Effective Prayer for Missionaries – part 9

Before you ever go to the mission field, you are going to need the things mentioned In the previous articles. Perseverance, faith, denying yourself, real joy. However, all of these things come into play when we start to talk about what is effective prayer.

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed..

(NIV John 17:1)

Maintain concentration on God the Father

When you pray, you have to maintain a focused concentration directly on God our Father. He is the creator of the Universe but he is also our Father. He is our creator and he is our Father in Heaven. When you pray it is as though a literal connection between you and the Father is being made. It is beyond faith. The connection is real and He is real. If you are just praying to the wall not focusing and concentrating on him, he is gracious to hear our prayers.. but it is like when you are with your best friend and he or she is talking about something very important but you know that they are not listening to you. When you pray just to go through the motions of saying words because we know we need to say them, He is listening but he knows we are not concentrating on him. Jesus looked up to heaven. (John 17:1) He focused his eyes on the Father that was there listening. He was concentrated beyond faith. I understand what faith is, but when I am focused on the Father it is real. He is there. If I have to have faith, well how much faith do I have? On a scale of 1 to 10, if my faith is a 4 that he is there, I am praying but the concentration is not there. I am trying these days to have a concerted focus on God when I pray. My faith has nothing to do with it. I concentrate and am not thinking about if I believe it or not. He is there if I believe it or not.

Praying to the Father, I need to know what it is that He wants. I am connected, I am looking up, he is there. I don’t have to think about if I really believe that he is there. I just have to have a deep concentration on him. And then, I am resting in that connection, waiting on him to speak, impress or guide, whatever you want to call it. I am waiting on him to tell me what he wants. It is an 85% directional arrow from Him to me in communication and a 15% directional arrow of communication from me to him.



Sometimes I feel like, “what do I have to say here? I need to be listening.” (Matthew 6:8), “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” We still need to pray but pray TO him. Pray to God who is very near to you. Don’t pray to someone very far from you. He is near, very near. Maintain your focus on him. Concentrate on him. Rest in him. Wait on him. (Isaiah 40:31), “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. Let him do 85% of the communication and you do your 15% if that.

Disengage your spinning wheels

Many people cannot stop thinking. Their brains are constantly thinking and are distracted. When you are praying, your brain cannot be spinning its wheels. You have to rest, wait, and stop spinning the wheels. If you allow your wheels to spin, you are not concentrated on Him. You are not looking at him waiting on his voice. Then if you allow your brain to trick you by saying “Was that really God speaking?” then you have lost the connection. Disengage your intellect. Many very smart people will say that this is not correct but, what is my intellect in comparison to his. (1 Corinthians 1:25) For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. He is so immense that we really do not have much to tell him. And in our humanness, we are not going to manipulate or trick God. We cannot outwit God. We have nothing that will impress him. All good things we think, say, and do are not much in his estimation. (Isaiah 64:6) and all our righteousness is as filthy rags…

At the beginning of your ministry, you will need to learn to disengage. You will have to rest and wait while the 85% is coming from God. After you know how to rest in Christ and really allow God to speak to us, then we will have clarity. It really should be a 5% us speaking to God, and a 95% God speaking to us. But we just don’t take the time to do this. If you as a new missionary in the field in an extreme situation will learn how to take time to allow God to speak to you, many more doors will open for effective service and for the extension of the Gospel among these peoples. (1 Corinthians 16:9) Paul says, “because a great door for effective work has opened to me.” That comes from focus, concentration, connection, waiting, and resting in God.

Stare into the woods, clouds, or whatever, and rest and wait

Even if you are just staring into the woods with your cup of tea, or your cup of coffee, or whatever, and just allow God to minister peace, joy, patience, love, and all the fruits of the Holy Spirit, you will allow God to live through you on the mission field. If you don’t hear anything, you are not connecting. If you don’t hear God speaking to you, you have broken your concentration and are letting your wheels spin. You have not waited long enough. Get a pad and pencil because you will not want to forget what God says.

Many of these things I’m talking about are spiritual things that God ministers to us in our spirits as we are disengaged and allowing him to speak and minister to us. This is not meditation. This is the Holy Spirit strengthening us, encouraging us, giving us the ideas that we need, giving us the breakthroughs in the language that we need, and giving us the breakthroughs of who the people are who are going to be healed and delivered. This also applies when you’re first walking into your unreached people group. If you haven’t learned how to disengage and allow God to come into your life to speak to you, you’re going to walk into an unreached people group and make many mistakes. You really need to have a spiritual mindset in order to walk into an and reach people group and have the doors open for effective service.

The effective prayer of an extreme pioneer missionary

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

(NIV Matthew 6:7-8)

Some of you are probably asking, “What about us praying?” Don’t you think God knows you need protection and guidance? Our words in prayer are vital, but you have to look at Jesus’ instructions and understand exactly how we are to pray (say things) and follow those instructions. We have to take the teachings of Jesus Christ, the words in red, found in the Gospels, and just take them as they were written. Jesus tells us to not use many words and go on babbling like pagans do (85% or more) thinking that God is going to hear is because of how many words we use. You don’t need to pray lengthy prayers to see a miracle or healing or deliverance. You don’t need to pray lengthy prayers in order to get an answer from God. He already knows what you need before you ask him. These concepts are found in Matthew chapter 6.

Disengage and let go

Denying yourself, getting yourself out of the way, and allowing Jesus to be Jesus is really disengaging yourself and letting go. You disengage in prayer and actions. Let go and let God. This letting go comes through all of the above-mentioned things especially the part about allowing God to do what God does 95% of the time, and you communicating back to God 5% of the time. If you let God guide you in your actions even 85% of the time you will be doing good.

You have to remember and really take to heart the things that Jesus tells us about prayer and that is why we shouldn’t go on and on with many many words telling God all the things that we need. We don’t need to use many words to be consistent or persistent. God not only knows exactly what we need, he knows the future. So he knows what to give us. It really is a truly spiritual act to be able to go into an unreached people group in a remote area because you’re just going to need to have God doing what He does through you. You are just walking, you are just taking, you are just allowing him to be who He is. God is doing all the work, you are the vessel.

Get your cup of tea, sit on your patio and look into the mountains and let God do what he does. Disengage and let go. This is not your mission. This is God’s mission. You are not being part of fulfilling the great commission. God is fulfilling His great commission through you. He cares way more than you do about the unreached people groups. Don’t think that you are better than the people in your local congregations because you care and are going to the mission field. You will quickly feel squashed flat and God will have to raise you up in His strength. You are just an empty vessel that needs to be filled up with him. Wait on it. Forget yourself, get out of the way, and let God do 85% of what he needs to do in you. That is probably as much as you will be able to do if you stay concentrated and connected. When you DO open your mouth to do your 5%, it better be aligned with the word of God. You need to declare what God says in his word, not what you learned in seminary. You don’t need to remind him of anything. He will not forget that he needs to protect you, provide for you, and fill you.

When you need to perform a miraculous work or take authority over the enemy open your mouth and let what he says come out. Let the word of God come out of your mouth. You can bind the kingdom of darkness, and you need to because the kingdom of darkness is prevalent in all of the totally unreached areas of the world. So when you’re opening your mouth the 5% of the time that you need to in the kingdom work that needs to be done let it be aligned with the word of God. Even if in your mind you are not 100% convinced. Just act and speak as though God is doing what God needs to do because it is what God needs to do. You are not going to have 100% faith all the time. You’re not going to be 100% rested all the time. You’re not going to feel as though you can persevere. But you need to move yourself out of the way and let the reality that God is going to strengthen you give you perseverance and give you whatever you need in missionary work.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

2 Peter 1:3