The purpose of prayer missionaries is to fulfil the
Great Commission through prayer.
A prayer missionary is someone who adopts a country or geographic area and prays for that country. It is someone who does not physically go to the mission field, but is doing mission work through prayer – from his or her home. The prayer missionary prepares the spiritual ground so that the seeds sown by the missionary who are physically in the country, will fall into fertile ground. The advantage of the prayer missionary is that he/she can go into countries and places where the preaching of the gospel is forbidden. Nobody can prevent the prayers of the prayer missionary to cross borders and have an effect over long distances.
A prayer missionary can be any person who is willing to do the work of prayer, as instructed by the Lord: a retired person, a student, a businessperson, secretary or a shop assistant. The key is that you have to make a commitment. Ordinary missionaries make a commitment to go to a country for a year, two years or as long as they live. The prayer missionary should try to commit himself/herself to do mission work by means of prayer, in a specific country, for a year or longer.
- Pray and ask the Lord in which country you should do “mission work”. Do thorough research on the country you want to pray for. Get a map of the country, mark the important cities and towns and pray each day for a couple of those cities. Visit the library, watch TV, listen to the radio, read the newspaper and be sensitive for any information on that country. What people and groupings do we find in that country? Who are the president and the leaders of the country? Which religion(s) do they have? Which churches and mission organisations are working there and who are the missionaries? Write down all the relevant information to use for intercession. Use the book Operation World (there is also such a website and Mobile App by this name) for basic information on the country you are praying for. If you have access to the Internet, you will find a lot of information on different countries and groupings. You can even subscribe to a newspaper or magazine of that country to get regular information.
- Get a file or a scrapbook to file the relevant information on the country you are praying for.
- Pray for the leaders of the country, the government and everyone in positions of authority.
- Pray for the spiritual workers of the Christian churches in that country. Contact believers, missionaries, local churches or mission organisations in that country; get information on them and pray for them.
- You can sometimes focus on a specific city or town if the Lord leads you.
- It is important to identify with the country, that you will begin to love the country and its people. For example, you can fast and pray regularly for that country. Do the work of prayer as if you are physically in that country. Do not see your work as prayer missionary as optional, thinking that nobody will know if you do not pray. Pray as if nobody else is praying for that country. Take spiritual responsibility for that country.
- Do not think children cannot be prayer missionaries. Children are faithful intercessors. Parents can help children to get a scrapbook with photos of missionaries and a specific country to stimulate them to pray. The Spirit of God is tremendously active in empowering children all over the world to be intercessors.
- The task of the prayer missionary is basically as follows:
- To prepare, through prayer, the ground for the seed to be sown.
- To support the spiritual workers and the work of the Lord through prayer.
- To give protection in prayer for the work of the Lord against the attacks of the devil.
- To take authority in prayer over the strongholds of the evil one, against his plans and devices and to pray for them to be broken, so that the Kingdom of God can be extended.
9. There are four basic subjects for which the prayer missionary should always pray:
- for workers in the harvest and for more workers in the harvest (Matt.9:38)
- for open doors so that the gospel can spread quickly (Col.4:2-3)
- for lasting spiritual fruit on the labour (2 Thess.3:1)
- for the necessary funds for the advancement of the gospel (Rom.10:14-15; Phil.4:19)
How to pray for the unreached groups/nations
- Ask the Lord for specific portions from Scripture when you pray for a specific group.
- What is on God’s heart for that group? (John 3:16-17; 2 Pet.3:9)
- Pray for the important leaders of the group or nation—those who have most influence— that the Lord will remove their spiritual blindness through His Spirit. (2 Cor.4:4)
- Pray that this specific group/nation will become dissatisfied and disillusioned with their idols. (John 8:32; 16:13; 2 Tim.3:7)
- Pray for supernatural/extraordinary manifestations of God among such groups. (visions, dreams, healings, etc.) (Acts 2:19; Acts 4:30; Heb.2:4)
- Pray for open doors so that missionaries can take the Word to that group. (Ps.2:8; Col.4:3; Matt.9:37-38)
- Pray for their protection, for wisdom, for the anointing of the Holy Spirit on their work, for unity amongst the workers and for godly love for the unreached. (2 Chron.16:9; Ps.34:7; Ps.91; Eph.1:17-19; Zech.4:6; John 17)
- You should know that persistent prayer will weaken the resistance of demonic powers and the hold the evil one has through demonic strongholds on people. Pray and ask the Lord to reveal to you (your prayer group) where the evil one has strongholds. Ask the Lord for a strategy on how to pray about those strongholds and demonic rulers and to take authority in the Name of Jesus over the working of demonic forces.
- Pray that the Spirit of God will establish leaders within the unreached group, who will build a strong church amongst their own people.
