By Brad Andres
While all followers of Christ have a missionary call on their lives, that is, to take Christ to others, not all of us are called to specific people nor to specific countries in order to fulfill that missionary call.
The seemingly extreme cases where people are directed by God to move overseas in order to share the Gospel is when the term missionary is commonly employed. Let’s discuss how to pray for missionaries so that they may be able to carry out God’s Will more effectively.
While we all have a call to spread the good news of Jesus Christ on our lives, many of us can do that within our local communities. However, sometimes God has unique plans for certain people, and those whom God directs to minister in foreign countries are those we are going to be referring to as missionaries throughout this article.
In one of our previous articles, Tips for Keeping a Prayer Journal, we mentioned missionaries as one group you may want to include in your prayer list. This article is going to give you some ideas on how to actually pray for them once you include missionaries in your prayer list.
Start with their name.
Praying for all the missionaries across the world is a great idea. However, we want our prayers to flow from a little more connection, a little more passion, than a general mentioning. This is why you should start with the missionaries name (or their family name).
Know their ministry.
Connect with a few missionaries whom you feel a similar passion with. Many missionaries have an email or post mail newsletter which will keep you informed and give you specific prayer opportunities. Dont start with fifty, start by finding one, or two, and go from there.
Know their mission.
As a result from connecting with their ministry, you will also get to know their mission. This will give you ideas on what to pray for. A missionary to the middle east will need some different prayer than a missionary to South America. Also, a missionary to a region open to Christianity will need different prayer than someone going to a country closed to Christianity. Last of all, a media missionary will have different needs than a missionary establishing clean water supply.
The Three Ps – Protection, Provision, Power
While some missionaries move into hostile environments, and others not so much, it is still good practice to pray for God to protect them and their families. Not all harm comes in the form of physical assault. Praying for protection includes asking God to protect their minds, their hearts, and their emotions.
Missionaries usually give up everything they have in order to go follow Gods desire for their life. Normally, missionaries will go for months or years without seeing, sometimes without contacting, family or friends from their home. In addition to praying for financial support, prayer for friendships, relationships, opportunities, and workers to join their cause are all included in Gods provision.
A missionary will be ineffective without Gods power. Asking God to give the missionary His Holy Spirit to confirm their message with signs and wonders, wisdom and power, is essential for their task. Requesting God to supply them with the power of His Holy Spirit to overcome all obstacles, physical and spiritual, will help their ministry move forward effectively.
Pulling it all together.
No this is not a fourth P. This is a suggestion on what prayer for missionaries may look like. Some people will sit with their prayer journal and go through the list they have made, praying these bullet points for missionaries. Other temperaments and personalities will not be able to do that. Here is a final suggestion on how to pray for missionaries as a family:
- Grab a card of theirs (or write their name on an index card) and place it in a bowl.
- Write additional information on their card such as place of ministry, mission, and specific prayer requests from their newsletters.
- Remember the three Ps – Protection, Provision, & Power.
- At dinner time, before eating draw a card from the bowl, and take that time to pray though the three Ps for that missionary and their family. Your kids can draw the cards, and this can make the practice of praying for missionaries a little bit more fun, spontaneous, and random.
All in all, this is just one idea to help you with putting prayer for missionaries into practice in your personal life. There is no right or wrong way, but knowing their name, ministry, mission and going through the three Ps, protection, provision, and power will give you a solid base for effective prayer.
What other ways can you pray for missionaries? Share your ideas and practices on how you can make praying for missionaries effectively a common practice in your life in the comments below!