Prayer for Missionaries - New Ways to Pray for Missionaries and Families

New Ways to Pray for Missionaries

Over the past years, we’ve taken you along on a journey.

This is a journey past the five minute window at your church, behind the prayer card in your Bible and directly into the life of workers overseas. The real life. Not just the cut and paste happy moments that make their way into a newsletter. But the highs and lows of daily life. The deeply personal God moments. The very unedited learning curve.

We aren’t perfect.

We don’t know everything about work overseas.

We are newbies in every way.

{To which I’ve heard through the expat grapevine that it can take 7 or 10 or 12 years before you fully accept and grasp a new overseas way of life. That is both discouraging and so very encouraging at the same time…}

We just happen to be blogging the newbieness, if that’s a word, and sharing the many brand new experiences with you.

My sister and I recently had a discussion about blogs and being able to write your own story even if you aren’t an expert yet. She said, “That is like saying you have to wait until you have it all figured out to write something…. that is called a biography or a memoir. That isn’t what a blog is… by definition, it is a diary of where you are right now, how you feel, your hopes and dreams, your current opinions, etc…”

So… this blog becomes all those things behind the prayer card.

Prayerfully asking God to use each lesson, each experience, each moment to connect YOU to overseas life.

Or, if you happen to be walking your own overseas journey, that God will use these behind the scenes writings to help you along the way.

With that said, wow… there are ways to pray that I don’t remember hearing shared before in a service.

Overseas workers need prayer covering beyond safety, health and provision.

{Those things are critical… keep praying them!}

But cross-cultural workers are real people with real needs who have real prayer requests.

Prayer for Missionaries - New Ways to Pray for Missionaries and Families

Which means, if you want to pray for things behind the prayer card, someone needs to tell you, right?

And most overseas workers don’t want to tell you or can’t tell you… because it is complicated. For reasons I’ll list below.

And since I already blog a little from behind the prayer card, I put this list together from a myriad of experiences… our own, things we’ve seen and even from YOU, as you’ve written us your stories.


A few new ways to pray for work and workers overseas.

Prayer for Missionaries – New Ways to Pray

1} Family Relationships – This is critical. It will make or break your families overseas. How are their kids doing in school? How are they coping with togetherness? How do they work together all the time? How is culture shock going? How are their families back home? Are their parents healthy? Do they feel guilt for not being home during a family crisis? How are their kids’ hearts with Jesus? Is boarding school in their future? Are they facing another huge transition? How is stress effecting their marriage? How about praying FOR their families at home? For moms who said goodbye to kids. For grandparents who sent half of their grandchildren to a foreign country? Maybe family members who are angry or hurt or completely disagree with choosing a life overseas? For families who worry and wait and support in untold ways? Family relationships on both sides of the ocean add to the stress, the complexity and the very real difficulty of overseas life. Pray for grace in handling these relationships, wisdom in parenting third culture kids, health in marriage, peace in their homes and a myriad of other personal issues.

2} Overseas Community – The overseas community, especially for newbies, is something that we never thought about before coming to the field. We didn’t expect how quickly we would bond with other families walking this road. We didn’t think about the tearful goodbyes or the dreaded introduction conversation that we’d have over and over and over again as we constantly meet new people. Many times, we don’t even speak the same language as the workers we are meeting! We didn’t realize how hard it would be to trust, how easy it is to be misunderstood, how long it would take to get to know people on a heart level, how difficult it would be to insert ourselves into a well-oiled machine of relationships. The time to get to know people well enough to REALLY know them is just not always available. The ability to think the best of co-workers on the field gets lost in a bunch of red tape. Trying to appreciate where each family has been and their experience prior to arriving overseas is not always the norm. The task of learning to value each other is difficult. The humanness of the people living overseas is real. Just like the humanness in YOUR job is real. This is a tough thing… And we’ve never been more thankful for other families who have swooped in to help, see past our newness, believe in us and want to work along side us. Pray for the communities on the field. They are a complex part of life overseas that Satan can quickly and efficiently use to discourage, tear down and trample work being done in countries across the globe. {and by community, I mean of ALL organizations, denominations and countries of origin. Across the board… some of these statements from our personal experience and some we’ve heard and seen during our time on the field… some even from you as you email us your stories} Prayer is needed in this area. A spiritual covering, a heaven mind-set, and an eternal outlook is needed for laborers and co-laborers on the field.