When praying in more detail for the unreached, attention should be given to three basic aspects:
A. The Church worldwide
- Pray for the church for a new vision for missions. Pray that information about missions will reach congregations and will make them aware of the existing need. Pray that ministers/pastors will preach more about missions and that it will become a matter of urgency in every congregation.
- Pray that the church will send out more missionaries. Very few congregations are not able to send and support at least one missionary, even if only short-term.
- Pray that the church will make funds available to take the gospel to the unreached.
- Pray that the church will realise the importance of intercession and that every congregation will include prayer for the unreached in their weekly prayer programme. It is the task and privilege of the church to pray, together with Christ, for the salvation of the nations. (7:25)
- Pray that the church will realise that God rules over the nations of the world and that they are in His hands. (2:8; Ps.47:3-4,8-9) God has authority over the nations and that is why the children of the Lord have to call out to God for their salvation. (Job.12:23; Isa.52:10)
- The church should pray that God’s plan for, and purpose with, each nation on earth will be fulfilled. (5:9; Ps.22:28-29)
- The church should pray with the knowledge that He who is in us, is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)
- The church of Christ should humble itself anew before God because we have up until now, had so little concern for the Great Commission. We should confess our lack of love and our brokenness. We should pray for unity in the Body of Christ and among individual members so that we can have credibility with the unsaved and can fulfil our commission as a united front.
- Pray for men and women with vision who will have the ability to mobilise and accompany the church in the execution of the command and mandate to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.
- Pray for the missionaries who are going out into the harvest: for quick acclimatisation, that they will learn the language quickly, will understand the culture and customs of the people and that they will live among the people with wisdom and holiness.
- Pray for the necessary resources to communicate the gospel effectively to the unreached; media ministries, (TV and radio) videos and audio cassettes, Bibles and spiritual books in their own language, correspondence courses, etc.
- Pray especially for the growth of youth and children’s ministries.
- Pray that churches and the various mission organisations will network and will work together to reach the different unreached groups. Lack of unity in the church is probably the biggest single reason for the poor progress of the church in reaching the unreached.
- Pray for cross-cultural missionaries and especially for tent-makers and Christians in professional careers to go to these unreached groups and work there.
B. The Church in the unreached groups/countries
In many countries and among most of the unreached groups a church has already been established and in some cases, there is a small group of believers. It is for these small churches and groups that we have to pray. They are a light among these unreached groups.
- Pray for the development of leadership in such groups. Godly leadership is necessary for healthy church growth. Pray that the believers will quickly grow into mature disciples of Christ.
- Pray for perseverance in spite of persecution in countries where Islam, Buddhism, etc. are very strong. In such countries, Christianity is seldom tolerated. People who convert to Christianity are often persecuted and pushed out of the community.
- Pray that God will fill His children among the unreached with the Holy Spirit and that a zeal for missions will take root among them. Pray that these believers will realise their responsibility and will not back away from the challenge or any form of intimidation and resistance.
- Especially pray that new converts will not choose to emigrate, because that weakens the Christian testimony in those regions and groups.
- Pray for unity among these small groups of believers and pray against false teachings that often enter and cause division in such small churches.
- Pray for freedom to come together to worship God and to preach the gospel. Unfortunately, most unreached groups live in countries where there are restrictions on preaching the gospel.
- Pray for an unusual outpouring of the Holy Spirit on these small churches. (Acts 4:31)
- Pray that the believers will put a lot of emphasis on prayer.
- Pray for revival in the church in that country. When we pray for revival we have to pray for at least the following issues:
- That Christians will confess their sin and turn away from it: ‘if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chron.7:14)
- That there will be a hunger for God Himself in the church; ‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’ (Jer.29:13)
- That a new generosity will enter into in the church. That members will give their tithes and more than their tithes for the work of the Lord. “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” (Mal.3:10) ‘and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.’(Isa.58:10)
- For unity in the Body of Christ in that country “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.” (John 17:21)
- For brokenness among believers; For this is what the high and lofty One says—he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” (Isa.57:15)
- For boldness for the believers: ‘Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.’(Acts 4:29)
C. Pray specific and practical prayers for the salvation of people among the unreached
- Pray that the Spirit of God will work in their spirit to urge them to seek for the True God in Christ Jesus.
- Pray that whole families turn to God – this will make it easier for converts to remain standing.
- Pray that the Holy Spirit will prepare their hearts to receive the gospel when they hear it.
- Pray for conviction of sin among the unsaved and that it will encourage them to seek after the peace and deliverance found in Christ.
- Especially pray for the salvation of people in positions of authority and leadership. Pray that these people will confess their sins and boldly proclaim Christ.
- Pray that the unsaved will become tired of sin and that they will realise that their own religions are false and evil. Pray that they will start searching for truth and for enduring peace in their hearts.
- Praise God as you pray for the unsaved and know that God can save and heal people.
Read the article The unsaved, unreached and the nations, where more prayer pointers are provided.