The ninth installment of our Missions Essentials series deals with prayer. This entry is written by Deb Brammer, who serves with her husband, Art, in New Zealand.
Imagine this: You know God is calling you into missions. You’ve had your training, passed your doctrinal examination, and been appointed as a Baptist Mid-Missions missionary. As you begin to plan out years of deputation, one generous donor commits to giving you full support. Hallelujah! You’re ready to apply for visas and start packing.
Or are you? You might have financial support, but who will pray for you?
With our limited knowledge of God, it’s hard to understand why prayer can make a difference when God is sovereign. But James 5:16 tell us, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” That means prayer makes a big difference. Going to the field with adequate finances but inadequate prayer support is a risk no missionary should take. Somehow prayer connects the hand of God to the need of man in a way that changes the outcome.
Prayer for missionaries comes in different kinds. Daily, routine prayer is good. “God bless the Brammers, the McLains, and the Stilwells. Encourage them today and help them see fruit for their ministry.” Heartfelt, specific prayer is better. “Lord, give Art Brammer a good opportunity to witness to that neighbor who moved near him recently. Help him to know how to approach the couple in their church who thinks commitment to a relationship is the same thing as marriage. Please help the husband of that faithful church member to be saved and encourage the wife while she waits.”
Heartfelt, specific prayer is the kind James 5:16 talks about. People can pray specifically only when they care enough to take time to understand the situation. Fervent prayer means they keep on praying and don’t give up. To them, prayer isn’t just mindless routine. It’s serious business.
Speaking in churches, videos and PowerPoint presentations, prayer letters and cards, email updates and various forms of social networking can all help us to communicate our needs. We can use these means to challenge our supporters to pray specifically. When we report answers to prayer, we encourage them and glorify God. When we pray effectively for our supporters and other missionaries we model prayer.
The right kind of prayer can make the difference between success and failure in missionary ministry.
In forty-two years of ministry with BMM, we’ve always had a core of faithful prayer warriors to support our ministry. We haven’t seen many big, dramatic answers to prayer, but we do see people grow and change in gradual, subtle ways over time. When we look back, we see God has been working in ways we couldn’t see at the time. When we can see God’s work moving forward, we can be sure prayer is part of the process.
Would you like to join a family of missionaries that values this kind of God-dependent prayer? We’d love to talk to you about joining our ranks.