How can we more effectively pray for our missionaries? Dr. Ken Fielder, General Director of Worldview Ministries, recently taught on just this subject from our pulpit.
Here are some very straightforward and insightful guidelines in our praying for these choice but made-of-like-passion servants of Jesus:
The visible portion of an iceberg is a small part of the total. The density of ice is 90% percent of the density of water. That means an average of 90% of the iceberg is below the water’s surface.
The needs of a missionary can be likened to an iceberg. What we think of when we evaluate the work and life of a missionary is usually focused on the “visible” things. We focus on what is above the surface. But the great majority of their needs lies beneath the surface.
We usually judge the success of a missionary by these same “above the surface” issues. We certainly need to pray for these things in the missionary’s life. But what we often fail to realize is that what lies under the surface determines the success of what is above the surface.
Above the Surface
Language and culture acquisition
- Are they doing a good job learning the language?
- Are they adjusting to the culture?
Are they learning how to communicate with the people they are trying to reach?
Travel and entry strategies
Do they have a visa that will allow them to stay long term on the field?
Education of the children
- Are they homeschooling?
- Is there a school their children can attend?
- How is their support level?
- Are they struggling financially?
Adequate and appropriate training
- Are they prepared for what they will face on the field?
- MANY go to the field without adequate training for any of these issues.
Below the Surface
Consider the challenges YOU face here at home…
- to keep your heart right
- to keep you focus on the right things spiritually
- to keep your priorities right – stay faithful to church, tithe, Bible reading, devotions
EVERYTHING we deal with here, a missionary deals with there, BUT with the ADDED issues of foreign field work discussed above!
What is the condition of the missionary’s heart?
- Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.
- Pray that they will guard their hearts and stay close to the Lord.
- Pray that the difficulties of the mission field will not harden them.
How is their walk with the Lord?
- Philippians 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
- Pray for their spiritual, devotional life.
- Pray that they will learn to look to the Lord for help and strength.
- Pray that they will grow in their love for the Lord.
How is their family life?
- Pray for their marriage, their love for each other.
- Pray for their parenting, that they would raise their children to love the Lord.
- Pray their example on the field would show their children true submission and dedication to God.
How well are they coping with temptations?
- The greatest temptations may not be to do something they shouldn’t, but to neglect doing what they should.
- Do they know where they are morally vulnerable?
- Pray that they would recognize the pitfalls of the ministry and be protected from them.
Can they recognize the symptoms of burnout?
There will be times when the stress on their family will be so great that they need to come home to be refreshed. Pray they will recognize that.
All of God’s requirements can be summarized in two commands:
- Love God with your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
- Love your neighbor as yourself.
Our praying should focus on their relationship with God.
A missionary’s spiritual health and success does not depend on how well they know their mission field or their ministry, but how well they know their Lord!!!