Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. — Colossians 4:2–3 (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 also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, 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.
Finally, dear brothers and sisters, I ask you to pray for us. Pray first that the Lord’s message will spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes. ... — 2 Thessalonians 3:1 (NLT)
Obstacles must be removed to allow God’s Word to spread rapidly and freely. Removing obstacles implies resolute resistance in spiritual warfare. Just as Aaron and Hur supported Moses’ arms in the battle against the Amalekites (Exodus 17:12), you can strengthen the arms of missionaries through your prayers.
Pray, too, that we will be saved from wicked and evil people, for not everyone believes in the Lord. — 2 Thessalonians 3:2 (NLT)
In some countries, open doors may expose missionaries to the possibility of danger and personal harm. Opposition to the gospel may include hatred and violence.
Pray first that the Lord's message will spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes. ... — 2 Thesslaonians 3:1 (NLT)
Cooperation and partnership are essential to ministry and vital to the progress of the work.
So we have continued praying for you ever since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you a complete understanding of what he wants to do in your lives, and we ask him to make you wise with spiritual wisdom. — Colossians 1:9 (NLT)
Many missionaries travel frequently, both nationally and internationally. Their mode of transportation varies from country to country and often involves stressful situations.
We also pray that you will be strengthened with his glorious power so that you will have all the patience and endurance you need. May you be filled with joy. — Colossians 1:11 (NLT)
Missionaries deal with many of the same stresses you face in life such as overwhelming workloads, relational conflicts 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.
The apostle Paul was a missionary and a man of prayer. He prayed for those without Christ, for the believers, and for the new churches established under his ministry. He also asked the believers to pray for him:
Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Do this because of your love for me, given to you by the Holy Spirit. — Romans 15:30 (NLT)
Paul knew prayer would bring results:
He will rescue us because you are helping by praying for us. As a result, many will give thanks to God because so many people’s prayers for our safety have been answered. — 2 Corinthians 1:11 (NLT)
In his letters, Paul gave specific prayer requests for which believers should pray. As a prayer partner with those who are called to go, you too will have an impact that can reach around the world. Paul’s prayer requests can serve as a tool for praying with effectiveness and understanding.