How to Pray for Missionaries

Seven ways to pray for missionaries and Bible translation.

Perhaps God has placed a desire in your heart to pray for missionaries everywhere, or maybe for one particular missionary. Either way, God has a great plan to use you to help complete his mission of making his name known among the nations as you participate through prayer. Use these seven points to fuel your prayers for missionaries and Bible translation work around the world.

Pray for Open Doors

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message. ...
— Colossians 4:2–3a (NIV)

Open doors can’t be taken for granted. Many missionaries work in countries that are difficult to access or in areas that are resistant to the gospel. But open doors include more than just access to nations and people groups. Individuals’ hearts also need to be open and receptive to God’s truth.

   Pray ...

  • That God will open doors of ministry, blessing partnerships and friendships.
  • That those who serve will be led by the Holy Spirit and recognize open‑door opportunities.
  • That God will lead his people past barriers to hearts ready to receive his Word.

Pray for Boldness

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel. ... — Ephesians 6:19 (NIV)

Missionaries are regular people who fear pain and rejection as much as anyone else. When faced with opposition, they need God’s strength to help them stand firm.

   Pray ...

  • That the Holy Spirit will provide missionaries with words that communicate effectively in other cultures and languages.
  • That they will have boldness to overcome the fear of embarrassment or failure.
  • Against evil forces that would seek to hinder the spread of the gospel.

Pray that God’s Word Will Spread

Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we ask you to pray for us. Pray that the Lord’s message will spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes, just as when it came to you. — 2 Thessalonians 3:1 (NLT)

Obstacles must be removed to allow God’s Word to spread rapidly and freely, and missionaries need the strength to continue on in the face of opposition or difficulties. Just as Aaron and Hur supported Moses’ arms in the battle against the Amalekites (Exodus 17:12), you can strengthen the arms of missionaries by supporting them through your prayers.

   Pray ...

  • For strength and stamina as missionaries encounter antagonistic spiritual forces (Ephesians 6:10–18).
  • That people will resist Satan’s plans to obstruct the spread of the gospel (James 4:7).
  • That God’s Word will indeed spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes.

Pray for Protection

Pray, too, that we will be rescued from wicked and evil people, for not everyone is a believer. — 2 Thessalonians 3:2 (NLT)

In some countries, missionaries may be exposed to the possibility of danger and personal harm. Opposition to the gospel may include hatred and violence.

   Pray ...

  • That God will keep missionaries safe.
  • That God will change the hearts of those who are resistant to his Word.

Pray for Effective Ministry

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing." — John 15:5 (NLT)

It’s important to rely on God for all aspects of ministry — especially during times of great difficulty, so that efforts will produce fruit and ultimately a harvest will be gathered.

   Pray ...

  • That God will provide strength and perseverance when their ministry seems to be fruitless.
  • That seeds will be planted and that missionaries would be able to see the fruits of their labor.
  • That an abundant harvest will be produced as more people learn about the love of Christ.

Pray for Travel

And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” — Mark 16:15 (NLT)

Many missionaries travel frequently, both nationally and internationally. Their modes of transportation may vary from airplanes to buses, to canoes and motorbikes, and everything in between.

   Pray ...

  • For required permissions to be granted for travel (visas and passports) and for necessary funds for tickets and fees.
  • For protection and provision during travel.
  • For God’s grace and favor when challenges or obstacles appear on any journey.

Pray for Refreshment

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”  — Matthew 11:28–30 (NLT)

Missionaries deal with many of the same stresses you face in life, like overwhelming workloads, conflicts in relationships and financial uncertainties. Often, however, missionaries struggle with these issues alone, without the fellowship and support of other Christians. Living and working cross-culturally adds an additional element that can challenge their emotional, spiritual and physical vitality.

   Pray ...

  • That God will provide opportunities for missionaries in isolated areas to spend time with other believers.
  • That God will provide times of peace and relaxation to refresh his workers.
  • For restoration — physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually — that can only be found in Jesus.