Some years ago I was in a mission prayer meeting. At the end, we gathered around the visiting speaker and prayed for her. I drove her home afterwards and an interesting conversation ensued. Linda commented about the prayers people prayed for her when she visited churches or small groups. “People tend to pray that I will be safe, comfortable and not miss home too much,” she said. “But I don’t want to be safe. If I wanted to be safe and comfortable, I would’ve stayed at home.”
Naturally, my next question was, “So, what should we pray for?” Linda answered:
1. That I would fulfil my mission
Linda was adamant; if there was just one thing people could pray for, this was it. She was quick to point out that she’d invested a lot into her work. In her case she had left elderly parents and siblings, forgone marriage and let go of friendships. What mattered most was not that she’d made a sacrifice but that the sacrifice she’d made was worth it. And, for her, what makes it worth it is that people came to Christ.
2. That I remain resolute in my spiritual walk
It bothered Linda that often, when she went to meetings, she was treated as a spiritual giant. I reacted with mock surprise when she admitted that she had times of temptation and discouragement. Like all mission workers, she missed family and friends. She confessed that it would be easy to become negative and discouraged. “I need people to pray me through life,” she explained, “people who will lovingly recognise my frailties and intercede with God on my behalf.”
3. That I would have opportunities to share my faith and the boldness to do it
When Linda first moved overseas she thought sharing her faith would become easier but it didn’t.
“The thing is,” she said, “these are my people now. The people I see every day are my new friends and neighbours. And all the timidity I felt back home, I now feel in my new home. I worry about whether I’m a good witness or not. I’m scared that I’ll start to share and my limited language skills will fail me. I need to know that Holy Spirit filling more now than I ever have in my life.”
4. That God would work on a spiritual level in the lives of the people I live amongst
“Binding the strongman… casting out demons… standing against Satan… call it what you like,” said Linda, “it’s all the same to me. All I know is this, there is a spiritual presence where I work and it isn’t always the holy God. I know I’m on the winning team in this battle but it is still a battle that needs to be won in the hearts of the individuals I’m living amongst.”
5. That people would join me
Linda felt a little bit selfish wanting us to pray this, but sometimes she feels alone. It’s great to get letters from home and even the odd visitor. But what she’d love is to have others who are willing to make the sacrifice she’s made and share in the work that God’s given her.