3} The Local Community – Engagement in the local community is a challenge. Inject a person who doesn’t look, talk, think, act or live like the others. The “one of these things does not belong” reality is a HUGE barrier. Thankfully, we live in a welcoming, friendly atmosphere and the longer we are here, the more we get to know the people around us. The ladies who garden next door do not speak French so I have to find their brother to translate for me. The metal guy at the end of the road waves at us when we go by and introduced me to his wife when I stopped to show him the metal G he made for me that is now hanging on my wall. The painter who recognized that Jeremy and I truly love each other and how that impacted his experience in our home. The other metal guy who wanted us to meet his baby. Walking into church and having sweet little Ava crawl up on my lap and want to take a selfie with my phone. My tailor who is always ready for a conversation with me when I walk by her shop. But there is a difference between engaging in a way that helps you get to know people and engaging in a way that lets you build relationships, deep relationships with those around you. That takes an incredible amount of time, a way past the language barrier and the culture differences. It takes the long haul and a whole lot of patience, a bunch of language learning and cultural lessons to make it happen. Pray for real relationships to develop on the field. Not just quick encounters but real, deep, long, true friendships. Pray for trust and grace. Pray for openness and for the Holy Spirit to walk ahead of every day experiences and lead the way to those who are hungry and searching for the gospel.

Prayer for Missionaries - New Ways to Pray for Missionaries and Families

4} Online Life – Social Media and work overseas is a hot topic. A dreaded topic for most. And honestly, a very hurtful, scary place sometimes. Oh, you know I love social media. I love technology and the connection we have to home. But I also cry at Friday night football pictures, a PSL and someone roasting marshmallows on their lakeside firepit. The holidays are hard. Seeing American life is hard. Seeing people move ahead without us and life fly by in status updates and instagram pictures. That is hard. But good… like we still want to see it and love the connections! Yet… throw in the whole, incredibly complex struggle of what to post, when to post, how to post… keeping a good balance of connecting with supporters while not over doing it or saying things we shouldn’t or making people upset with us from over the lines of the internet. Oh, and trying not to be misunderstood by other workers because of something you wrote online somewhere or have a family member at home question how you worded something. Social media and work overseas… I shared much of the struggle in this post. talk about a stressful situation. Living in the spotlight, so to speak, and still being able to interact with family and friends through social media. Pray for people working overseas as they try to engage and share life on facebook or their blogs that God would lead them, help them, inspire them and use it all for His glory? Pray for direction and peace. Pray for a way through in the midst of the struggles being online often presents.

5} Relationships With Supporters – Do you know how much of a blessing you are? You are. The emails, the facebook messages, the packages, the faithful prayer, the birthday cards… you are so incredibly important. We LOVE our #buggingyou team. Ask any overseas family and YOU are one of the things they are daily thankful for. We feel the prayer. We sense the support. We know that the body of Christ stands with us on this journey. And for that we can not say thank you enough. But this isn’t always the case. Supporters stop giving. They stop supporting. They communicate in hurtful ways. They choose to misunderstand rather than ask good questions. And on the worker’s side, they might not be the best at communicating. They might not do a good job of helping you stay connected with their journey. They might say things or do things that do not help you stay in touch or get to know them. Well… pray for them. They need you to pray for their relationships with ALL of their supporting family, friends, churches, and businesses. Pray that God will bless and encourage and help keep the support strong for the long term. Pray for faithful giving, faithful praying, faithful supporting on BOTH sides of the ocean.

There you go… 5 ways to pray from behind the prayer card.

Prayer for Missionaries – New Ways to Pray

Ways to pray that might not show up in the next overseas newsletter that arrives in your inbox.

You won’t see these things listed on a prayer list.

But they are important.

Prayer for Missionaries - New Ways to Pray for Missionaries and Families

They are real things that daily effect the lives of workers overseas. And I can guarantee you these are things they are praying about. They are praying for family issues, co-worker stresses, local relationships, their online struggles and their supporters back home. They are praying already for these things but they are often quite difficult to share or express.

Pray for God to meet you during your times of prayer and help you pray past the normal things, which are still very important, and into things that aren’t normally mentioned.

Pray in ways that remind you that they are real people with families and co-workers and donors and neighborhoods and churches and social media accounts. They struggle in these things and need a covering of the Holy Spirit to anoint, bless, help and give wisdom in ways they can’t always mention. They need someone to intercede for their children, for their work, for their hearts.

Do not underestimate how God is using YOUR prayer to fulfill the Great Commission.

Thank you for reading this to the end.

For allowing this newbie to write out this incredible overseas journey and share some of the ins and outs as we learn them.

We believe that with a greater understanding of overseas life, you will be better equipped to connect, go or be an active part of work around the world.

What are some ways that you are praying for your workers overseas and their families?

What is something you would like prayer for that you don’t normally add to the bottom of your newsletter?

Another post you might like with a few creative ideas: Heart for the World







  1. So greatful, thankful , encouraged by your blog. I’m that mom & Mema who has sent. Your candid, honest look into everyday life on the field helps me not only pray for you but them as well. Be richly refreshed, strengthen, encouraged, blessed today.

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