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Praying for Missionaries

Workers on mission fields do not need your pity, but they desperately need your prayers. Talk to missionaries and you will find they have this in common: an unshakable confidence in the power of prayer. Praying for them is the best thing you can do for them, but sometimes it is easy to forget. Christians are more likely to pray about physical trials such as sickness and persecution than about spiritual battles. When prayer is neglected, support is decreased. Of course, you do not want to be guilty of neglecting to pray for missionaries. Here are some principles to guide you in becoming a real missionary prayer warrior.

1. Find out all you can about the missionary for whom you are praying. Missionary life in the city is markedly different than that of missionary life in the jungle. Remember this when you pray.

2. Pray regularly. Do not wait for some heart-tugging story to stimulate you to pray.

3. Be specific in prayer. "Lord bless all the missionaries" is not enough! Write and ask the missionary his needs. Often you may be able to meet them. Do not expect the more intimate problems that characterize the mission field to make the pages of the monthly prayer letter. It is difficult to write home about personal defeat or discouragement, impossible to write about government obstacles lest they be expelled from the country, and even when they write, these matters are only mentioned to very intimate friends and prayer warriors. Make yourself available to such information by letting them know that you do not consider any request for prayer too small or too large.

4. Try to anticipate needs. Think of the spiritual problems that plague you. Perhaps they are bothering the missionary. If you wait until you hear of a need, often it is already past.

5. Be persistent and persevering in prayer. When you pray for something that requires a specific answer, do not stop until you know that the answer has come. Praise the Lord and continue praying for new needs.

6. Pray for victory over mental stagnation caused by lack of time for reading and study; for freshness in prayer and Bible teaching in the absence of an inspired preacher of the Word nearby to offer a spiritual "refreshing;" for guidance in how to present the Gospel to some person with whom the missionary may have a fleeting contact; for deliverance from the temptation of pride as the national looks up to the missionary as "the last word" in knowledge and Christian example; for wisdom in relationships with other missionaries; for strength to overcome the test of loneliness; and for understanding in dealing wisely with nationals, many of whom are assuming the leadership of churches.