Author: Lewis McClendon, BCMN Missions
I believe the greatest gift a church member can give a missionary is prayer. The finances needed to go a mission field and preach the gospel are important, but not more important than prayer.
Paul knew the value of prayer warriors. In Paul’s writings in the New Testament he asked for prayer five times. Every Christian should passionately and regularly pray for their missionaries because of four results only achieved through prayer.
Result #1 – Boldness Ephesians 6:19
Paul requested that his prayer warriors pray for him to have the boldness needed to open his mouth and proclaim the mystery of the gospel. Boldness means fearless or confident freedom in speaking. Wherever Paul went he was in the minority. In a pagan world he needed the fearlessness to confidently tell people the good news.
Result #2 – Open Doors Colossians 4:3-4
Only prayer can open doors for the gospel. Paul had a passion to reach the lost. There is no telling what would happen in our world if we had Paul’s passion for the lost. But Paul knew he could not open someone’s heart for the gospel, and he wanted to be ready to act when God did. When Paul was in prison in Philippi, he was praying and singing when an earthquake hit. In that earthquake Paul saw God opening a door of opportunity to reach the jailer. As the jailer drew his sword to kill himself, Paul told him
there was no reason to do that because the prisoners were still there. His focus was not personal comfort – escape; his focus was on an opportunity to witness that came about because Paul’s prayer warriors were praying God would open doors for Paul to witness.
Result #3 – The gospel will spread rapidly II Thessalonians 3:1
Paul knew that if people prayed the Word would spread quickly throughout the world. We see from Paul’s travels that he got to see that happen. But Paul knew why. It was not just because he was traveling the world; it was in answer to his prayer warriors’ prayers.
Result #4 – Deliverance from those who oppose the gospel. II Thessalonians 3:2
Paul dealt with people who put up every road block they could. Missionaries face the same problem today. Countries are finding more ways to block missionaries from their country through visa restrictions. Families are using every tactic to keep a family member from trusting Christ as Savior. Paul knew the only answer to this is passionate, regular prayers of prayer warriors.
In Romans 15:30 Paul asked the Romans to strive together with him in prayers. Strive is an athletic word meaning to work hard together in a team sport. Ministry is not an individual activity. Paul is inviting people to get out of the stands and join him in the arena by praying for him. Spectators are not needed. When you pray for your missionaries you are jointly working hard together to reach the people God has called them to.
These four results can only be achieved through prayer. In I Thessalonians 5:25 Paul said it best. “’Brethren, pray for us.”