Praying for missionaries is something many people talk about, but what specifically should we pray for? One of the biggest things to remember is that missionaries  are normal people who go through many of the same problems and frustrations in life as people back home. Yet, if a missionary is on a foreign field or working with a different culture, those frustrations are magnified several times.
It would be nice to think that missionaries are above many of the problems that normal church people face, but it just isn’t true. Just because someone is a missionary does not mean they are free from problems. Therefore we should pray  for them in the same way we need others to pray for us.
Here are 10 ways you can more effectively pray for missionaries.
2 Thessalonians 3:1, 2 “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.”
God’s Word Would be Effective
The idea behind the phrase “free course” that Paul uses is that God’s Word would travel freely and accomplish its purpose. This purpose can be hindered when people are spiritually blinded to what God is trying to teach. Pray for missionaries that they will be able to communicate the message of the Bible in a clear way so that people can understand it.
God’s Word Would be Glorified
One of the first steps towards gaining an understanding of the Bible is to respect it. God’s Word can lose respect in the minds of the hearers if they start to doubt the truth of it. One of the fastest ways for the Bible to come into disdain among the people listening to it being preached is for the missionary to do something that would tear down that respect. Pray that missionaries live right and respect God  so that they will have a good testimony and influence on the way people perceive the Bible.
Protection from Wicked Men
While our warfare is with “principalities” and “powers” and not with people; but, many times the way the “rulers of the darkness of this world” (Ephesians 6:12 ) reveal their work is through people. Pray that the missionaries you support will be protected  from people who would seek to harm them spiritually and physically. Your missionaries are on the front lines of a spiritual battle. They need to be strengthened and held up through prayer.
Right Relationship With God
Missionaries must have a good relationship with God and the Bible so that they can teach from a point of confidence and authority. Pray that the missionaries will have a desire to study and learn from God’s Word. They need to have a passion to learn so that they can teach. They need to have a good prayer relationship with God. It is easy to get discouraged on the field and think you are all alone. With a healthy relationship with God, they will feel less isolated.
Right Relationship With Their Family
We expect missionaries to be more mature in their relationship with their spouse. Unfortunately, that isn’t always true. Pray that missionary couples will cultivate their relationship with one another. Pray that missionary moms and dads will love , respect and emotionally bolster their children. The relationship within the missionary’s family is a great example to the people they serve. Or, it can be used to destroy any type of spiritual progress the missionary might otherwise be making.
Right Relationship With the Country
Many countries welcome missionaries, but not all do. In fact, you may be praying for missionaries who are always in danger of losing their ability to minister. They may have been allowed in the country, but the officials are looking for any reason to send the missionary home. Many times government paperwork is interpreted differently by each person who handles it. A missionary can be told one set of rules and regulations for paperwork one day just to have it all contradicted when they arrive with the papers the next day. Political and economic situations can change at any moment. Pray that the missionary will be able to stay in the country to perform the task God has called him to.
Right Relationship With Other Missionaries
It is sad to say, but many missionaries leave the field because of interpersonal relationship problems with other missionaries. Even if they don’t leave and come home, their ministry is limited because they can’t get along with others. What kind of testimony does that show to the people the missionary is trying to reach? Before you say missionaries should just grow up and be mature, think about how many times you have struggled with personality problems in the workplace. Pray that God would help the missionaries to work well with their missionary brothers and the people they have been called to serve.
Language and Communication Skills
Pray that your missionaries will be able to communicate well. They need to learn the language and the culture that is entwined in their words. Without good language skills a missionary will struggle to communicate the Bible. Not every missionary will be a great orator in their new language, but you can pray that God will give them the skills they need to teach the Bible and not offend the listeners because of lack of cultural knowledge and language skills.
Physical and Emotional Needs
With the new language and culture often comes a new climate. While life on a tropical island may sound divine, it usually brings with it disease and physical labor that may be foreign to the missionary. While a missionary should not spend all of his time “just trying to live” it is often true that many environments require a lot of time spent to do basic tasks. When you get frustrated standing in line for 20 minutes remember your missionary friends would love to have a line that short to wait in.
Pray For Missionaries To Have Effective Ministry
Pray for an effective ministry. God is the one who grants the harvest. Some fields will yield a great harvest of souls and churches planted while others are barren but in need of the Gospel. Wherever God calls the missionary , pray that they will be faithful and effective in communicating God’s Word.
Do you have missionary friends you can pray for? If not talk to you pastor about missionary families your church supports and begin praying for them. Maybe your church supports many more missionaries than you can effectively pray for. Take a few at a time and learn about their needs through their website or prayer letters and lift them up to the throne of God on a regular basis.
Here is another article you might enjoy about prayer:
The Holy Bible, King James Version