This article was first published at the SYZYGY website. Its author is Alex Hawke.
J.O. Fraser, missionary to China with OMF in the early part of the 20th century1, learnt much about prayer while reaching out to the Lisu people, coming 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.”
We are currently on ‘home assignment’. One of the highlights has been visiting 3 prayer groups which are so kindly praying regularly for us. We’ve been touched, humbled and blessed meeting with them. One of these groups has met in some form for 60 years and another for 40 years! Two of the groups adopted us after we’d left the UK and met us for the first time recently. They have faithfully followed our news and when we met together asked us great questions and prayed fervently. They were precious times. Reflecting back over the last two years 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 the people we’re reaching out to.
If you’re in a prayer group or 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 scattered around the country.
If you’re a mission worker make sure you’re sending specific prayer requests to your church or prayer groups regularly and let them know of answered prayer, something we’re often prone to forget.
OMF have a helpful booklet, ‘How to Pray for Missionaries’ and this blog post also gives some great ways to pray for cross cultural workers: http://seagospel.net/seven-things-to-pray-for-missionaries/
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.”
1 His story is told in ‘Mountain Rain’ by Eileen Crossman.