How To Pray For Your Missionaries – Part 1
“Dear Lord, bless all the missionaries, and… um… and… um… and… yeah, bless them. Amen.”
You’ve been there. You’ve heard it before. A missionary comes to your church and says, “Pray for us!” In your mind you acquiesce, and you may even tell them, “We’ll be praying for you, brother!”
But what does that mean? How should we actually pray for them? Will a “blanket prayer” work? Just one big “Bless them all, Lord!”?
In short, no.
I’m going to take a few posts to outline some things that I’ve learned from my personal study on this topic. What does the scripture say about praying for other believers, particularly those serving as missionaries or ministers of the Gospel?
Let’s start with a something so vastly important yet incredibly basic.
1. Get To Know Your Missionaries!
Philippians 1:3-8 “3I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, 5For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; 6Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: 7Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. 8For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.”
If you don’t know somebody, you won’t be able to pray for their specific needs. Any missionary that’s worth his salt will take time to try to communicate with his supporters. Prayer letters, emails, a personal website, a blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc… whatever it takes to get their ministry and needs “out there.”
But that means nothing if you don’t make an effort to keep up with them.
Supporting missionaries financially is important, yes, but make an effort to put a face to the check you send. When you know your missionaries and try to keep up with what’s going on, you’ll feel like you’re doing more than sending empty checks and prayers out into the eternal abyss for an unknown soul. You’re interceding for and investing in a friend.
As your read the epistles from the Apostle Paul to the New Testament churches, you’ll see that there was a definite friendship between them. He knew that they were more than converts or supporters. They were brethren in Christ and “Yokefellows” in the ministry. Friends.
Get to know your missionaries.
2. Pray For Laborers!
Matthew 9:35-38 “35And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 37Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”
So many times we are so preoccupied praying about our own needs, our wants, our family, and the bunion on our toe that we completely forget to pray for what Jesus Christ TOLD us to pray about.
Sure, he cares about your bunion, but do you know that one of the few, if not the only direct prayer request Christ gave us was for Laborers for the Harvest? That’s an incredible thought. He lifted up his eyes and saw the multitudes. He had compassion on them. He was moved for their necessity. And we… we are focused on ourselves.
When is the last time you took time to pray specifically that God would send more missionaries into the world? Take a map or a globe, pick a country and ask God to send laborers there. Research the need. Population. Religion. Current works. Then beg the Lord of the harvest that he would send forth laborers into his harvest.
But watch out.
He might send you.
3. Pray For An Open Door!
Colossians 4:2-5 “2Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; 3Withal 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: 4That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. 5Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.”
Missionaries must work hard. They must put forth an effort to study diligently, learn a new language, adapt to a new culture, reach people, train people, lead people and duplicate themselves.
But all of this is in vain unless the Holy Spirit opens up a door.
What’s an open door? It’s an opportunity. A chance to reach somebody, win them and train them. It’s an opportunity to glorify God.
So, just as Paul asked the Colossians and others to pray for an open door of utterance, pray this for your missionaries.
Stay tuned for Part 2 and Part 3!