A central role for any sending church is prayer for those they send. J.O. Fraser, missionary to China in the early part of the 20th century*, learnt much about prayer while bringing the gospel to the Lisu people. He came to realize the vital part that the prayers of those back in the UK had to play in seeing fruit in his labours. To his main prayer support team he wrote,
“I am not asking you just to give ‘help’ in prayer as a sort of side line, but I am trying to roll the main responsibility of this prayer warfare on you. I want you to take the burden of these people upon your shoulders. I want you to wrestle with God for them.”
One of the highlights of our home assignment last year was visiting 4 prayer groups which so kindly pray regularly for us. We were touched, humbled and blessed meeting with them. One of these groups has met in some form for 60 years and another for 40 years! They faithfully follow our news and when we met together asked us great questions and prayed fervently. They were precious times. We’ve become more aware of the spiritual battle we’re in and recognize more than ever the need to have people interceding both for us and for the people we’re reaching out to here in Jesus’ name. Just recently we saw two clear answers to prayer after emailing our Prayer Circle with specific requests.
If you’re in a prayer group or church praying regularly for cross-cultural workers be encouraged that your prayers really have an impact. Keep going!
If you’re not in such a group, could you join one or start one up? Many mission organizations have prayer groups. There might be one near you.
If you’re a mission worker make sure you’re sending specific prayer requests to your church or prayer groups regularly. Also let them know of answered prayer, something we’re often prone to forget.
One final word from J.O. Fraser
“Paul may plant and Apollos water, but it is God who gives the increase; and this increase can be brought down from heaven by believing prayer, whether offered in China or in England. . . . If this is so, then Christians at home can do as much for foreign missions as those actually on the field. . . . What I covet more than anything else is earnest, believing prayer.”