“God bless our missionaries.” We hear this a lot when we have prayer for those who have felt a call to cross cultures with the goal of spreading the gospel. They go and we stay home and pray for them, and usually the above prayer is about all we ever offer on their behalf. Surely there is a more fruitful way of praying for those who stand in desperate need of our prayers! Indeed, the Bible offers us many guidelines that we can and should use as models to help us pray in a God-honoring way especially when it relates to our prayers on behalf of those who have gone.
One such guideline can be found in 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2. Here Paul, a missionary of the gospel, asks for prayer from the Thessalonian church. He asks for prayer and then tells them how to specifically pray. He says, “pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored…and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith.” Paul’s first priority is for the gospel. He wants it to go forth with no hindrances. He wants it to be acknowledged as true and embraced by those who hear it. Paul knows that when one hears the truth that person will either accept it or reject it. He is asking for prayer that people will accept it. He is also asking that when people reject it and become hostile to it that Paul and his buddies will be kept safe from their hostility.
“O Father, please use our missionaries on the field. Use them to spread your gospel message with truth and integrity. Help them learn the languages and cultures they need to learn so that they might be better equipped to proclaim your truth and may that truth be embraced by all who hear! And Lord we know that they are going to face hostility. We know they will be opposed. We ask that you would protect them from those people inspired by the evil. Keep them from the wicked plans of those who do not embrace Christ, and use their safety as a means to the end of further gospel saturation all over this globe. We ask this in the name of Jesus, Amen.”