Fulfilling the Great Commission requires a lot of time, effort and resources—but it all begins with prayer. When it comes down to it, prayer is a gift that every Christian can give to missionary work around the world.
Not only does prayer help align missions work with God’s will and empower evangelism, but it also helps quicken us to missions. It is virtually impossible to pray regularly for missions and missionaries and not grow in our passion for sharing the gospel worldwide.
We’ve put together these tips to help guide your prayers for missionaries.
1. Pray for workers
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” — Matthew 9:36–38
When we think of missions, we tend to focus on people traveling around the world sharing the gospel. But the work requires so many people to share their talents and skills. Mission work needs administrators, translators, supporters, content creators and more.
We want to pray that the people with these kinds of skills develop a passion for international evangelism—and that we would be open to God moving us in that direction as well.
2. Pray for opportunities
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
There are many countries around the world that are resistant to the gospel. This represents a significant area for prayer. We must pray for ministry opportunities in these closed countries and for the resources and workers to respond swiftly.
We can pray for opportunities in other ways, too. We want to pray for the formation of new partnerships and new strategies. We also want to pray that people can recognize them when they present themselves and that the parties involved can make the most of these opportunities in the most productive and God-honoring ways possible.
3. Pray for empowerment
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” — Acts 1:8
Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to empower the church for disciple-creating work. But it’s always a challenge to bring ourselves and our skills to the task without completely trusting in our own plans and abilities to bring the work to fruition.
The most effective ministry is Spirit-led and Spirit-empowered, and while it’s not always easy for us to discern where human striving ends and God’s sanctification begins, the Lord knows. So pray that missionaries around the world will be in step with the Spirit. Pray that missions work is being done through God’s guidance and power.
4. Pray for clear communication
“Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.” — Ephesians 6:19
Cross-cultural evangelism requires more than an ability to communicate in another language. It’s about understanding another culture’s felt needs and desires and feeling equipped to communicate the gospel in a way that answers their questions.
Missionaries often find themselves in positions where courage is needed, but they also need to be able to make clear the “mystery of the gospel” in cultures that have never heard about Jesus—or to people who might not realize they have such a need. Pray for the sensitivity to empathize with others and an ability to courageously communicate the gospel in a way that does it justice.
5. Pray for perseverance
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. — Galatians 6:9
Missions work is complex and the number of missionaries who leave their calling because of low morale, lack of funding, fatigue and other reasons is incredibly high. We can support them in their work in many practical ways, and prayer is one of the most important.
In talking about his missionary work, Paul said, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8–9). And while we definitely don’t want missionaries to feel crushed, perplexed and abandoned, we do want to pray for supernatural tenacity to stick to it when things get rough and that they’ll see fruit when they do.
Pray for the work of Jesus Film Project
Jesus Film Project® and our partners are working hard at creating and translating Jesus-centered films into tools for sharing the gospel worldwide. We’re so grateful for people like you who walk alongside us in prayer that God will continue opening doors for new partnerships and ministry opportunities.
If you’re interested in ways to pray for and with Jesus Film Project, check out our prayer page!