At our church, we try to follow seven basic principles of missions. These are not exhaustive, but they are exhausting.
Principle One: Cover it with Prayer
One of the things we believe is that “nothing happens without prayer”.
Missions and missionaries are laden with challenges and anxiety. God gives us an antidote for both. According to Philippians 4:6, we are to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Any and all endeavors made in the name of the Lord should be bathed in prayer. If we read the biographies of some of the greatest missionaries of all time, we learn that they were all prayer warriors. They spent inordinate time on their knees going before a God who answers prayer.
Here is an example from the life of J. Hudson Taylor by Eugene Myers Harrison.
In the year 1854 a sailing vessel was becalmed in the vicinity of New Guinea. Seeing the distressed look on the captain's face as he peered intently into the sea, a young Englishman inquired as to the cause of his anxiety. This was the reply: "A four-knot current is carrying us swiftly toward some sunken reefs over there. Our fate seems to be sealed." On the shores of the island, cannibals were rushing about and lighting fires in great glee. Presently the captain spoke again: "We have done everything that can be done." "No," responded the young man, "there is one thing we haven't done. Four of us on board are Christians. Let each of us retire to his cabin and in agreed prayer ask the Lord to give us a breeze immediately." This was agreed upon and done. After a few minutes of earnest intercession, the young man came up on deck confident that the petition had been granted. Finding the first officer, a godless man, in charge, he requested him to let down the corners of the mainsail. "What would be the good of that?" he asked. The young man told him that he and three others had been asking God to send a wind, that it was coming immediately and that there was not a minute to lose, since they were so near the reefs. With a look of contempt, the officer replied with an oath: "Nonsense! You can't pray up a wind." Noticing a few moments later that the topmost sail was beginning to tremble, he said: "That is only a cat's-paw — a mere puff of wind." "Never mind what you think," cried the young man. "Let down the mainsail quickly."
This he was not slow to do. Hearing the heavy tread of the men on deck, the captain came up from his cabin and saw that the breeze had indeed come. In a few minutes they were sailing away from the dangerous reefs, much to the disappointment of the native cannibals on the beach.
Writing of this and similar experiences, the young man said: "Thus God encouraged me, ere landing on China's shores, to bring every variety of need to Him in prayer, and to expect that He would honor the name of the Lord Jesus and give the help which each emergency required."
So we have been introduced to a remarkable man, J. Hudson Taylor, and to the text, John 14:13, which was woven into the fabric of his life and into the texture of his stupendous achievements: "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son."
Every missionary should have their church family and a specific group within their church family praying for them constantly and consistently. Perhaps the most valuable people on a missionary support group are those who dedicate themselves to praying for the missionary.
A missionary endeavor covered with prayer will never fail regardless of the results.
Something to think about…