Thursday, March 17

Prayer: Why and How to Pray for Missionaries

I don't know about you, but when I pray for missionaries, more often than I like to admit, my prayer goes something like this: "Dear Lord, bless Missionary X in Country Y as they work with People Z." Some of this poor praying comes from laziness--not taking the effort to do better--but it also arises from not knowing what the specific needs might be.

In this article, Dr. Will Bruce lists many concerns and needs that missionaries may have in their special situations, and suggests ways to pray for them. Most of them are very specific and personal needs, and yet they are applicable across the board to many different missionaries in their unique circumstances. For instance, one of the things to remember when we pray for missionaries is that the missionary faces loneliness:
It is easy to succumb to loneliness in a foreign land when we are surrounded by people of another culture and language. This is true of those who are single and those who are married. We all need to know we are loved and accepted. Loneliness is one of the means the devil uses to discourage and depress us and to cause us to engage in disastrous self-pity. But God has supplied a way of escape! His promise in Hebrews 13:5b, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee,” is as true today as it was when He first gave it. What we need to do is to claim it for ourselves and experience the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in our everyday living. Pray that the missionary will experience fellowship with God in new and satisfying ways.
The article also included a list of specific instructions given on how to pray for missionaries:
  • Be specific, systematic, and steadfast.
  • Agree in prayer with others. Matthew 18:19-20.
  • Practice saturation praying—covering many aspects with many brief requests.
  • Pray as for yourself. Any problem you have, the missionary may also have, but it will be magnified by his situation and circumstances.
  • Pray with the authority you have in Christ, and bind the strong man. Matthew 18:18, Mark 3:27.
  • Try using a passage of Scripture when you are praying for your missionary, such as Ephesians 1:15-23, Colossians 1:9-14, or Ephesians 3:16-21. “Someone has said: ‘Better, far better, do less work, if need be, in order that we may pray more; because work done by the rushing torrent of human energy will not save a single soul: whereas work done in vital and unbroken contact with the living God will tell for all eternity.’ No doubt, we would all heartily agree with this—the trouble, of course, is to actually put it into practice.”
  • Read the whole article and see if it doesn't help make your prayers for missionaries more meaningful.
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