When praying for missionaries, sometimes our prayers dwindle down to nothing more than A Christmas Carol‘s Tiny Tim model, “God bless us, everyone.” It’s good that we pray, but let’s not let our prayers dwindle down mere benedictions and generalities. Here are some quick tips of how to pray for a missionary family.
Pray for their country. Ask questions like, what kind of religion do these people follow? How many Christians live there? How open are these people to the gospel? How intense is the persecution they face? These questions can be answered by reading the book, Operation World. This book details Christianity around the world and will help you pray more specifically for each missionary’s need.
Pray for their children. Kids of missionaries can have it hard. Sometimes, the native children are not accepting of them, and the missionary kids are stuck without friends. Other times, is feels like no native kid really understands what they are going through- leaving the US, transplanting halfway around the world, and sharing the gospel with others.
Pray for their marriage. Missionaries are human too. Just like we can struggle to keep a good marriage, there are many factors fighting to take down the marriages of missionaries. I’ve heard of a missionary man being asked by a native woman to be her husband- with his wife standing right beside him! On a more serious note, the standards of decency in other countries are nothing like those here in the US. In many countries, pornography is sold openly on the street. These missionaries need our prayer for their marriage.
Pray for souls to be saved. I know this is an obvious one, but great teachers don’t teach new truth as much as rehash information their students already know.
Pray for national leaders. As these missionaries plant churches, they don’t want the church to be dependent on American missionaries and American money. The church needs to be weaned off that supply and start acting independently. Key to this thought is native men stepping up to take leadership in the church- particularly one coming along who is qualified to be a pastor.