaker who wasn’t fluent in English? To really communicate, the missionary must adapt culturally to identify with those they are trying to reach. Getting close to the local people and understanding them means adjusting one’s lifestyle and cultural preferences. Pray that your missionary will have the stamina and understanding to demonstrate Christ cross-culturally.
THURSDAYS • Effective Ministry
Sometimes you can forget why your missionary is overseas, and why you are praying. Remember to pray for what your missionary is actually doing: witnessing, visiting, teaching, preaching, counseling, nursing—and pray for the people being ministered to. Prayer letters will teach you how to specifically pray for these things. But include requests for boldness, open doors, open hearts and excellence in the effort. Most of all, ask the Holy Spirit to empower your missionary for productivity. (See John 15:16.)
FRIDAYS • Team Relationships
Your missionary is probably not completely alone in ministry. Normally, missionaries team up with other missionaries, local believers, pastors and evangelists. Unfortunately, this mix of personalities designed to strengthen the ministry can sometimes be used by Satan to weaken it. Poor team relationships can spoil the work. Pray for all the fellow workers your missionary mentions in letters. Pray that they will appreciate and sharpen one another in good and healthy ways.
SATURDAYS • Country of Service
Expand your praying to include the entire country where your missionary is located. The political situation, the government and its leaders, visas, freedom to preach the gospel—all of these are important factors in world evangelization. You can also pray that the whole country will be receptive to the gospel.
Whether you use this guide regularly or use some other method, you can never run out of prayer material. We haven’t even mentioned your missionary’s relationship with his or her home church, the parents and family left at home and financial needs. You have plenty of important work to do in giving the world the message of Jesus Christ. And you will know God better for it. No matter how many times you may fail in your daily commitment, you can start again today.
Click here to download the February 2023 Prayer Powerlines.