Pray for Missionaries: Seven Topics for Prayer from the Apostle Paul

1.  Pray for Open Doors

“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; 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 4:2-3, nasb).

Open doors can’t be taken for granted.  Many missionaries work in difficult-access countries or in areas that are resistant to the Gospel.  But “open doors” include more than access to nations and people groups.  Individuals’ hearts also need to be opened and receptive to God’s truth.

·         Pray that God will open doors of ministry, blessing partnerships and friendships.

·         Pray that those who serve will be lead by the Holy Spirit and recognize open-door opportunities.

·         Pray that God will lead His people past the barriers to hearts prepared to receive His Word.

2.  Pray for Boldness in Witness

“…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 6:19, nasb).

Missionaries are regular people who fear pain and rejection as much as anyone else.  When faced with opposition, they need God’s strength to help them stand firm.

·         Pray that missionaries will have boldness to overcome the fear of embarrassment or failure.

·         Pray that the Spirit will provide them with words that communicate effectively in other cultures and languages.

·         Pray that God will thwart the opposition of evil forces so the mystery of the Gospel can be known.

3.  Pray that God’s Word Will Spread

“Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you…” (2 Thes. 3:1, nasb)

Obstacles must be removed to allow God’s Word to spread rapidly and freely.  Removing obstacles implies resolute resistance in spiritual warfare.  Just as Aaron and Hur supported Moses’ arms in the battle against the Amalekites (Exodus 17:12), you can support the weary arms of missionaries through your prayers.

·         Pray for strength and stamina as missionaries encounter antagonistic spiritual forces. (Ephesians 6:10-18)

·         Pray that Satan, who is determined to obstruct the spread of the Gospel, will be resisted. (James 4:7)

·         Pray that God’s Word will be indeed spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes.

4.  Pray for protection

“…and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith”

(2 Thessalonians 3:2, nasb).

Open doors in difficult-access countries may also open the possibility of danger and personal harm for missionaries who enter those areas.  People resistant to the Gospel sometimes express their resistance in direct and harmful ways.

Pray that God will keep the Christian workers safe from those who might seek to harm them.  

·         Pray that God will change the hearts of those who are resistant to His word and to people who share the Gospel.

5.  Pray for Their Ministry

“…that I may be rescued from those who are disobedient in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may prove acceptable to the saints…” (Romans 15:31, nasb).

Cooperation and partnership are essential to ministry and vital to the progress of the work.

·         Pray that the missionary’s ministry and attitude will be worthy of acceptance.

·         Pray that colleagues and fellow believers will be supportive.

6.  Pray for God’s Guidance

“…so that I may come to you in joy by the will of God” (Romans 15:32, nasb).

Many missionaries travel frequently both nationally and internationally.  Their mode of transportation varies from country to country and often involves stressful situations.

·         Pray for clear guidance from God regarding travel decisions.

·         Pray for protection during their travels.

·         Pray for adequate provisions and permission to travel where it’s necessary.

7.  Pray for Refreshment

“…and find refreshing rest in your company” (Romans 15:32, nasb).

Missionaries deal with many of the same stresses you face in life, like overwhelming workloads, conflicts in relationships and financial uncertainties.  Often, however, missionaries struggle with these issues alone, without the fellowship and support of other Christians.  Living and working cross-culturally adds an additional element that can deplete their emotional, spiritual and physical vitality.

·         Pray that God will provide opportunities for missionaries in remote or difficult areas to spend time with other believers.

·         Pray that God will provide times of peace and relaxation to refresh His workers.

·         Pray that God will encourage missionaries with the knowledge that people back home care about them.

Partners in prayer

The apostle Paul was a missionary and a man of prayer.  He prayed for those without Christ, for the believers and for the new churches established under his ministry.

Paul also asked the believers to pray for him:  “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…” (Romans 15:30, nasb).

 Paul knew prayer would bring results:

“…you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many…”  (2 Corinthians 1:11, nasb).

In his letters, Paul gave specific prayer requests for which believers should pray.  As a prayer partner with those who are called to go, you, too, will have an impact that can reach around the world.  Paul’s prayer requests can serve as a tool for praying with effectiveness and understanding.