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1. Pray for healthy balance in the use of time

The cross-cultural missionary finds it takes longer to do everything. There’s never the sense that, “It’s 6 p.m., and my work day is done.” Unfinished tasks constantly loom. Too often, the urgent crowds out the important.

2. Pray for wisdom in witness

Sometimes we’re excited about a new contact and feel that they are surprisingly responsive. Then later, no matter what we do, they gradually drift away from contact. We need wisdom from the Holy Spirit to know when to pursue a relationship, and when to draw back.

3. Pray for insight with difficult cultural issues

Misreading-scripture-320wAny Japanese person who has a serious interest in Christianity soon starts asking about funerals.

“Can Christians go to Buddhist funerals?”

“What about burning incense?”

“My husband is the oldest son. He will be responsible for his parent’s Buddhist altar. Is that a problem?”

On the surface, the answers may seem simple. But if you’ve never lived in a group culture, you may not realize how “not simple” the answers can be.

What is “honoring your father and mother” in an Asian context?

Where is the line between what is “cultural” and what is “religious”?

4. Pray against the human inclination to compare ourselves with others

When things don’t seem to be going as well as we’d like, it’s easy to look at what other missionaries are doing and begin feeling jealous or like a failure.

“That ministry seems to be a lot more successful than what I’m doing. Am I really useful here?”

Of course, intellectually we know we need to remember our call and be faithful to that call in the context of our unique gifting. But the disconnect between knowing our call and feeling that we should be experiencing results like those we see others experiencing can easily turn into discouragement.

5. Pray for wisdom to know which opportunities to accept and which to decline

Ministry requests abound, and we’re regularly asked to participate in yet another outreach. We can say “yes” far too often. Saying “no” is difficult, but it’s essential to firmly decline opportunities that sidetrack us from God’s best use of our call.

Thank you for your encouragement and prayers as we seek to make good choices!