Answering God’s call to cross-cultural or mission service takes focus. Not only do we study about our people group, their religions or worldviews, but we may also spend years learning their language and adjusting to their culture.
After twenty years in the Muslim world, I realized I found myself so focused on where God had placed me, I’d forgotten that he might also be at work in other areas of the world too.
I wish I could say that I came to this reality on the mission field, but in truth it really hit me more when I was working among Arabs in my home country. Having left families and countries where persecution is real and needs are great, our prayers focused each week on their requests. It was easy for me, to pray for that region, as much of my heart was still there.
However, the longer I lived in the United States, the more I realized that some of my prayers needed to be for issues Americans were facing. I also was re-introduced to my beloved Baptist mission-focused material, reminding me that my region of call was just one of many where the saints were at work along with God.
During my time in the Arabic church, I began to work to help them focus their prayers on the world at large as well as their own home countries. I also subscribed to a weekly email from a Christian who shared links to world-wide stories of needs to increase my own prayer life for the nations.
Watching the news or listening to podcasts helped to widen my awareness of what God was doing in the world. My prayer lists for the nations continued to grow.
Why do I bring this up on this Mission Monday? Because as we missionaries or cross-cultural workers request prayer for our work and people, we need to commit ourselves to praying for others.
Prayer is a two-way street, not just with us and God but with us and our prayer supporters.
When is the last time you asked your prayer team to share their requests with you? Are you praying for those who pray for you? Do you know their needs or burdens?
As one small part of what God’s doing in the world, we must never forget the big picture. Ask him to help you step back and take a wider view of not just the world, but what he’s about in it.
As we actively pray for the world-wide work of the Kingdom, we are less tempted to put ourselves at the center.
As an American, living in the States, it’s also so easy to focus just on what’s on the nightly news, as so much of it relates only to our country. Praying for the world, helps me to gain a better perspective — God’s perspective — on what he’s about here and everywhere.
So many exciting things are happening in our world today, as God is truly shaking the nations. Be a part of the action through prayer. You’ll be blessed if you do.
Grace and Peace