Recently, my mother shipped me a book called “Out of it in Africa” by LeRoy & Judy Curtis. In this book, a pair of missionaries to Kenya recall their journey and share their newsletters from the time they spent in the mission field. In one particular newsletter, one of their team members quoted an article by Wayne Huff titled “How to Pray for Missionaries.” Wayne writes of the seven specific prayer requests written by Paul in his epistles. I obviously found this very applicable, and ask that you consider praying in these specific ways. Below I quote from “Out of it in Africa” and share the words that might guide us all in prayer. As the book says, “A praying person is a partner with the missionary.”
Pray for open doors:
Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving, meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ (Colossians 4:2-3) Open doors cannot be taken for granted; therefore, missionaries and Christian workers will be led by the Holy Spirit to prepare hearts to receive the Word and the servants of God to bring that Word. Pray that God will open doors of opportunity, doors of ministry, doors of blessing, and doors of friendship, and that the servants of God will recognize and step through those open doors.
Pray for boldness:
Praying always with all prayers and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel (Ephesians 6:18-19). Paul asks three different times in his epistles that believers pray that he will have boldness. Why was boldness so important to Paul? Why should we pray that missionaries and Christian leaders will have boldness? Attempting to function effectively in a strange culture, in a strange language, and in settings to which one is unaccustomed requires boldness to overcome the opposition of evil forces, the fear of failure, and for moving into an unknown environment.
Pray that the word of God will have free course:
Finally brethren, pray for us that the Word of the Lord may have free course (2 Thessalonians 3:1). Obstacles have to be removed if the Word of God is to flow freely. If the Word of God is to go forward unobstructed, Satan, who is determined to obstruct the free flow of the gospel, must be bound (James 4:7; Ephesians 6:10-18). The weary arms of Christian workers must be uplifted by intercessors, and closed minds and hearts may then be open to pay attention to the Word of God.
Pray for protection and deliverance:
Pray… that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith (2 Thessalonians 3:2). How was Paul delivered from stoning, shipwrecks, beatings, whippings, mobs, and snakebite? Believers were praying for his safety! Christian workers need prayer for protection and deliverance from Satan’s murderous onslaughts, and from wicked people who are capable of outrageous, unreasonable conduct.
Pray that the worker’s ministry will be accepted by believers:
Pray… that my service (ministry) for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the Saints (Romans 15:31). If believers do not heartily welcome and accept a Christian worker’s ministry, his work will be hindered. Cooperations, as well as emotional and financial support, may be withheld. Therefore, believers should pray that the worker’s ministry will be worthy to be received, and that the believers for whom that worker labors will appreciate and receive his or her ministry.
Pray for divine guidance and assistance in travel:
Pray… that I may come to you with joy by the will of God (Romans 15:32). Most missionaries and Christian leaders are constantly traveling, and their mode of transportation varies: Jets, ships, helicopters, boats, canoes, buses, horses, bicycles, Jeeps… even hiking. Often these travels involve stressful situations: great distances, border crossings, obtaining visas, money for tickets, bad weather, robberies, or life-threatening situations engineered by political activists. Therefore, believers must not forget to pray for the protection, provision, timing, and permission urgently needed by Christian workers as they travel.
Pray for refreshment:
Pray that I… may be refreshed together with you (Romans 15:32). Loneliness, fatigue, health problems, discouragement, and disappointment may cause the missionary or Christian leader to doubt God or the call of God upon his or her life. Therefore, believers should pray that Christian workers will seek and receive refreshing infillings of the Holy Spirit and that the workers will develop discipline in studying God’s Word and in maintaining effective consistent prayer lives. In addition, believers should pray that Christian workers will be enabled to exchange rich, spiritual fellowship with other believers, and that the necessary time and finances for spiritual retreats and urgently needed vacations will be made available. And don’t forget: a letter, gift, tape, or book from a praying helper might be used by the Spirit to bring refreshment to a Christian worker’s weary spirit. Paul was himself a missionary and Christian leader, so he knew the Christian workers’ greatest needs.
This newsletter was written in January of 1991. Thank God that His word is as unchanging, and that these references to His Word are as valid today as they were back when people would send cassette tapes to the missionaries they supported. Please join us in prayer over these specific items, not only for us, but for other missionaries and Christian leaders who are actively engaged in ministry both at home and abroad. Thanks for your continued prayer and financial support.
Grace and peace,
Jarid Sinkler and Family