How to Pray for Missionaries
1 Thessalonians 5:25 Brethren, pray for us.
Intro: Of all the people in the world we could pray for, our missionaries should be near the top of the list. They deserve our prayer for several reasons. We should pray for them because of:
A. The Dedication they Embrace
B. The Difficulties they Endure
C. The Dangers they Experience
E. The Duties they Execute
Missionaries have a very specific list of needs that many Christians never quite understand.
They need prayer. That is why they have prayer cards and write prayer letters.
One of the greatest missionaries to ever live, the Apostle Paul, shared a very specific list of prayer requests.
Let’s look at them:
Paul wanted them to pray for open doors.
- Colossians 4:3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:
Paul wanted them to pray for the Word of God to have free course.
- 2 Thessalonians 3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:
Paul wanted them to pray to have boldness to share the gospel.
- 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
- 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
Paul wanted them to pray for spiritual leaders to be raised up.
- Acts 14:23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.
Paul wanted them to pray for them to maintain a good testimony
- Hebrews 13:18 Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.
Let’s look at some very specific ways that we need to pray for missionaries. This is just a short list.
I. Pray for their Ministry Finances
A. The missionaries on deputation
Think about the cost of traveling all over the nation raising support.
A missionary gets a meeting, they have to pay for gas, meals, sometimes hotels and pray the love offering pays for it.
A missionary has to work and do deputation at the same time until his support/love offerings make it possible to quit.
They have to save money for their airfare, shipping expenses, visas, paperwork, and an assortment of moving expenses.
Pray that they support comes in quickly so they can get to the field God has called them to serve Him in.
B. The missionaries on the field
If you’ve ever struggled to pay your bills, imagine your income coming from a host of people you don’t know, churches you’ve only been to one time, and you’re halfway around the world with no other way of making money if it doesn’t come in.
Imagine having churches promise to support you, and just as soon as they have a hard time, or change pastors, or go through a slump, the first thing they do is discontinue your support.
Imagine having to go to an ATM for days to get enough cash out to pay your rent because you can’t have a checking account.
Imagine your salary fluctuating every month because of the exchange rate.
Imagine having to support your family, and be responsible for every cent to start a church – all at the same time.
Imagine having the stress of knowing that at any moment, you may have to buy one-way tickets and leave your house, your stuff and your field for any number of reasons.
Imagine having to pay a year in advance to rent a house.
Imagine living in a country where landlords are not bound to the terms of the lease, and can make you move out at any time for any reason and keep your deposit.
Imagine having to pay overseas shipping on your children’s schoolbooks every year.
Pray for their never-ending need for resources; tracts; scriptures; training material; children’s material, etc.
II. Pray for their Marriage & Family
A. The Couple
Many people do not think about the toll that being a missionary takes on a marriage.
The financial stress alone will test a marriage.
Throw in the constant level of uncertainty, non-stop traveling, living out of a suitcase, sleeping in a different bed every night, hours and hours of being cooped up in a car or van together with virtually no personal time away from one another.
On deputation and furlough, you add the stress of people watching you and judging you when you are tired and at your worst.
On the field, you live with the realization that your marriage is the only Christian marriage that your new converts can look at as a template of how the Christian home is supposed to be.
Then add the realization that if your marriage fails, you’re not only out of a home, but you’re also disqualified from ministry and are now unemployed.
I Timothy 3
- 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
- 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
B. The Children
Pray for their children to submit to God’s will for their parents.
Pray for the children to be an asset to the ministry rather than a liability.
How would you like for your children to be the role model for the entire church?
Pray for the children to grow up and love their parents and the ministry; not be rebellious and unruly.
Pray for the children to be protected from the influx of negative influences in their mission field.
The kids miss their friends and their grandparents.
They miss their youth group and their home church.
They miss America and all the things that this country offers.
C. The Church
Many missionaries experience difficulties when the relationship with their home church fails.
A vast list of scenarios come to mind.
Their home church gets a new pastor – someone they don’t even know.
Their home church falls into apostacy.
Their home church has division and experiences a split.
Their home church fails to support them they way they should.
Their home church makes major, unacceptable changes.
III. Pray for their Mental Focus
Missionaries struggle with keeping their mental state right.
The battle to think right and focus is never-ending.
The spiritual warfare and the toll on the mind of a missionary is impossible to describe.
I found it very difficult at times to even pray. The mental attacks are intense.
Nobody to talk to; fellowship with; for your children to play with; to worship with until you get a few people saved.
Language lessons, culture shock, differences in food, climate, housing, shopping, schooling, driving, etc.
Building relationships and starting churches, knowing you’re trying to work yourself out of a job and leave them.
Helping so many people with so many problems, and there is no one around to help you with yours but God.
The list goes on and on.
The balancing act of a country’s political situation, financial stress, ministry limitations, keeping a burden, winning the lost, discipling the new converts, training leaders, finding venues/building/renting/ etc.
The list is never ending of things that missionaries have to worry about, think about, deal with.
Doctrinal heresy, biblical ignorance, family dynamics of the new converts,
IV. Pray for their Mission Field
The ultimate objective is to reach a group of people with the gospel.
Pray for people to be receptive to the Gospel.
Pray for doors to be opened, for the hearts of people to be tender to a message they’ve never heard before.
Pray for the Spirit to lead and to work and to break down barriers.
Pray for new converts to be willing to make the sacrifices it takes to walk away from family, friends, traditions.
Pray for husbands to win their wives and vise versa; children to win their parents.
Pray for God to call men to preach who are qualified and willing to be trained.
- Luke 10:2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly [is] great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.