Committed to prayer
Posted on: 21st August 2023
The stories of individual CMS supporters who pray are usually private in nature (see Matthew 6:6). For this article we invited CMS pray-ers from around Australia to open up and give us an insight into how, what and why they pray for CMS missionaries around the world.
Meet Margaret Crooks
Margaret writes: I pray for four link missionaries connected to my church, plus another who is a personal friend, and another couple.
I also often supply CMS missionaries with luggage I have salvaged/repaired (on average 20+ suitcases per year). When I am restoring luggage, I mentally name those who have taken luggage and pray for them.
John 15:5 reminds me that we can do nothing apart from Jesus. Missionaries can achieve nothing in their own strength. Ephesians 6:10-20 reminds me it is a spiritual battle. In Philippians 1:5 Paul talks of his partnership with the Philippians in the gospel. Similarly, praying for missionaries is part of my partnership with them in the gospel.
Building relationships with missionaries
I have built relationships with link missionaries through deputation, regular prayer letters, and personal correspondence. Personal connection and up to date information helps me pray. Monthly prayer letters from missionaries are the most helpful resources for me. I attend CMS Summer School where I can build these relationships and be enthused, motivated and encouraged to pray. I also receive WhatsApp updates (directly from some missionaries), which help me to pray in a timely and secure manner, and I pray with another missionary weekly, via Google Meet.
I recall a few years ago, the Taylors in Tanzania had been issued a visa extension determined ‘final’— but after prayer from many supporters, further time on the visa was granted. There are countless such stories. God hears and answers!
Meet Alison Mackay
Alison writes: Being a ‘vintage’ member of CMS means I have been praying for many years for those who ‘GO’ to share in the vision for a world that knows Jesus.
Over recent years I have had the privilege of being a ‘prayer buddy’ of CMS missionary J. However, prayer for J has been part of my daily life, or very nearly daily, since I first came in contact with her through the CMS WA branch way back at the very beginning of her serving in South Asia (in 1990). As I saw it, we were both serving God in the CMS call to ‘PRAY, CARE, GIVE and GO’. I ‘pray’ for her while she ‘goes’.
How do I pray for her? I keep up with the news that comes through the CMS network. Just as many others do, my husband Graham and I use the CMS Prayer Diary each day. Emails also come direct from J, and even though I am very much an intermittent correspondent, I try to keep in touch. And there are the specific prayer points in the CMS PrayerMate* feed in conjunction with the CMS Prayer Diary.
How and why do I pray?
My prayers have probably changed over the years as the Lord has shaped me and shaped J. I now pray for perseverance, encouragement, safety and protection, patience, and humility to look to the Lord in all situations that confront her. I often use my daily Bible reading and its message, and pray the same for her. And why do I pray? The answer is clear: who else but God can provide all that is required in God’s Kingdom work but God himself?
*PrayerMate is an App available from iTunes and GooglePlay which helps facilitate regular prayer and includes daily prayer points from organisations like CMS and others.
Meet Jim and Wendy Smith
Jim and Wendy write: We are privileged to be long-term prayer and financial supporters of CMS. We lead and host a monthly prayer meeting that occurs at our house and online. Ex-missionaries form part of the prayer team and provide valuable insights. We feel part of the CMS family and, being SA based, pray for all CMS SANT missionaries. These meetings always open with Bible passages on mission and prayer. A recent prayer meeting featured Philippians 1:5-6. There, Paul refers to the Philippians’ “partnership in the gospel”. This suggests one reason why prayer is important. When we pray, we too are active gospel partners in God’s global mission. Our missionaries should never feel alone. It’s as if, when we pray and/or give, we are spiritually with missionaries on location. They know their (prayer) back is covered!
Keeping prayers focussed
So, what helps our prayers to be focused and pertinent? The obvious answer is the Monthly Prayer Points. These allow us to get behind the scenes of our missionaries’ everyday tasks, joys and trials. Currently, we are praying regularly for several of our missionaries awaiting visas, so they can return to their work. This is taking many months. We’re also bringing before God CMS missionary Maggie Crewes, as she deals with the closing down of the ‘Hope for Justice’ office in Cambodia (where she has been heavily involved). It’s so easy for missionaries to become seriously downhearted in such situations. So, our prayer focuses on resilience, and for their faith growing under such stressful conditions. Regular prayer updates reveal how God is answering those prayers.
Image: Jim and Wendy Smith’s monthly prayer meeting.
Meet Cathie Curtis
Cathie says: My CMS involvement goes back to when I was 15 and I was in the CMS League of Youth, as it was called here in Victoria. We used to have a weekly Bible study, and sometimes we met missionaries home on leave.
Why pray for CMS missionaries?
My main encouragement to prayer has been contact with the missionaries. ‘Summer Under the Sun’ (our CMS Summer conference) is a big one for that; and any news we get—including of course, reading CMS Checkpoint magazine. I have trouble with email, but I ask Lois (who goes to our church) for information about our missionaries, so I catch up that way.
The reason I pray for missionaries is—well, why wouldn’t you? We all need to pray for each other. We all want people to know the Lord and find him, and it’s his work through his servants. And the missionaries are like the ones out the front fighting a spiritual battle. The more active you are, the more opposition you get from Satan and so we need to pray for our missionaries, for God’s strength and protection.
On routines and overcoming obstacles
I like to have a routine. I pray in the morning. And then I have another time, late afternoon, if possible. It’s lovely to have that time when you come and you can be with God, you can talk with him. I think obstacles make me pray all the more. I might have to do quick prayers while I’m walking or while things are happening or whatever, until I get that time to take more space.
Click here to read more stories of people committed to prayer, from two current CMS missionaries, Marion Birchley and Margie Newman.
Image: CMS VIC Summer Under the Sun (SUTS) Conference.
As you read individual stories of praying for missionaries, thank God that as a fellowship we each have a part to play in the task of bringing the gospel to the world. Consider how these individual stories can be a help and example in inspiring your own prayers for missionaries.