Day 6: Missionary Relationships/Conflicts
Peacemakers are people who breathe grace. They draw continually on the goodness and power of Jesus Christ and then bring his love, mercy, forgiveness, strength, and wisdom to the conflicts of daily life.” Ken Sande
Where there are relationships, there are conflicts. Our first example of conflict on the mission field begins with the apostle Paul. Biographical reading of missionaries like Carey, Livingstone, and Taylor – to name a few – all reveal conflicts in their relationships. This topic, therefore, is a worthy one for which to pray over the missionaries you know.
With whom might missionaries have conflicts?
1. Their sending organization (the mission board). This may be for reasons such as lack of pastoral care, lack of decentralization (decision making only at top ranks or home office), insufficient training, mishandling of crises, or lack of being heard in difficult situations.
2. Their family, namely spouse. Conflict is common in any family, but dynamics shift in cross cultural living. The married couple faces increased potential for conflict as typically their ministry base (office) is in their home, and the couple spends more time together.
3. Other missionaries. Personality differences, trust issues, jealousy, being overly dogmatic, inferiority, differences in vision (goals), or other sensitive issues can cause rifts between coworkers or colleagues.
4. National church. Most obvious here would include cultural differences in thought, judgement, and basic values. Policies, finances, and job descriptions (expectations) also are ingredients for conflict.
How to pray for missionary relationships:
- That there would be mutual respect and trust with all the relationships mentioned above.
- That each one would pray for the other BEFORE conflict arises, or pray sincerely and humbly for the one with whom conflict has arisen.
- That the missionary would submit to Christ-like character formation through the conflict.
- That the missionary would ask for and grant forgiveness.
- For open communication between both parties.
- That the missionary would be a peacemaker.
- That the missionary’s goal would be to seek reconciliation versus “winning” the conflict.
Gracious Father, today I pray for ____________________ and his/her various relationships on the field. Please let there be mutual respect and trust between ____________________ and his/her family, colleagues, the national church, and the home office. Prompt ____________________ to pray for the people in those relationships, knowing that you miraculously soften the heart of an intercessor toward the one for whom they are praying. I don’t know today what conflicts _________________________ may be dealing with, but I ask that your Holy Spirit intervene and bring conviction and resolution. May ____________________ humble himself/herself to pray sincerely for any with whom he/she may be quarreling. Holy Spirit, encourage ____________________ to submit to your formation of Christ-like character through the conflict, humbling himself/herself to ask for and grant forgiveness. Give ____________________ the ability to communicate well with whom the offense has occurred. May his/her desire be to pursue peace and to breathe grace. Above all, may Your name be glorified as ____________________ seeks reconciliation of the relationship versus having to be proven right. Free him/her, Lord, to allow your Spirit to flow unobstructed and powerfully as he/she works in your harvest. Amen.
Seven Ways in Seven Days – How to Pray Practically for Missionaries Series:
Day 1 Missionary Marriage
Day 2 MKs
Day 4 Their Personal Life
Day 5: Their Ministry
Day 6: Relationships/Conflicts