I Thessalonians


1Thessalonians 2:4  But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.

What an awesome responsibility was placed on Paul to be put in trust with the gospel.  His goal had to be to please God and not men.  He had to realize that this was a tremendous privilege but more than that an awesome responsibility.  That is exactly where we all find ourselves.  We have been put in trust with the gospel.  We are administrators or stewards of the gospel

1Corinthians 4:1  Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 

the mysteries of our God.  How will we fulfill that great ministry in our lives.  Will we take this personally and strive to pay the price so that He will be honored and pleased with the lives we live. The way we manage our resources, our time, etc.

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How to Pray for Missionaries

How? That is the question. We have been told all of our lives that we should pray both for our pastor and missionaries. We want to pray for them, but we just don’t know how. We have called their names one by one. We have said, “God bless the missionaries,” but we want to do more than that. This lesson has the intent and purpose of sharing with you how to biblically pray for missionaries. Everything that you read here you can also apply to your pastor. This will be a blessing not only to the work of God around the world but also to your local church.

The Apostle Paul felt the need to have his folks pray for him. If Paul felt he needed people to pray for him, how much more important would it be for each of us to enlist others to pray for us.

Brethren, pray for us. 1Th_5:25

 

Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf. 2Co_1:11

As you can see from the verse above Paul was not asking lightly for prayer. He felt that the prayers of God’s people definitely “helped”. He felt that they became an actual part of his ministry. Your prayers do make a difference when you pray for your missionary or your pastor. If you will pray then we will be working “together” in the ministry.

Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. Isaiah 45:11In this verse we see that God invites us to put Him into motion. There is so much that God wants to do that He is not doing because we are not involved. He has not only invited us to pray but has commanded us to tell Him what to do. We cannot actually tell God what to do if it is not already His will but if we will, but look at it and we will notice that God oftentimes limits Himself due to our lack of prayer and faith.

Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. James 4:2

Why do we not have what we need? Why do we not have even what God wants us to have? I am convinced that the reason we so often are stumbling along in our lives and ministries is because we have failed to ask God!

And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. I John 3:22

Prayer has to do with us doing what He wants us to do. We can’t expect God to just be a religious all powerful genie that we can command but rather God is looking for some folks who what to obey Him, to do those things that are pleasing in His sight, and then we will receive whatsoever we ask. That is a very powerful promise.

And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. I John 5:14-15

The reason that we will get whatsoever we ask is that we are obeying Him and doing what is pleasing in His sight. This causes us to ask what we know that He wants us to ask and what we know that He wants us to do. Our God wants us to be involved. He wants us to ask. Prayer is very important in our lives and ministries. We must get involved asking God to move and work in His vineyard.

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. Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen. Romans 15:30-33

Now let us consider some of the ways that we can pray knowing them to be the will of God that will have a definite effect on the ministry of our missionary or pastor. Here Paul asks (begs) that his people get involved and to strive, or work, or agonize with him in prayer. He tells them exactly what they should pray for.

1. First, Paul asks that the folks pray for his protection, “that he might be delivered from unbelievers.” Now we know that our war is not against flesh and blood but against Satan and his forces. Paul is going forth into areas totally dominated by Satanic forces. He realizes that he will be under attack. He literally begs his folks to pray that he be delivered, protected, and rescued from these ungodly forces. How much your missionary and your pastor need this same prayer. Every day we watch as other “men of God” fall into sin. Oftentimes we are quick to criticize but slow to pray. When a man goes forth to war, he is taking a chance. He is risking his life against a roaring lion that hates God and all that he stands for. Satan will be after him. If the devil can stop the man of God then the work of God will not go forward. He will go to any lengths to get the man of God to fail. He will do so through persecution, discouragement, sex sin, pride, money problems, and a thousand other ways that we have seen Satan destroy the effectiveness of many preachers. Will you pray for your missionary by name asking God to protect him and deliver him from Satan and the unbelievers? Paul asks pray for this same need in II Thessalonians 3:2. There the bible says, And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men for all men have not faith.

2. Then Paul asks his people to pray that his service will be accepted by the saints. Paul did not want to offend the brethren, he just wanted to be a blessing. He wanted to do what he knew God had called him to do, but he knew that God would have to open the doors for him and prepare the way. As your missionary travels raising support he will need the saints to accept him and his ministry. What is the key to raising support as a missionary? Most of all it can be simplified by saying that the saints will have to accept his service. That is exactly what we need to pray for. Often times the missionary is on deputation for a long time, more than really necessary, and we wonder why. I would like to beseech you or beg you to strive together with him in prayer that where he goes to present his ministry folks would accept him and his service. Pray that folks will see the importance of his work and ministry and get behind it. Might I add that your pastor needs you to pray the same thing for him. He needs God’s working and help in his ministry that his service will be accepted by the saints. How many times do men of God prepare good Bible messages that the folks (saints) need to hear but they are not accepted. Let us pray that after our pastor has sought the face of God, his message will be accepted and taken to heart by the folks of our church.

3. Thirdly, in this passage Paul asks them to pray that he return with joy. How important this prayer request is to the missionary and pastor. The missionary leaves to go out on deputation. Will he be able to return with joy? Will he be successful? If he goes out and preaches ten meetings with small love offerings but no support it will be hard to have joy. If he goes to the field and spends a term and sees no real results it will not be easy to return with joy. We must pray for him and ask God to give him success in the work he has been called to. Let’s pray that God be at work in his life. Have you ever gone soul winning? You know what it means to come back with joy and you know what it means to come home sad and beaten. Let us pray that the missionary can go to the field and see the hand of God on his ministry. Let’s pray that God will open doors to him. Let’s pray that souls will be saved and that he can come back with joy, excited about what God is doing. The same prayer request applies to your pastor. He visits, prays, preaches, etc. Do we want to see him excited about what God is doing in his life? Then we must pray and help him.

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 4:3-4

4. Paul next asks for open doors to preach the gospel. That is exactly what your missionary is going to need the minute he arrives on the field. Just where will he preach? Who will listen to him? He needs God to direct his paths. He needs to know where to go. He needs God to open doors. This is a definite way that you can help by praying. Even Paul had to have open doors. There are millions of folks out there. Most of them have never heard the gospel. But where will I really be able to have success? Where will I find some folks to listen to me? I need your prayers for open doors. Your pastor needs the same thing in prayer. He goes soul winning. He tells folks about Jesus and often times we do not have the success that we could have if we would just go where He has prepared the way and the hearts of folks. Today why don’t you pray for your missionary and for your pastor that God would show him where to go and that God would open doors and prepare hearts for the gospel message?

5. Paul also realized that it was more than just having open doors. He would need to know how to preach, witness and talk. God open doors but then teach me how to talk to them. What should I say? How do I get the message across? Especially crossing cultural boundaries and speaking in another language we need special help from God. Will you pray for your missionary that God would move in this way? This also would include special pray for your missionary while he or she is in language school. We have the message. We don’t have the tools to get it to them. We need another language. They are all hard. We must pray that God would encourage them and help them learn the language.

Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. II Thessalonians 3:1-2

6. Finally, Paul asks them to pray that the word of God might have free course and be glorified. It was the word of God that changed our lives. Paul asks them to pray for free course. That means that nothing would hinder the working of the word of God. That means that the Bible would be able to run through them and their society.