How to pray for missionaries

It may help you as you come to pray to remember that missionaries are not very different from you or anyone else you know.  In spite of the tendency to lift missionaries onto a pedestal, anyone who knows them personally will confirm their shared humanness… their shared interests, aspirations, anxieties and dreams…as well as the same struggles, fears and periodic bad attitudes! 

The one significant difference is of course their distance from “home” and from familiar culture and trusted supports. This situation creates challenges and needs particular to their context.

With this in mind we suggest the following as guidelines for your prayers:

Remember that the missionary is likely similar to you in their areas of personal need.
Pray that they:

  • Maintain a strong devotional life, ensuring time in Scripture and for prayer each day – in spite of often demanding schedules.
  • Take care of themselves physically, including exercise, a healthy diet and enough sleep.
  • Deal honestly and thoroughly with negative emotions and relational issues.
  • Will be daily filled with the Holy Spirit and that their God-given vision will be kept alive.
  • Will be protected against temptation, Satan’s deception and from enemies.
  • Will know God’s provision in every area of their lives including the financial.

Concern for children and parents are universal however distant, cross-cultural ministry can challenge on both scores.  Pray that:

  • Marrieds will maintain strong marriages and create space to invest in their relationship amidst usually busy days and stretching cultural settings.
  • Parents will know wisdom in choosing educational options for their children and as they support and assist their learning.
  • Parents will parent well and raise their children to see the positive in both their home and adopted cultures.  May the parents’ lives and ministries lead their children to love God and aspire to also serve Him (and not to lose faith on account of parents’ wrong priorities and poor example etc.)
  • Children will adjust well to the comings and goings associated with missionary life and maximize the potential of such an “alternative” experience.
  • Single missionaries will know special grace for the challenges of loneliness and the misunderstandings they face in cultures where to be unmarried is very unusual.
  • They will fulfill their responsibilities towards aging parents (that they will know guidance in discerning just what that is in their situation) and be able to trust God with their concerns and fears regarding them.

That’s why they’re there!  Pray that:

  • They will successfully build relationships of trust and understanding across cultures… both with the national people and missionaries of other cultures also.
  • They will boldly and effectively proclaim the Gospel in word and in action.
  • They will be fruitful…people coming to Christ and churches being planted – needs being met, freedom encountered, and injustice overturned.
  • God will grant them favor amongst their co-workers, believers and local people.
  • God would break down the spiritual strongholds in peoples’ lives and reveal Himself to them.
  • God will lead the missionaries to people of peace.

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