“The history of missions is the history of answered prayer… it is the key to the whole missionary problem. All human means are secondary.”
– Samuel M. Zwemer
Often we only see the one side of being a missionary: “to be called and to go”. And we tend to forget about the harsh realities: to be far away from family and friends, children who have to stay behind and attend school, years of ministry before a breakthrough is seen and missionaries that burn out emotionally and spiritually.
Each year more than 12 000 missionaries return from the field prematurely, permanently and for preventable reasons.
One way in which WE can make a difference, is to pray for our missionaries.
How to Pray for Missionaries
- Pray specifically for each missionary family — not only for the family as a whole, but also for every individual family member. Mention specific needs.
- Select a “missionary of the month” or “missionary of the week” and pray for him in all the church services, children’s church, prayer meetings, Sunday school, etc.
- Mention specific needs of your missionaries in the church bulletin/newsletter/email. Please remember that personal and sensitive issues must be handled confidentially and must not be made known to the church at large without the missionary’s permission.
- Encourage individuals and families to pray at home for your missionaries and their families.
- Identify with your missionary. When you are lonely, pray for your missionary to cope with loneliness; when you are hurt, pray for your missionary to cope with feelings of hurt; and when you are encouraged, rejoice with the successes of your missionary.
- Communicate regularly with your missionaries. Tell him that you pray for him/her. (It is not enough just to pray for missionaries. It is also necessary to tell them that you are praying for them – even what you are praying for them. This may be an encouragement to them as well.)
- Remember their special days: birthdays and wedding anniversaries.
What do we pray for?
- Spiritual: protection, personal relationship with the Lord
- Emotional: frustrations, low points
- Adaptation to culture & language, perseverance to learn the language
- Physical: health, protection
- Wife/woman: her role (often her role lies within the family, she has to do home schooling and she might feel that she is not “actively” enough involved in the ministry. Pray for clarification and peace about her role.)
- Children: that they will have good friends in the host culture, that they adapt to school or home schooling, against loneliness, that they will feel part of their parents’ calling.
- Ministry: growth, break-through, perseverance (even if fruit is not seen)
- Practical: vehicle, finances, visa/working permits
- Fellow missionaries: good relationships (missionaries are often isolated or under a lot of pressure, therefore pray that conflicts and differences will be handled well)
- Country where missionary is working: open doors, government, least reached people groups
Most of all: be a friend! Sometimes all a missionary needs is an ear to listen to their hearts and a touch on their shoulder, assuring them that we pray and care for them.
Please take note: If your missionaries are working in a sensitive area, please be very careful when sharing information.
Source: Global Prayer Resource Network, http://www.globalprn.com/, newsletter 6 of 2013.