The following is a brief outline of suggested topics and themes that need to be saturated with prayer lest the evil one gain an inroad into the life of a servant:
SPIRITUAL LIFE: The key to an effective ministry is the power of the Holy Spirit guiding and filling one’s life. The sensitive conscience to the Spirit’s urgings and conviction of outward and/or inward disobedience requires a broken spirit and submissive will. The missionary will be tempted to not trust the Lord, cut corners financially, morally, and ethnically to accomplish his goals. When he believes his identity and reputation are tied to his goals then the temptation becomes greater. The enemy will use discouragement and discontent in his attack.
THE QUITE TIME: One’s spiritual life is maintained by abiding in the Lord and in His Word on a daily basis. Vital to this process is an unhurried prayer and Bible study time seeking to understand the application of His commands to our lives, speaking to God with transparency while listening to His Spirit’s conviction in private areas.
DISCIPLINE: In a busy life there needs to be balance and the right use of time so that there may be a healthy life, including physical, mental and spiritual aspects. Pray for consistency in spiritual disciplines and accountability with someone.
PROTECTION: The missionary does not lead a sheltered life and should not seek it. Risks vary in different parts of the world, so pray for wisdom. In all situations and journeys the Lord can protect and for this end prayer should be lifted up to the throne.
RELATIONSHIPS: Right attitudes, actions and reactions to others are vital. The enemy loves to destroy relationships through gossip, misunderstandings, critical and judgmental reactions. The work is done with other missionaries, and national Christians, as well as living among non-believers and interacting with leaders, shamans, and government officials. The missionary must have no favorites. He must have the grace to discern broken relationships, to admit failures and put wrongs right. The missionary must discern how to serve the real needs of others, while never expecting others to serve him.
THE WORK: In every missionary task there is urgency and pressure. The ideas, programs and strategies must come from time in prayer. In spiritual work, equipment, materials, transport and buildings are needed and must be maintained. God can supply our inner and outward needs for His purpose.
PLACES AND PEOPLE: Take note of all the places and persons mentioned in communications with the missionary and lift them up before the throne. Ask God to do His convicting, breaking, and enlightening work through the Spirit in each of their lives or situations.
THE LOCAL CHURCH: The members, workers and leaders of the church have the largest part to play in most missionary work; the need to be progressing in spiritual maturity and commitment to each other. Pray that selfishness, pride and apathy to God’s Word will be conquered demonstrating transformed lives and Spirit-gifted service to one another.
MISSIONARY FAMILIES: Parents need to be wise when priorities in the ministry and home seem to conflict. Discerning how to be a Coach to children without alienating them, how to break their will without breaking their spirit, how to discipline without creating anger, and how to engage them in the ministry till they are excited about what God is doing in lives.
THE CHIDREN: Missionary’s children often face an abnormal life, sometimes separated from their parents. Pray that they will see the high value and adventure of an international ministry and the planting of the gospel among a new culture. Pray for their health, safety, education, vision for the ministry and relationship with their parents.
FURLOUGH: Adjustment is needed when returning to a home culture that has changed in 4 years (especially for children who may not remember much of their homeland). Pray for a place to live and schools for their children to attend (and adjust to). Pray for meetings and travel arrangements, for every aspect of their ministry to the churches and individuals in their homeland. Pray that someone along the way will be an encouragement to them and be interested to ask questions about the missionary’s life and ministry in a distant land.
A prayer partner who prays through this list, filling in the blanks with real names and situations for individual missionaries will be a true co-laborer and prayer warrior partner. May their tribe ever increase!