“I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf.” -Romans 15:30
“You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.” -2 Corinthians 1:11
Praying for Missionaries Is a Responsibility of the Church
The contemporary church must understand the need to pray for missions and respond to that call. It is often said that when missionaries get on a plane, the whole church goes with them. As the body of Christ, it is our responsibility to be devoted to prayer for those who are advancing the gospel where it is not known.
Romans 12:4-5 shows that while not everyone is called to do the same thing, we are all one body and therefore, must support one another in everything to the glory of God.
“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
There are five main focuses to keep in mind when praying for missions:
1. Pray for the Spiritual Lives of Missionaries
The ministry of a missionary will be ineffective if they are not pursuing Christ and keeping their focus on the cross. Living in a cross-cultural situation can be challenging emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Pray that missionaries are being led by the Spirit, find fellowship with other believers, and are being sanctified by the Word of God.
We also pray that you will be strengthened with His glorious power so that you will have all the patience and endurance you need. May you be filled with joy” -Colossians 1:11
2. Pray that God Would Open Doors
Pray for missionaries working in countries that are difficult to access or are dangerous areas to be working in. Ask that missionaries in those situations would find fruitful ministries, partnerships, and friendships. Pray also that God will open the doors so that individual hearts can be reached by the gospel.
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. -Colossians 4:2-3
3. Pray for Physical Health
Many missionaries are advancing the gospel in areas where sanitation is poor and good healthcare is difficult to find. Pray for the health of the missionary and their family.
“Is any sick among you . . . let them pray over him” -James 5:14
4. Pray for Perseverance
Satan is active in trying to thwart efforts to spread the gospel. Church planting and evangelism can be can be a slow and discouraging process in a foreign land. Pray for endurance and accompanying joyfulness for missionaries.
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.” -Colossians 1:9-11
5. Pray that the Gospel Would Spread
Pray that missionaries would be given the strength and wisdom to overcome barriers that hinder the spread of the gospel. Ask God that hearers of the gospel would understand it. Also pray that new converts would passionately share the Good News with their communities. Finally, ask that the Word of God would be honored wherever it goes.
“As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you.” -2 Thessalonians 3:1
As you pray for laborers who are advancing the gospel around the world, be encouraged by their work. Pray for the church to be strengthened and ask God to reveal to you ways that you can edify the body of Christ.