Dr. Atan Taclob is on the Bible Faculty at BJMBC.
We know prayer plays a vital role in missions and ministry. But we don't always know how to offer specific, gospel-centered requests for those on the front lines. Here are seven Scripture-based prayer requests we can pray for pastors and missionaries today.
In his epistles, the apostle Paul often encourages believers to live a life of prayer. However, there are five passages in which he asks churches to pray for him and his co-laborers in the ministry.
1. “Brethren, pray for us” (1 Thessalonians 5:25).
Chronologically, this is the first time Paul asks a church for prayer for himself and his ministry.
This general prayer request may sound like it was added hastily or unintentionally at the closing of his letter. But Paul’s request in 1 Thessalonians 5:25 is purposeful and loaded with evangelistic zeal. Behind this general prayer request lies the many conflicts, heartaches, and physical and emotional sufferings that Paul had already suffered during his second missionary journey:
But we can also add to this list the various trials and oppositions that Paul experienced during his first missionary journey:
Although this first passage is somewhat general in nature, the next four passages in which Paul asks for prayer are all very specific in nature.
2. “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you” (2 Thessalonians 3:1).
3. “Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints; That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed” (Romans 15:30-32).
4. “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak” (Colossians 4:2-4).
5. “And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:19-20).
7 Specific Prayer Requests for Those in the Ministry
If we combine all of these prayer requests, it is clear that there are seven specific things for which Paul is asking for prayer. These are the same seven things that we should pray for those who are in the ministry.
1. The fast spread of the gospel.
"that the Word of the Lord may have free course" (2 Thessalonians 3:1a)
2. Acceptance of the gospel among unbelievers.
"that the Word of the Lord may . . . be glorified, even as it is with you" (2 Thessalonians 3:1b)
3. Protection from evil men.
"that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men" (2 Thessalonians 3:2)
"that I may be delivered from them that do not believe" (Romans 15:31a)
4. A well-received ministry to the saints.
"that my service . . . may be accepted of the saints" (Romans 15:31b)
5. Opportunity to share the gospel.
"that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ" (Colossians 4:3)
6. Clarity in presenting the gospel.
"that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak" (Colossians 4:4)
7. Boldness in presenting the gospel.
"that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel . . . that therein I may speak boldly" (Ephesians 6:20)
These prayer requests all have one thing in common—the gospel.
Paul was consumed with the gospel. He lived a gospel-centered life.
He petitioned churches for gospel-centered prayers.
Knowing that many prayed to God for Paul, can we say that God answered their prayers?
God delivered Paul from many dangers. Through his ministry many souls came to know Christ. Churches were planted and strengthened. And at the end of his life, Paul was able to say, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith."
A crucial part in the success of Paul as a Christian and as a missionary was the fervent prayers of churches to God for him.
We also can help other believers succeed in their Christian life and in their ministry by praying for them with these prayer requests in mind. Let us labor in advancing God’s kingdom on earth by praying for one another with these gospel-centered prayer requests.
Download a copy of these 7 prayer requests for your church or personal use.
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