I don’t know of a better way to welcome or dedicate a new year than in and through prayer. This week I will be posting a series titled “Seven Ways in Seven Days – How to Pray for Missionaries.” Each day I will focus on a practical and vital prayer need missionaries have.
Day One: Missionary Marriage
(My apologies to single missionaries, for whom a prayer post is indeed worthy. If you’d like to offer insight on crafting such a practical and subjective post, please contact me.)
It is no surprise that a quick search on the internet will reveal plentiful prayer lists for missionaries. What is surprising is that many of those lists (even from major missionary sending organizations!) do not include prayer for the missionary marriage. How lovely, theological, and eloquent those lists are. How lacking and a bit out-of-touch in the practical they are. A few that I stumbled across did indeed add a bulleted point for the missionary marriage, however, the point was usually (1) toward the end of the list or (2) often shrouded within a general family prayer point.
A bit biased, I assumed the writers of those lists have never been missionaries, or at least married missionaries. Having served as a cross-cultural missionary for nearly twenty years, I submit that the first and most vital point on a ‘how-to-pray-for-missionaries’ list ought to be the marriage of the missionary couple. If the marriage falters and fails, so does their ministry on the field. The domino effect of such a failure is protracted and widespread.
Missionary marriages face incredible stress for a variety of reasons; I will not address those in this post. Based on missionary experience, nearly twenty years of ours combined with many of our colleagues’, I simply ask you to trust me on this.
For this reason, the series Seven Ways in Seven Days, Practical Prayer for Missionaries begins with the most important missionary prayer need: the missionary marriage.
Practical prayers for missionary marriages:
- For both husband and wife to live spiritually healthy lives: that their individual walk with Christ and their overall spiritual formation stay active.
- Both the husband and wife to learn to grow together through transition, stress, loss, loneliness, rejections, and/or other effects of cross-cultural living.
- The conviction of the Holy Spirit in each of their lives…
- Of sin
- Of righteousness
- The missionary husband to love his wife with tenderness and understanding in spite of the challenges of cross-cultural living they both face. He may become desensitized amidst the difficulties.
- The missionary wife to respect and admire her husband despite the constant challenges of living outside her comfort zone. She may become resentful among the burdens of child-rearing and homemaking in a foreign culture.
- For the missionary couple to be intentional:
- In making time for their marriage, spending time together on date nights, walks, coffee times, etc.
- In growing their marriage.
- In prioritizing their marriage above ALL ELSE (including ministry, which can become a marriage killer).
- To pray together.
- To laugh together.
- For a supernatural covering over their relationship.
Do you know a missionary marriage for which you can pray right now? If so, pray the following prayer, inserting the name of the missionaries for whom you are praying:
Dear Heavenly Father, I pause a moment from my busyness and social media distractions to lift up to you my missionary friends __________ and ________. Help them Lord to keep their heart right and cleansed before you, filling them with a hunger and thirst for a deeper walk with you. Holy Spirit, you alone can penetrate the depths of each heart, convicting them of sin that needs to be dealt with, or of righteousness that draws them to the ways that please You. Help _____________ and ______________ to grow together, rather than apart, through the many challenges facing them. Give ___(husband)___ a tender heart toward ___(wife)___, helping him to live with her in an understanding way. Pour grace on ___(wife)___ to not become resentful in her own struggles, but to affirm ___(husband)___ in a respectful way. May you continually prompt them to make time for each other and to help them be intentional about growing their marriage. Remind __________ and _________ that their marriage is more important than any work or ministry they do, and that only by praying together can they truly be effective and powerful in their life. May the healing virtues of laughter permeate their relationship and their home. I ask for a supernatural covering over them, protecting them from the many onslaughts of the enemy. Thank you Lord for bringing ___________ and _________ together to serve You in the Gospel. Bless them, and make your Face shine upon them. In Jesus’ name I pray. 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