When we think of sharing our faith, a lot of different things come to mind. We think of everything from inviting our neighbors to church, to sharing our faith with strangers at outreach events. We think of reading our Bibles in public and having conversations with others. All of these things have one thing in common: They require us to be able to talk openly about our faith.
For missionaries in certain parts of the world, talking openly about their faith comes with severe consequences. Evangelizing in these parts of the world can mean deportation or even prison. In some places, missionaries can’t even let their neighbors know the real reason why they’re there. They write emails in code, and sometimes they even tell their friends and family to avoid posting their pictures on social media.
Missionaries in these parts of the world have all of the loneliness and challenges that normally come with evangelizing, compounded with the knowledge that if they get caught sharing the Gospel, they could face serious consequences.
This month, will you join us in praying for missionaries to places that are hostile to Christianity?
1. Ask God to protect missionaries, physically and spiritually.
In certain parts of the world, missionaries know that sharing the Gospel means they might be deported or thrown in jail at any time. They take risks every day just by living out their faith. Pray that God will protect missionaries from people and institutions who want to hurt them and stifle the cause of Christ.
Working in such a high-risk area is also spiritually and emotionally draining. Often, missionaries serving in these areas experience loneliness and isolation. It can feel like they are the only ones working to advance the Kingdom in their area. And the Enemy often tries to use these feelings of isolation to hinder their work. Pray that God will protect missionaries from spiritual attacks, and that He will give them the endurance to push through the hard times.
2. Ask God to provide creative ways for missionaries to share the Gospel.
When openly sharing the Gospel can get you deported, attacked or thrown in jail, you have to find creative ways to share your faith.
Missionaries in these places are already working to share the Gospel in unique ways. Often, missionaries will see a tangible need people have and create a program to meet this need. Creating programs that meet physical needs gives missionaries unique opportunities to build relationships and share the Gospel. Other missionaries serve through the arts, businesses and very careful one-on-one discipleship.
This month, ask God to show missionaries how they can be lights to their neighbors in ways that fit their host cultures. Pray for opportunities to share Christ without arousing suspicion from people who want to cause missionaries harm.
3. Pray for visas for missionaries to go to and stay in their host countries.
Obtaining visas in any country can be a complicated process, but it’s even more difficult in countries where missionaries aren’t welcome. And once you obtain a visa, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to keep or renew it.
Visas can be revoked if a new leader comes into power and decides to change the requirements. If missionaries are caught evangelizing, their visas can be taken away, forcing them to go back to their home countries. Recently, one country ramped up their search for Christians, and many missionaries from several missions agencies were kicked out of the country.
In nations of spiritual hostility, missionaries must have contingency plans for if they suddenly have to leave the country. This means putting a priority on training locals so they are able to completely take over the ministry on short notice.
Pray that missionaries will be able to obtain and renew their visas. Pray that world leaders will act favorably toward missionaries, and pray that missionaries will be protected from people trying to get them kicked out of their host countries.
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