When I login to Facebook, I usually have several messages as well as a number of notifications. A couple of the messages are inspirational memes from family or friends, but the others are from missionaries and ministries around the world. A large percentage of my Facebook friends are engaged in ministry. I know a few of them in person, and the others I have met as friends of friends.
Many of the messages I receive are requests for help. The needs are so great, and the resources are so limited. It breaks my heart when I get a message that the children in an orphanage are hungry, or that someone is sick or injured and can’t get medical care. My instinctive response is to want to help—but I am elderly and disabled, with limited financial resources. Desperate people say, “Even $1 will help.” However, I have learned from experience that the cost to send a small amount of money through an online money transfer service is very expensive. The service itself charges a fee, the credit card company charges a fee if you use a card, and in many cases, the government of the country or the receiving bank withholds money from what is sent.
I once sent $50 to Haiti, and my friend received only $20 after all the fees in Haiti, in addition to $5.99 I had already paid the money transfer service. And it’s hard to find a service that will send money to certain countries known to be the origins of many scams. So the difficulty and cost of sending a donation is prohibitive.
However, even if were feasible to send money to a specific ministry, I can’t afford to send money to dozens of ministries and missionaries in a given month. I contribute monthly to Love for the Least and Global Catalytic Ministries, two wonderful disciple-making movements in the Middle East. I contribute less often to other organizations that I know are working to help the needy and build the Kingdom of God, as well as tithing to my church and helping several friends and family members periodically. If I could, I would love to help everyone who serves the Lord and cares for those in need who asks for my support.
There is one thing I can do for them all, though. And that is to pray. In addition to my prayer lists for family, friends, church, and community/nation, I have a prayer list of more than a hundred and sixty ministries and missionaries and pray for the complete list at least once a week. In addition, every time I get a message asking for prayer, I type out the prayer I pray and post it so the one who requested it knows what I prayed. Prayer is such an encouragement to individuals in ministry. Knowing that someone is approaching the Lord on behalf of them and their ministry means so much. They are always grateful when I pray.
I’m grateful when someone responds to me later and says the person we prayed for was healed or the visit to a hostile tribe was peaceful and well-received. God hears our prayers, and He answers them. He doesn’t always answer them the way we would like, but many times his answer is better than what we ask for. One missionary group has a large prayer team, and they asked for prayer because they had been denied entrance into the country they were trying to reach. Although many people prayed they would admitted, they soon found out that country was going into complete lockdown because of an increase in COVID cases. God closed that border to them so they could minister somewhere else rather than being locked down in the country where they intended to minister.
There are so many needs in the world: starving children, sex trafficking, war and violence of all kinds, sickness, and so much more. Most of us want to help, but we don’t have the resources or the knowledge of what to do, but we can all pray.
The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.James 5:16
Lord of all power and mercy, we lift our prayers on behalf of all those engaged in building Your Kingdom and caring for Your precious children. We beseech You for provision for the needs of the ministries and missionaries who are serving You, especially those in the underground church and those caring for widows, orphans, homeless, and others unable to care for themselves. Let all those who suffer feel Your comfort and peace. Let them experience Your provision to meet their bodily needs as well as their spiritual needs. Bless the missionaries and all who minister to share Your love and Your Gospel to make disciples of many. We give You the praise and honor and glory. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.