One of the sad things that I notice as I preach in churches is that most Christians
do not know how to pray effectively for missionaries. Over the years I have preached
several messages on the subject and was encouraged by some of my friends to put some
of my thoughts and suggestions in a brochure. Just last week it came off the press.
Below is the text of the brochure along with a black and white picture of the cover.
The Apostle Paul says, ''Ye also helping together by prayer for us...'' II Cor. 1:11.
As I preach mission conferences, one of the questions I am often asked is ''How can
I effectively pray for missionaries?'' I have heard all kinds of things people do
to remind themselves to pray. For example someone wrote the following using your
fingers as a reminder of how to pray.
Want to know how to pray for those working to fulfill Jesus' Great Commission among
those yet unreached? You can use your fingers as prayer memory aids. Here's how:
1. Thumb - Since your thumb is nearest to you, begin by praying for those missionaries
closest to you. They are the easiest ones to remember. C.S. Lewis said that praying
for those we love is a ''sweet duty.''
2. Index or pointing finger - Let your ''pointing finger'' remind you to pray for
missionaries who teach, instruct, and heal. This includes teachers, doctors, and
evangelists. They need support and wisdom for pointing others in the right direction.
3. Middle finger - Our tallest finger reminds us of our church leaders. We can never
pray too much for them. Pray for those who supervise and direct missionary outreach.
4. Ring finger - Surprisingly, the ring finger is our weakest finger (as any piano
teacher will testify). This weak finger reminds us to pray for those missionaries
who are discouraged, in trouble, or in pain.
5. Little finger - Our little finger is the smallest finger of all, which is where
we should place our individual wants and desires in relation to world evangelism
needs. The Bible says, ''The least shall be the greatest among you.'' Your pinkie
should remind you to pray for the people of the world who have the greatest need
to find Jesus. Pray that they will open their eyes and see Him.'' - Author Unknown
Using that formula would certainly help some, but let me give you suggestions, from
personal experience and observations, on ''How To Pray For YOUR Missionaries.''
1. Pray For The Missionary By Name. Get to know them and their family personally.
Use their prayer card and make a family profile on them. Learn the names of the husband,
wife and children. Write to them and ask for their birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
Read their prayer letters and make note of any specific needs. Make a card on each
family and pray for them.
2. Pray Regularly For Them. Come up with a system where you will pray for them on
a regular basis. If you use a card system, you can pray for a missionary at mealtime,
during your devotions, etc. The key is making it a part of your daily life. Of course
if the Lord puts a special burden on your heart for them, pray for them then and
3. Pray Specifically For Them. Here are ''a few'' specifics that you can consider
as you pray for them.
Pray For Their Family: They are invading the devil's territory and he will do everything
he can to attack and destroy their family. Remember to pray for the husband and wife's
relationship. Pray their love will grow stronger towards each other. Pray for their
children, their spiritual growth, education, etc. Pray that the Lord will use them
as a family unit in the work of the Lord.
Pray For The Single Missionary: They face a whole set of different problems on the
field. As a single missionary, they are alone and will constantly do battle against
the flesh and the powers of darkness. Pray that they will not anguish over difficulties
and opposition. Pray for their faith to be strong.
Pray For Their Finances: Money problems have always been one of the top reasons why
missionaries become discouraged and quit. The average missionary will lose a good
deal of their needed support during a four year term on the field. Many missionaries
go to the mission field with ''just enough support to make it.'' So when churches
drop their support, inflation hits, or currency devaluates, the devil will use these
things to cause them great hardship. We should also pray for the churches that support
Pray For Their Cultural Adjustment: Culture shock is very real. Many missionaries
have a difficult time adjusting to new foods, life styles, value systems, and ways
of doing things. To reach the people in their own culture is a hard lesson for some
missionaries to learn. Some missionaries react wrongly on the field and encumber
their fellowship and witness for the Lord. Pray that the missionary family will be
able to adjust in order to be happy and have an effective ministry.
Pray For Strength For Their Daily Tasks: Everyday living on the mission field can
often consume much of their time. A preacher, who served for almost forty years as
a pastor then became a missionary overseas, told me how surprised he was at the amount
of time it took everyday just to do the daily routines of life in another country.
And he lives in a modern country!
Multiply that frustration many times over with life in a third world country. Think
of the everyday frustrations like open markets for ''daily'' shopping, long lines
in small, under stocked stores, lack of cars or appliances, problems with cooking,
banking, mail, lack of electricity, no air conditioning or hot water, etc. In this
modern day that we live, some have problems with the lack of fast food restaurants
- McDonald's withdrawal!
Pray For Their Ability To Learn The Language: The missionaries must not only adapt
culturally, but they must also be able to share the love of Christ with the people
they are seeking to reach. To communicate the Gospel is the reason they are on the
mission field. If they are going to reach the people, they must learn the language.
Learning the language is the key to everything the missionary does. Many languages
are complicated to learn. A superficial knowledge of the language makes it very difficult
to communicate the Gospel message.
Pray For Their Health: Among the main reasons why missionaries leave the mission
field is for health problems. Many missionaries live and work in harsh climates where
various diseases are wide-spread. Numerous times, they have little or no medical
help available. To get good medical help, frequently they must leave that country
to find it elsewhere.
Pray For Their Spiritual Growth And Walk With The Lord: They need to be feeding on
God's Word, have a strong prayer life, be filled with the Holy Spirit, and grow in
grace in order to have an effective life and ministry.
Pray For Their Pressures, Discouragement, Loneliness And Fears: They are in the thick
of the spiritual battle. They face emotional struggles with little or no help. Many
times when missionaries have problems, they feel they can't share it with anyone.
The devil can really use this fear to cause them to hold everything inside until
they react wrongly or quit.
Pray For Godly Wisdom For Them: James 1:5 says, ''If any of you lack wisdom, let
him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall
be given him.'' Certainly they will need this in order to raise a godly family and
to do a work for the Lord.
Pray for Their Relationship With The Government Of The Country They Are Ministering:
Passports, visas, taxes, education of their children, etc. have become real problems
for missionaries as they deal with government officials.
Pray The Lord Will Give Them Broken Hearts For The People They Minister: ''They that
sow in tears shall reap in joy.'' Psalms 126:5
Pray For Their Ministry And Converts: Pray that the Lord will give open doors and
hearts to be receptive to the Gospel. As people are reached with the Gospel, pray
that the converts will become strong in the Lord, as well as the ministries and churches
that are established.
Pray For The Power Of God On Them: It is easy to labor in the flesh by depending
on one's own strength, wisdom, and ability to accomplish a ministry, but how fruitless
this would be. Only missionaries with God's power will be seeing souls saved and
a ministry that will stand the test of time.
Pray - Pray - Pray that the missionaries might be continually filled with the power.