This past week, we celebrated three years in Portugal. While we are still a long ways from attaining the status of “veteran missionary”, we are learning much and are taking significant steps in the work God has given us here. And yet the longer we are here, the more we see to do. As we start our fourth year, this is what we pray:
1. We pray for a sense urgency. After a while, a routine can turn into a rut. When we first arrived here, everything was new. Now that we have been here for several years, we are settled and have enough work to keep us busy throughout the week. This can be dangerous. We pray that God would keep us from living life on cruise control. We don’t want to get too comfortable in our routine.
2. We pray for a clearer vision and a sharper focus for what we are to do. It can be easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day activities and lose perspective of the big picture. We pray that God would help us make the most of our time and resources. We pray that we would do what He wants us to do.
3. We pray that we would make the most of every relationship and opportunity God has placed in our lives. When we first arrived in Portugal, we prayed that God would help us meet people and build relationships. He has certainly answered that prayer. We have met and befriended dozens, if not hundreds, of people in our town and country that we did not know just three short years ago. Now, the challenge is to know how to use our time and how to invest in the people He has placed in our lives. Every person is important, and we don’t want to overlook opportunities that are before. At the same time, we can’t do everything. God, help us know!
4. We pray that God would use our lives not just in the corner of Portugal where He has called us, but throughout the entire country. We don’t have ambitions of greatness or of being famous, but we do hope that God can use our lives throughout this country. We pray that we would be used not just in our area but in many other corners of Portugal. We realize that the extent of our ministry is largely dependent on our faithfulness right where we are. However, if God allows us to be here many years, we hope that we will know churches and families throughout the whole country that God has allowed us to bless and encourage.
5. We pray that we would be faithful. We don’t have a plan B for our lives. This is what God has called us to do. If He wills it, we will work here the rest of our lives. While this is our desire, we pray that God would guard us from temptation and distraction. We pray that we would be faithful to the end of our time here whenever that may be.
6. We pray that we would not be “busy missionaries”, but missionaries that love God and people. Again, it is easy to be busy, but we want to go beyond just having flurries of activity. We pray that we would walk close to God. We pray that we would love people more than just as items on a “to-do” list.
7. We pray that we will be missionaries that God uses to call others to missions. We pray that the longer we are here, the more we will be able to influence others to be missionaries as well, here in Portugal or even in other places across the globe.
Finally, as we pray for these things to come to pass in our lives, know that we thank God for each of you that have made it possible for us to be here. We are servants together with you for God’s glory! We thank God for your prayer on our behalf. We thank God for the support you provide so that we can live and work here. We thank God for the interest you have shown in what He is doing here.
Looking forward to year 4!