When You Don’t Know How to Pray for Missionaries

Praying for missionaries in these ways can help them remain focused on God’s mission and his glory.

One of the most common questions I receive as a missionary is, “How can we pray for you?”

While I’m certainly happy to share specific, up-to-date prayer requests for our family and ministry in Togo, I also know that it can be difficult to know how to pray for missionaries when you can’t be with them face to face. Here is a general guide on how to pray for the missionaries you know and partner with in ministry.

1. Pray for the glorification of God our Father

Rather than making the missionary the main topic of your prayer, major on the glory of God.

What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? They are servants through whom you believed, and each has the role the Lord has given. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth (1 Corinthians 3:5-7).

Pray that everything which occurs in the lives and ministries on the mission field be honoring to God the Father. Ask that the manner in which the ministries are conducted be God-glorifying. Pray that he would keep us away from pragmatism in our service to the King, but that we would be wholly dedicated to the magnification of God’s holy name. Ask God to display his holiness and love through the work of the ministry, and that through the ministry, many more people on the earth will come to know and worship the one true God.

2. Pray for us to keep our eyes on Jesus

Pray that the missionaries would grow to be more like Jesus and to properly represent him and his teachings to the people in the mission field.

For no one can lay any other foundation than what has been laid down. That foundation is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11).

Ask God that we be fully committed disciples of Jesus and daily bear our cross to follow him. Pray that missionaries would faithfully follow Jesus’ Great Commission. Ask God that we would not make disciples of ourselves but that we would train people to be Christ’s disciples and teach them to obey all that he has commanded us to do.

Pray that the family members of the missionaries would also be faithful disciples of Jesus. Ask God that the parents, siblings, children, and extended family of the missionaries would come to believe in Jesus the Messiah (if they have not yet done so), and that they would love and obey him. Pray that the family members of the missionaries would bring praise to God through their love for Jesus, his Son.

3. Pray for our wills to align with the Spirit of God

Pray for missionaries to serve God through the ministry of his Spirit in the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus throughout the world. Ask God for us to remain faithful to the infallible scriptures that are inspired by the Holy Spirit. Pray that we would mimic the work of the Spirit in pointing everyone to Jesus.

Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who comes from God, so that we may understand what has been freely given to us by God. We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people (1 Corinthians 2:12-13).

Pray that the Spirit of God would comfort and encourage us to persevere on the mission field. Ask God for his Spirit to guide us and sustain us to complete the work he has granted to us according to his principles. And finally, give thanks to God for his faithfulness in sending his Spirit to be with us, even to the ends of the earth.

I hope that this general guide to praying for missionaries will be helpful as you fill in the names and details of the families and ministries of missionaries who you know.

When you do pray for missionaries, please send them a note of encouragement to remind them of how you are praying for them. I’m sure that they will find it to be a blessing just as I have when many saints have reminded me of how they are praying for me, my family, and our ministries.

Andrew Paul Ward

Andrew Paul Ward is an ABWE missionary to Togo, West Africa, sent from Grace Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN. Andrew is the husband of Mary, father to Emmanuel, Cyrus, and Alethia. He holds a B.S. from Bob Jones University, an M.Div. from Temple Baptist Seminary, and an Ed.D. from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Support Andrew’s ministry.