Five Ways to Pray for Missionaries
Praying for Missionaries During the COVID-19 Crisis
Have you thought about how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting missionaries? Many missionaries are well acquainted with isolation, shortages, fear and uncertainty. But that doesn’t make always make facing these challenges easier. Consider these five ways to pray for missionaries.
1. Pray for those who’ve stayed on the field.
In March, the US State Department advised Americans to return to the US or prepare to remain where they are indefinitely. Other countries are saying much the same. But most Pioneers workers are staying in the countries that have become home to them. Pray they have what they need to stay safe and healthy when outside help is unavailable.
2. Pray for missionaries who returned to the US (and other countries).
With borders and airlines shutting down, missionaries with any plans to return to the US in the coming months felt they had no choice but to leave their countries of service quickly, long before they had planned to travel. They were unable to say goodbyes or make careful arrangements. Most (if not all) had to put treasured dreams and plans on hold. Pray for these workers and others feeling grief and loss.
3. Pray for those navigating new travel and visa restrictions.
Lift up international missionaries with visas requiring them to exit their countries of service at regular intervals. “Every hour new restrictions are put in place that could make it impossible for us to leave the country or be stranded in another country,” wrote one. While the height of the drama seems to have passed, we can expect restrictions to continue changing in the coming months. Many are living with heightened uncertainty in this area, as in others.
4. Ask God to guide and provide for missionaries raising support.
“We had spent the last few months planning dozens of meetings, trips and presentations to groups,” write missionaries on a long-expected visit to the US. Pray for this family and people like them scrambling for new strategies to connect with supporters. When they planned their “home assignment” they did not realize they wouldn’t be able to leave home!
We’re also praying for those just starting to raise support to head overseas when the future is so uncertain. It can be difficult and discouraging to try to cast a vision for a new life overseas when you don’t know when the doors will open up—and when going overseas may look impossible or foolhardy.
5. Look to the Lord for unprecedented ministry opportunities.
Campaigns to share the hope of the gospel and invite people to access scripture are attracting more interest than they did before. Recently, over a period of a few weeks, we saw an 85% increase in Muslims responding to messages on Facebook. Many Pioneers are reaching out, checking on friends, praying and exploring scripture with local friends using technology.
A Pioneer in Southeast Asia is leading an online small group through her church. Previously, many would scatter after church and it was hard to pull them together again. Similarly, across the world, house churches and traditional churches are connecting online—in some cases more often or more personally than they had before.
Thanks for praying for missionaries during this season.
As we pray for our missionaries, let’s also pray for believers worldwide to persevere and grow in their faith as well as share it with others. Closed borders, canceled meetings and events, lockdowns and quarantines can’t stop the spread of God’s Word.
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