Week of Prayer for International Missions, Day Eight—Why Prayer Matters

No matter what the story is, whether it’s a family planting a church in a doctor’s office in Japan or a young man sharing truth over coffee with university students in Mexico City, IMB president David Platt asserts two things are true: God is at work through missionaries around the world. And praying for them matters.

“This isn’t just a rushed or mechanical exercise. God has ordained our prayer as a means to accomplish His purpose in the world,” David said. “We’ve got to be aware that our praying for boldness for missionaries is actually going to affect whether or not they have boldness. God ordained it that way. When we pray, God works.”

“God has ordained our prayer as a means to accomplish His purpose in the world.”

And missionaries need that support as they work in places where darkness has long had a foothold, he said. “To go into a place among a people and a culture that’s never known the gospel and say, ‘You need to think totally differently about who you are and the world around you,’ and ask them to change their worldview—that’s a complicated task.”

He offered some real and powerful ways to pray for missionaries year round.

  • PRAY FOR missionaries to invest quality time in God’s Word and in walking intimately with Him. Pray for them to be confident to preach God’s Word not just to do relief work or learn culture well but also to speak truth with boldness, no matter the circumstances.
  • PRAY FOR the gospel to be clear through missionaries’ lives and words and for God to open hearts. Ask God to give them success in sharing the gospel with others, and they would see disciples made and churches planted.
  • PRAY FOR missionaries to be at peace with other believers, and Satan would not have success in attacking families, friends, and ministry partners. Pray for them to establish strong relationships on the field as well as back home so that they can be focused on the task.
  • PRAY FOR missionaries to be able to clearly identify the leaders whom God desires to raise up from among the people they serve. Ask that missionaries would have the time, energy, and willingness to focus on those emerging leaders.
  • PRAY FOR missionaries to possess joy when they suffer, kindness when they are slandered, and patience when things are hard. Pray for God to help them persevere; fighting the battle for souls is hard, but it’s worth it.

Grace Thornton is the author of the book I Don’t Wait Anymore: Letting Go of Expectations and Grasping God’s Adventure for You. She writes for the International Mission Board, Baptist Press and other Southern Baptist ministries and blogs at gracefortheroad.com.