The Discovery

Praying Across Cultures

Your Guide to Praying Across Cultures

Missionaries serve in cultures that are different from what they or you are accustomed to. How do you pray for them in these settings? Look to the life of Jesus Christ as a guide. No one ever crossed cultures like Him. Through the study of His walk on earth, the Holy Spirit will teach you how to pray for missionaries. Begin today by reflecting on John 1:14.”The Word became flesh and took up residence among us…” John 1:14Below are just a few of the issues Christ faced. Search for related passages, and read the Gospels from start to finish. As you study, think about whether the issues Christ faced are issues missionaries face as they serve in cross-cultural settings. Pray that missionaries will reflect the love of Christ in every situation.

Christ knew how to respond and relate to those in authority. This is an important issue for missionaries, whether the authority is the government, church leaders, supervisors or simply heads of households. Pray that missionaries will relate appropriately to the authority figures in the cultures where they live.

Jesus became angry. He wept. He enjoyed life. Emotions are intensified in cross-cultural settings. Pray that missionaries will be able to understand and control their emotions.

When Christ hung on the cross in pain, the welfare of His mother was a primary concern. Missionaries usually are away from their families and depend on others to care for them. Not all of their families know the Lord. Pray that missionaries will be comforted with the knowledge of the good care their families receive. Ask that each of their family members will follow the Lord.

Christ enjoyed fellowship with other believers. He especially liked to “get away” to the home of Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Missionaries need places where they can retreat and be refreshed. Pray that time and resources will be available for them to do so.

Christ knew that people were most comfortable speaking in their heart language. Pray for missionaries to have facility in learning languages and for translators to translate God’s word into heart languages.

Christ “had to go through Samaria” to make His appointment with the woman at the well. He did not go to Bethany to see Lazarus immediately. He entered Judea despite the threat of His own death. Missionaries want to be where God wants them to be. Pray that the right locations will be revealed to them.

Christ sometimes longed for other believers to pray with Him. On the mission field, there sometimes are no believers around with whom to pray or those believers who are there are too weary themselves to minister to the missionary in need. Pray that all missionaries will find special prayer partners where they live or partners who can pray with them by phone or email.

A group of women followed Christ and His disciples. Several of those women helped fund the ministry. Christ and His disciples benefited not only from their financial support, but also from the encouragement they received as a result of the women’s faithfulness. Pray that missionaries will be supported by networks of intercessors, who faithfully hold them up to the Lord each day.

People responded to Christ by rushing to Him, by cautiously approaching Him at night, by walking away from His offer, and by trying to kill Him. Likewise, the gospel is received differently by different individuals. Pray for missionaries as they long to see the gospel received joyously.

Christ’s foremost relationship was with His Father. He nurtured that relationship through the study of the Word and prayer. Pray that missionaries on the field will take time to do the same.

There were times when Christ declined to say who He was, when He asked a man whom He had healed not to identify Him, and when He had to be cautious about which cities He entered. Missionaries often face these same issues. Pray that they will have wisdom about when to speak and when to be silent.

Christ often struggled to find places to be alone. He would go out in a boat or steal away to a garden. Many times missionaries live in cultures where open doors are expected even into the wee hours of the morning. Constant noise from traffic or chanting and bells from nearby temples also affect them. Pray that God will give every missionary a quiet place and time each day.

Before entering His full-time ministry, Christ overcame temptations that Satan placed before Him. Satan also desires to see every missionary fall into temptation. Pray that their minds will be saturated with Scripture that enables them to overcome.

Christ called His disciples. He knew their hearts, their gifts and their potential. He also said the laborers are few. Pray for nationals to rise up and spread the Gospel among their own people. (Study John 17:6-19 to see how Christ prayed for His disciples.)

“And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which, if they were written one by one, I suppose not even the world itself could contain the books that would be written.” John 21:25