Part one of how to support missionaries is all about financial support, and in case you are interested and missed it, you can read about it here.
This post is about the most important thing way you can support missionaries, or anybody for that matter – by praying for them and the people they are living among.
Prayer is the greatest weapon we have at our disposal. Think about it. What is prayer? Prayer is coming before God with our requests, petitions, supplications. We can read that and keep on going along our merry way or we can stop and let it sink in to our bones. We have the privilege, given to us by God’s good grace through Christ, to come before the LORD God , requesting Him to move, to act, to answer not just on our behalf but on the behalf of others. There is no god that man worships that when they call on his/her name responds, except Yahweh.
While, money helps missionaries stay “on the field” and do the work, prayer is what gets the work done. Prayers for the Holy Spirit to work, awaken, move, cultivate, sanctify are what make the difference, in my humble opinion, between the Gospel being spread and received like seeds that are sown on good soil versus the Gospel falling on deaf or unwilling ears, like seeds that are sown on the side of the road or among the thorns. We can preach, teach, share, disciple all day but unless the Holy Spirit moves in a person there will be no life change. These are the prayers missionaries are praying – it’s what we plead with Him to do – to change peoples’ lives.
The apostle Paul understood the importance of prayer and wrote much about it.
To the Romans, he wrote:
“Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, that I may be rescued from those who are disobedient in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may prove acceptable to the saints; so that I may come to you in joy by the will of God and find refreshing rest in your company.”* Romans 15:30-32
Paul urged the Ephesian church to pray for all the “saints” and also for him, that he might speak the gospel with boldness:
“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel….”* Ephesians 6:18-19
He again asked the church in Philippi to pray for deliverance:
“…for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ….”*Philippians 1:19
He asked for prayer for an open door to preach the gospel from the Colossians church:
“…praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned….”* Colossians 4:3
The writer of Hebrews asked for prayers on his and others behalf that they might be honorable in all their conduct.
“Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things.”* Hebrews 13:18
Perhaps our greatest example of praying for others can be found in John 17 as the Son prays to the Father on the behalf of the disciples and all who would believe in Him because of the words the disciples preached.
” I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours; and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them. I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.… I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth….I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.”* John 17
There are days when you feel the prayers of others. It covers you like a warm blanket. I love getting messages from people that let me know they are praying for me that day. It encourages me, lifts me, and reminds me to pray for others.
Prayer is what keeps us going, keeps us sustained.
There is just nothing more powerful than people fighting the fight with you through prayer.
So stay on your knees. Life change depends on it.