In just one short week I’ll be making the long anticipated move to Ethiopia. I’ll be saying goodbye to the good old USA for at least four years. As the reality of that sinks in, I am realizing more and more that we’ve been a bit negligent in one particular area. We have concentrated on big things like training and financial support, as well as, some of the finer details of insurance and airfare, but we haven’t taken much time helping people to pray for us. Sure we have paid lip service to it, often repeating the lines “please pray for us” or “we need all the prayer we can get”, but we have rarely told those people what to pray for. Our prayer requests have tended to be vague and generic with little substance to them. This post is an attempt to start correcting that.
The Lord’s Prayer is our basic model, so I’ll use it to bring out some specific ways that you can support us through your prayers:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
In a nutshell, this is the fulfillment of our mission. Starting farms, teaching English, and digging wells are all well and good, but they are really just sub-plots in a much larger story. We are going to Ethiopia to play our small part in God’s master plan.
- Pray for these things:
- That we will bring glory to God in everything from our specific ministries to the daily chores of running a household.
- That we will be effective in expanding God’s kingdom here on earth.
- That God’s will is done through us and our ministry.
- For wisdom to see how all aspects of our lives are intimately tied to these three goals.
- It is fine to pray for things like safety and health, but only as it applies to this list. If I don’t make it off of the RDU runway, as long as these three goals are accomplished then so be it. Mission accomplished!
“Give us today our daily bread.”
Every missionary’s constant struggle. It shouldn’t be this way, but it is. We give up the security of a steady paycheck. We go to lands were life’s necessities are scarce. The missionary life can easily turn into a struggle for survival rather than an effective ministry. Time must be taken to secure food, clothing, and shelter for our families. The more time that takes, the less time we have for ministry.
- Pray that:
- Our needs will be supplied so that we can focus on our ministry.
- People will be willing to support us in the work that we are doing.
- Missionaries around the world will be generously supported by churches here.
“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
In Ethiopia we don’t face so much persecution as we do prejudice. Because we are white and American, people there believe that we are wealthy and many see nothing morally wrong with taking from the “rich”. As a result we are constant targets for manipulation, theft, price gouging, and other similar mistreatment.
- Pray for:
- Forgiving, gracious, and merciful hearts in the midst of being singled out and being taken advantage of.
- Humility, as Christ had. He was constantly mistreated and still looked on people with compassion.
- Wisdom to see past the specific situation to the root of the issue. Then how to address the deeper issues.
“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
The evil one is out there prowling around and he’s not going to be very happy about us attempting to accomplish this mission. He’ll be coming at us from all sides to stop us or to make us ineffective. The Greek word for temptation here can also mean testing. We certainly expect to be tempted and tested in so many ways. The first temptation is to give up this mission and to stay in the luxury of America and the comfort of home. The first test will be our separation for a month as I go ahead of Jess and Dawit to prepare a home. These will be small compared to those that we can’t even begin to imagine.
- Pray that:
- God will shield us from the attacks of the evil one.
- We will be able to stand firm in the midst of temptations, trials, and tests.
- God will turn each and every attack by the evil one back on his own head and that they will ultimately turn out for the good.
“For Yours is the kingdom, the power and glory forever. Amen”
It is important to remember who we are working for. Sure this is our mission, our calling, our work, but there are three questions that we should always keep in mind. Whose kingdom are we helping expand? Whose power do we rely on? Whose glory do we seek? If we show up in the answers to any of these questions then our priorities are way off and we are better off just staying home. In the end this is God’s work to build His kingdom by His power for His glory.
- Constantly for our humility. It is easy to develop a “God complex” when you are constantly put on a pedestal and treated as being much more important than you actually are.
- That we will rely on God’s power for everything. This is especially difficult for us with our “do-it-yourself” personalities and our independence oriented culture.
- That God will help us see the big picture. We are talking about forever here and we are so shortsighted. We need help to see how every action we take has an impact that lasts forever.