Praying hands for world missions

"The man or woman at home who prays often has as much to do with the effectiveness of the missionary on the field, and consequently with the results of his or her labors, as the missionary." -- R. A. Torrey

How to pray for missionaries — Prayer and world missions

"Pray for us." -- Hebrews 13:18

Making your "concerts of prayer" effective: Praying for world evangelism's front-line workers

Want to know how to pray for those working to fulfill Jesus' Great Commission among those yet unreached?

drawing of a hand with fingers

Use your fingers as memory aids when you pray for missions. Here's how your five fingers can be prayer reminders:

  1. Thumb
    Since your thumb is nearest to you, begin by praying for those missionaries closest to you. They are the easiest ones to remember. C.S. Lewis said that praying for those we love is a "sweet duty."
  2. Index or pointing finder
    Let your "pointing finger" remind you to pray for missionaries who teach, instruct, and heal. This includes teachers, doctors, and evangelists. They need support and wisdom in order to point others in the right direction.
  3. Middle finger
    Our tallest finger reminds us of church leaders. We can never pray too much for them. Pray for those who supervise and direct global missionary outreach.
  4. Ring finger
    As any piano teacher will testify, the ring finger is our weakest finger. This weaker finger reminds us to pray for those missionaries who are discouraged, in trouble, or in pain. [ read more ]
  5. Little finger
    Our little finger is the smallest of the digits on our hands, which is where we should place our individual wants and desires in relation to world evangelism needs. The Bible says, "The least shall be the greatest among you." Let your pinkie remind you to pray for the people of the world who have the greatest need to find Jesus. Pray that they will open their eyes and see Him.

       --Author unknown

contributed by Bev Borbe, former general president of Nazarene Missions International

Intercessory prayer support is a key thing that believers in local churches can do to support world evangelism. "All movements of the Spirit in China, within our experience, may be traced to prayer," said Jonathan Goforth, missionary

Seven things all missionaries need . . . and for which people neglect to pray:

  1. Victory over mental stagnation
  2. Freshness in prayer and in Bible teaching
  3. Guidance in how to present the Gospel
  4. Deliverance from the temptation to pride
  5. Wisdom in relationships with other missionaries
  6. Strength to overcome temptations brought on by loneliness
  7. A saving sense of humor [ read more ]

Adapted from WorldTeam's brochure, "Praying for missionaries."

From a missionary: Specifics to pray for

When traveling . . .

Health and safety objectives

Spiritual watch-care objectives

Teamwork objectives

Bible verses to meditate on at prayer time

Portions adapted from an article by Gail Seiver in World Christian, Vol. 14, Number 4.

BLESS -- an acronym to guide your prayer for a missionary or for a people group

B -- Body
Prayer for physical health.
L - Labor.
Prayer for their ministry work.
E - Emotions.
Prayer for emotional health and well-being of the missionary or people group.
S - Social.
Prayer for their social relationships, their families and extended families. Pray that God will keep marriages together.
S - Spiritual.
Prayer for their spiritual health.

contributed by CMA missionary Lisa Miriam Rohrick

Will you join the 714 Club? -- an invitation

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will answer their prayers and heal their land."
--2 Chronicles 7:14

People everywhere are invited to join the 714 Club. The Club takes its name from 2 Chronicles 7:14. There are no meetings to attend and no dues to pay. There's only one rule: Club members agree to pray for Africa each day at 7:14 in the morning and again at 7:14 in the evening.

What should you pray for?

  1. Pray for the Africa Region Church of the Nazarene as it evangelizes that great continent, preaching and teaching scriptural holiness so that new Christians will be discipled.
  2. Pray that God will give vision for the directions to be taken in the future.
  3. Pray that God will give boldness and discernment to field strategy coordinators.
  4. Pray for missionaries as they carry out their specific ministries.
  5. Pray for the district superintendents across the African continent.
  6. Pray for the Bible college leaders, faculty and other educational staff as they train men and women for ministry.
  7. Pray that God will give each pastor, missionary and lay person across the Africa region strength and power to carry out the ministries in which He is calling churches to engage.

  — a plea by J. Fred Huff known in Africa as Dumisani Ndhlovu (the elephant that praises God) former Nazarene regional director for Africa, a region where the Church of the Nazarene now is present in every country and also has ministries within several of the cultural groups which missiologists consider to be unreached because of the small percentage of Christians within them.

For more on why we should pray for missions, go to the listing of Bible passages that illustrate how important world evangelism is to God

When cross-cultural missionaries become discouraged

What causes missionaries to feel discouragement?

Overload. Tension. Loneliness. Harassment.

"'I have had enough, Lord,' [Elijah] said, "I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." -- 1 Kings 19:4, 10

A missionary can be tempted to feel defeated because of one or more of the following situations:

Discouraged missionaries are very vulnerable to temptation. Discouragement is a reason missionaries drop out and return home from assignments. Successful coping with discouraging times can lower the missionary attrition or drop-out rate.

"I lie in the dust, completely discouraged; revive me by your word." --Psalm 119:25, The New Living Translation

Adapted from "20 Points on Praying for Missionaries" by WEC International

    -- Howard Culbertson,

"I may not end up being a goer, but I can still play a role in reaching the world for Christ by being a sender." -- Heather H., Nazarene Bible College student

Afterword: What to Pray For

Praying for cross-cultural Christian missionaries is essential if they are to fulfill their divine call and help birth thriving church-planting movements "where the church is not yet." Here is a comprehensive list of suggestions to help you pray meaningfully for missionaries:

More for you on prayer

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