William Carey (1761-1834), born in England, was a Baptist missionary to India for forty-seven years. He is known today as the “Father of Modern Missions.” It is said that prior to becoming a missionary, Pastor Carey attended a missions meeting. After hearing an account of the spiritual needs of India, someone said this concerning the souls there:
“There is a gold mine in India, but it seems almost as deep as the center of the earth. Who will venture to explore it?”
To which Carey replied:
“I will venture to go down, but remember that you must hold the ropes.”
Holding the ropes: How to pray for missionaries
The churches and individuals who pledge their monetary and prayer support to a missionary prior to his departure for the field have a moral and spiritual obligation to fulfill that pledge. The monetary part seems simple, but often we don't know how to pray for them. Here are some general categories that we, as a missionary family, would love to have you pray for:
- for Spiritual health, growth & maturity (including salvation and maturity of our children)
- for our testimony (for understanding/knowledge of the culture, so as not to be an offense to the Gospel)
- for our marriage (communication, love, teamwork, faithfulness, etc.)
- for our children (character, education, friendships)
- for our family life (balancing family & ministry, healthy family relationships)
- for our emotional well being (homesickness, lonliness, not fitting in, TCKs)
- for our ministry (wisdom, vision, day to day ministry, special projects, provision)
- for our finances (God's provision, faithful supporters, wisdom in administration, click here for information on supporting our family)
- for our physical safety (from illness, accidents, and malice)
We are people, just like you, with the same temptations, trials, weaknesses, interests and concerns as many of you. The only difference is that we face these things along with the challenge of living in another land, another culture, another language, and often with only our immediate family members for support.
When you pray for you missionaries today, would you ask the Lord to show himself faithful and strong to them in whatever his good and sovereign plan for them today holds? Pray for them as specifically as you can. Perhaps you could even correspond with them, letting them know of your prayers, asking for specific requests, or about how else you could be a blessing.
The ones who “hold the ropes” have a job just as important as the ones who “go down.” Don't forget to hold the ropes!