Friday, April 19, 2013

Praying for Missionaries

Okay, once again you've heard a reminder from your preacher to pray for the missionaries supported by the church. And you want to do that. So where do you start? Below are a few of the "target areas" I suggest.

Please keep in mind two things, however, as you read through these ideas.

1) You will be even more motivated (and more effective) in praying for missionaries if you know them! So pay attention to their letters. In fact, try writing them yourself once in awhile in order to encourage them and deepen your friendship. You'll find that they will come to your mind a lot more frequently and you'll be sending up a lot more prayers in their behalf. And, because you'll be more aware of their situations, your prayers will be more specific.

2) The following "target ideas" are terrific for any Christian leaders. In fact, they're terrific for any and all Christians -- period. They can help you pray with greater care, being much more relevant and relational that just a bland "Lord, bless 'em" prayer. So, if you would like to be more faithful and effective in intercessory prayer for missionaries (and God's people in general), try thinking along these lines.

* True Spirituality

Pray that the missionary will be faithful to Christ, humbly depending on Him and seeking to carefully learn and obey God’s Word. Simply "being" a missionary does not guarantee true spirituality. So help them by praying for victory in their lives over the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil. Pray too that they are liberated from "easily besetting sins."

* The Whole Life

Prayers for the health and safety of missionaries are always important. They often live in areas devoid of excellent medical care and sometimes must deal with unclean air, food and water. Travel can be hazardous. In some places, missionaries are endangered by repression from government officials and local communities who are opposed to Christianity. All of these things make prayers in their behalf a very important task.

Pray also that they continually seek Christ's bountiful blessings for the emotional health of each member of the missionary family.  Ask the Lord to deliver them from homesickness, alienation, fear, discouragement, and worry.

* Family Matters

Pray for a happy, life-giving marriage. Pray that each spouse demonstrate love, wisdom, patience, and encouragement to one another. Pray for abundant spiritual growth in their children. And pray too for the extended families who were left at home.

* Effectiveness of the Mission

Pray for the missionary's intelligence, creativity, adaptability, and winsomeness. Remember they are frequently speaking a language and living in a culture that is not their own. And they are often seeking to perform big jobs but with little funds, little help, and little experience. They are frequently required to be a pioneer, a teacher, a counselor, and a "Jack of all trades" all wrapped up in one. So, your coming alongside them in prayer can be a huge help!

Ask the Lord also to grant them good partners, open doors and fruitfulness in their service. Keep in mind that most missions want to eventually work themselves out of a job; that is, to develop local Christian leadership that will take what's been started and go forward themselves. So pray for rapid but substantial growth among the local church members.