Earlier this week, I waved goodbye to my wife and two of our children as they set-out for a one-week mission project in Western Canada. Each had a bulging suitcase and a bulging heart; the latter full of happy anticipation. Seeing them off, I began to think about what prayers I should pray to cover their hearts and to partner with the Holy Spirit in their work.
Just maybe, someone you know will carry love and the Gospel this summer to a different culture, state, or country. I hope these six ideas serve your commitment to go to the Father on their behalf.
1. Pray for the spiritual fruit of new Believers.
This must be the hope and goal of missions—both long-term and short-term. Let there be new worshipers of Jesus! Rescue the perishing!
Ask God to open spiritual eyes to see His marvelous grace. Let’s pray that men and women believe in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins. “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.” (Romans 10:1 ESV)
2. Pray for encouraged local church members and leaders.
In many cases, our friends will show up to lend a one-week hand to faithful missionaries, church leaders, and church members who call this mission location “home” every week of the year. Some are weary. Some are discouraged. Some feel forgotten on the field. Let’s pray that God puts encouraging words into the mouths of our friends. Let’s pray that the injection of help, the breaking of bread, and the comfort of common faith leave the local Believers refueled and re-energized by week’s end.
3. Pray for the experience of being used by God.
It is a humbling thing to consider that God can and will use our flawed selves to accomplish His purposes. Our friends need to feel that. Ask God to empower their words and to establish the work of their hands. This will encourage the friends who boarded bus or plane with a nagging sense of unworthiness and ill-preparedness. This will embolden the friends who live bullied by their own insecurities and fear. When God uses someone in service to the Kingdom, that someone learns that God is extra-generous, extra-gracious, and eager to work through ordinary people. Ask God to use them! “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” (Psalm 90:17 ESV)
4. Pray for a sanctifying dependence on the Holy Spirit.
Bodies become fatigued from long travel, long days, and hard work. Hearts become discouraged in the face of vast cultural differences. Young Believers experience palpitations when it is their turn to share the Gospel. Almost always, mission projects provide great opportunities for learning to rely on the Holy Spirit. At the end of their abilities and strength, the ones we love will watch the Spirit do the heavy lifting. Let’s pray they are sanctified (matured) through this; learning how much they need His presence and filling. Let’s pray they return to us with a little more depth to their faith and a little more determination to live each day in the power of the Spirit.
5. Pray for a palpable burden for people back home.
While our friends are away, may the Lord implant vision in their hearts for Gospel fruit back home. Ask God to hassle them with specific names and faces; people they need to seek-out and speak-to once the trip is over.
6. Pray for the frustration of Satan’s schemes.
All mission work is warfare. The ones we love are now at the front lines. Satan has plans to disrupt the good work with temptations, sickness, disharmony, changing plans, or outright violence as persecution. Let’s cover the workers by praying about each of these possibilities. Don’t talk to Satan, talk to the One who has and will overcome. Ask the Lord to expose the lie in each temptation, to prevent or cure sickness, to evaporate disharmony, to produce patience when plans change, and to provide courage to suffer well if it comes to that. Pray hard. Pray often. Souls are at stake, not just a smooth trip.
What are some other prayers to lift up on behalf of those who go to the ends of the earth? Use the comment section below to share some of your ideas.
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