It’s been said that when people work, it is merely people at work. But when people pray, it is God who works. One of the greatest investments a follower of Jesus can make is giving themselves to regular prayer for the unreached and the missionaries sent to reach them with the gospel.
Here is a strategy for developing a prayer life for those on the frontlines of gospel advancement.
1. Establish a Rhythm of Prayer
Pastor Andrew recently mentioned in a sermon that he takes time every Thursday to pray for our missionaries and their children. Think of a particular time when you can regularly give yourself to pray for missionaries. This may be once a day when you get up or at the start of your lunch break. Maybe once a week you focus your prayer time on the unreached and the workers laboring among them. Or perhaps you start with praying for the missionaries you know once a month with friends over an ethnic meal.
When implementing a new discipline such as prayer, take the long view and start with small steps. If your current prayer life is barely existent or characterized by spurts and fits, it’s probably best not to commit to fasting every Wednesday in order to spend extended time praying for the nations. Make a more attainable goal: fast for one meal this month. Once this initial step becomes more ingrained, then increase your commitment.
Operation World is a fantastic resource for anyone wanting to pray for global missions. But staying on track with its prayer calendar requires more than a resolution; it takes seasoned discipline. Thankfully there are other suggestions for how to use this robust resource if you need a place to start.
2. Use Scripture to Guide Your Prayers
Using Scripture to guide your prayers ensures you are praying the right things for your missionaries. David Platt, president of the International Mission Board, shows sixteen ways to pray for missionaries from Acts 13 and 14 alone:
- Pray that they would be confident in God’s Word (Acts 13:4-5)
- Pray that they would be filled with God’s Spirit (Acts 13:6-9)
- Pray for their victory in spiritual warfare (Acts 13:10-12)
- Pray for their success in gospel witness (Acts 13:12)
- Pray for peace with other believers (Acts 13:13)
- Pray for favor with unbelievers (Acts 13:14-15)
- Pray that the gospel will be clear through them (Acts 13:16-47)
- Pray that God will open hearts around them (Acts 13:48)
- Pray for their joy in the midst of suffering (Acts 14:1-2)
- Pray for their kindness in the midst of slander (Acts 14:1-2)
- Pray for supernatural power to accompany them (Acts 14:3)
- Pray for Christlike humility to characterize them (Acts 14:4-18)
- Pray for their patience (Acts 14:8-18)
- Pray for their perseverance (Acts 14:19-20)
- Pray that God would use them to make disciples (Acts 14:21-23)
- Pray that God would use them to multiply churches (Acts 14:24-28)
3. Get to Know Your Missionaries
Finally, make your prayers personal by knowing the persons you’re praying for. Learn the unique challenges their context and ministry bring. Set up your news feed to feature stories coming from their context. Keep in touch to know personal struggles and celebrations. Write your prayers and send a secured copy to your missionaries to encourage them.
At Mercy Hill, the best way to get to know a missionary we send is through our Missionary Advocacy Teams. To learn more about becoming an Advocacy Team Member and receive training on how to care well for those we send, sign up for the upcoming Missionary Care Training on December 1-2.
-Bryan Miller (Connections/Missions Director)