Praying for those we send
If you missed it, be sure to go back and watch or listen to our 2021 Missionary Commissioning Service, as we sent out two from our church family to take the gospel to the nations. As a part of that service, one of the things that our church family was charged with was to be diligent to pray for those we send, and today I want to encourage you to do just that. I want to both challenge you to make it a point to pray regularly for them, and I want to offer some help for the work of prayer.
To be successful in praying regularly for our missionaries, let me encourage you to do two easy things:
- Set a regular time for praying for them; and
- Pray specifically.
For the first, having a regular time where you are committed to pray for our missionaries will make it more likely that you regularly pray for our missionaries. For most of us, we do what we plan on doing. What we schedule, we accomplish. And on top of that, there’s something powerful about forming a habit that helps us keep going with that habit.
So set an alarm on your phone to remind you to pray at a certain time of day when you know you can give a few minutes for uninterrupted prayers. If you are a parent, involve your children in these prayers. Perhaps you set a personal time for early in the morning, but you also make it a point to pray regularly (daily or weekly) with your children for our missionaries. The regular, ongoing habit of praying for the advancement of the gospel to the nations through specific people who your children personally know will be incredibly powerful in their lives. If you are a Life Group leader or other Bible study leader, be sure your group regularly prays for them.
And when you pray, pray specifically.
I came across one of my old prayer journals recently, and when I opened it up, I saw this written inside: “Don’t expect specific answers to vague prayers.” I’m not sure if I heard that somewhere or read it in a book, but it struck me enough to write it in that journal, and it struck me again as I read it not long ago. Don’t expect specific answers to vague prayers. Let’s pray specifically for specific needs for those we send.
A great way to do that is to sign up for their newsletter. Pastor Rhett can help you get on that list; contact him by email to let him know. You can also sign up for the Pray for NAME app as a great way to pray for different people groups from the North Africa and Middle East region.
But also, we want to pray specific prayers from Scripture. We gave out a list of six biblical prayers for missionaries at the commissioning service. Those are included below, along with a few more. Print out these prayer points and keep them with your Bible or journal or whatever you have with you when you pray, and make it a point to pray regularly and pray specifically for those we have sent to take the gospel to the nations.
Praying for those we send
Pray that God’s guidance and presence would be evident to them daily:
It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
Pray that they would know even more the love of Christ:
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father … that you may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14–19)
Pray for open doors for the Word:
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ … that we may make it clear.… (Colossians 4:2–4)
Pray that God would give them boldness:
Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication … and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel. (Ephesians 6:18–19)
Pray that the Word of God would speed ahead through them:
Brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored… (2 Thessalonians 3:1)
Pray that God would save unbelievers through them:
Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. (Romans 10:1)
Pray that they would abide in Christ and bear much fruit:
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
Pray for their protection:
Pray … that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. (2 Thessalonians 3:2)
Pray that they would be strengthened by Christ for joyful endurance:
We have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will … so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy. (Colossians 1:9–11)
Pray for them to know that God is able to do even more through them than seems possible:
(He) is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us. (Ephesians 3:20)
Pray that God’s glory would always be their aim:
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)
Pray for others to be sent to join them in the work:
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:37–38)
Bert Watts has served since December 2016 as the Senior Pastor at Mountain Creek Baptist Church, where he has been on staff since 2012.