Today is the National Day of Prayer in the United States. This is a day that is designated by Congress and set aside for the nation to turn to the Lord in prayer. While our lives should be marked by prayer throughout the year, a National Day of prayer gives us an occasion to highlight the importance of praying for our country. It also gives us an opportunity to highlight the importance of prayer… period.
As a missions agency, Reaching and Teaching has the privilege of partnering with local churches as they send some of their brightest and best to the ends of the earth. These missionaries are prayed for during weekend services, prayer meetings, and around dinner tables throughout the week. Their prayer cards cover our fridges and hold places in our Bibles. We know that we should pray for our missionaries, but what should we pray for on behalf of our missionaries?
1 Corinthians 3:6-7, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”
In honor of our missionaries, and on this National Day of Prayer, let’s pray the following for the missionaries we love around the world:
1. Faithfulness & Fruitfulness
Paul knew that it was God who gave the growth, but he also knew that it was his responsibility to be faithful to the mission that the Lord had given him. Pray that the missionaries you know will be faithful in planting and watering – in evangelism and discipleship. Pray that God would glorify Himself by bearing fruit in the ministry of those who are serving around the world. He is the Lord of the harvest (Matthew 9:38).
2. Evangelistic opportunities
Paul told the Corinthians that he planted and Apollos watered. Often, missionaries are presenting the good news of salvation to people for the very first time, the ministry of “planting” Gospel seeds. Other times, they are following up with individuals who have heard the Gospel before, and are “watering” Gospel seeds. Pray for boldness for missionaries to share the Gospel with those they meet. Pray for relationships to present opportunities for missionaries to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Finally, pray for opportunities to water the Gospel seeds that may have been sown days, months, or even years ago, that they might bear fruit.
3. Healthy churches
Paul wrote the words above to an unhealthy church that was facing internal disunity and external attacks. Pray for the churches that your missionaries are a part of overseas. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul wrote that “through the church, the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places”(3:10). Not only does a healthy local church declare God’s glory in its neighborhood, but it declares God’s glory to the entire universe, seen and unseen. Pray for the regular preaching of God’s Word and the unity of His people.
Paul knew that it is the Lord who gives the growth. He knew that only the Lord gives the growth. We know how quickly pride manifests itself in our own hearts as we seek to minister to those around us. Pray that the missionaries in your life will be able to understand their role, their teammates’ roles, and live in a humble awareness that it is only the Lord who saves sinners.
In recent weeks, we’ve heard of churches attacked around the world. This is not a new thing. In 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2, Paul writes, “Pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith.” Since its beginning, the Church has faced much opposition, as it shares the Gospel with the world. Pray that the Lord would protect not only the missionaries you love, but also our brothers and sisters around the world as they gather to worship.