There is a great movement of people who are being raised up from within houses of prayer in the Western world.
From their times participating in day and night prayer, God is calling some to go to unreached people groups to plant “prayer furnaces” or “houses of prayer.” The movement includes internationals students who are returning to their home countries to initiate houses of prayer.
Although there could be many other issues that need to be considered, going cross-culturally to a “hard and dark” place focused primarily on prayer can have some great advantages.
Below are my thoughts on the potential of “prayer missionaries”:
The agenda is first and foremost to pray.
Anyone who has studied “church planting movements” or “church multiplication movements”, as some call them, knows that prayer has been the common denominator of breakthrough. If the prayer movements are focused on strategic prayer while in country, there can be a new wave of things happening where it may have seemed to be “spiritually flatlined” before.
Those involved are freed from organizational constraints for church planting.
Those who go out as prayer missionaries are there to pray. There is generally no big expectation for them to plant churches. Therefore there is a great opportunity for them to do it and do it using a simple methodology.
In places where the Gospel has made little to no impact among the people, simpler more organic expressions of “ekklesia” will be necessary.
Other kinds of missionaries may be under more traditional expectations of what church is or should be and therefore it is expected that if they “plant a church,” it should look that what the organization expects it to look like.
Prayer missionaries are not simply going to pray. They will go out.
Prayer gives a reason for a worker to enter into a place without having to have everything figured out. “What are you doing? What is your strategy” could be the question. “We are going to pray” is the answer.
But as the missionary prays, he will find himself in “divine appointment” encounters set up by God for the purpose of getting the Gospel to the people the Holy Spirit has already been preparing.
A lifestyle of prayer can set a group up for a better chance of hearing God accurately and giving them the motivation to step out in faith even if the idea that comes to mind may seem strange. As the prayer missionary goes out into the society, she will make the connections.
If she knows what to do next once the connection has been made is another story.
They are able to find persons of peace through building new relationships naturally.
The missions strategy that Jesus lays out in Matthew 10 and Luke 10 is going two by two in search of the “man of peace.” Once the connection has been made, this relationship is the open door to a new community.
Jesus lays out for us what needs to happen at each stage:
- give peace,
- they receive it,
- enter the home,
- share some food or drink,
- heal the sick,
- then proclaim the message of the Kingdom.
Jesus also instructs the disciples not to move from house to house but to stay in that one place. This is a natural way of doing outreach, especially among unreached people groups, most of which are cultures where hospitality is practiced.
Most of those who are a part of these movements will carry a supernatural ministry orientation.
A supernatural ministry orientation can be a huge asset when living and working among an unreached people groups.
Though many claim to be “Muslim, Hindus, or Buddhists,” the majority of these groups are dealing with a very supernatural worldview that involves the manipulation of spirits, blessings, curses, possessions, dreams, visions etc.
From what I’ve seen, many prayer focused missionaries have been raised in an environment where the supernatural is natural. They understand the practical ways the Gospel can break into a person’s life because many of them have had God break into their life and those they have prayed for in a supernatural way.
Prayer can be combined with contextualized mission.
The website 24-7 prayer.com says it this way,
A 24-7 Boiler Room is a simple Christian community that practices a daily rhythm of prayer, study and celebration while caring actively for the poor and the lost.
(i) The Two Purposes: a 24-7 Boiler Room exists to love God in prayer and to love its neighbours in practice. These purposes are contextualised in community and expressed in a defined location.
(ii) The Three Principles: at the heart of every Boiler Room is a living community committed to being…
1. Authentic: True to Christ
2. Relational: Kind to People
3. Missional: Gospel to the World
Where prayer movement missionaries may be weak is simple church planting strategy and the important work of properly contextualizing the Gospel message, the frontier missions movement can help through strategic partnership with the movement.
There is a great potential of a new missions force arising with deep, ongoing prayer and intercession as their pillar. With the right type of cross cultural training and partnership with the frontier missions movement, we can see new Gospel movements emerging among the unreached people groups of the world.
What do you think? Do you see strengths or weaknesses? Is a dual model of night and day prayer and mission sustainable? If so, how?