Why We (Missionaries) Need Your Prayers

By Paul Henry, May 9, 2013
Many times we just list off prayer requests without much thought; but prayer is such a vital part in missions that I want to spend some time reflecting on how prayer encourages us and how you all can continue praying for us. I’d like to start by sharing a story about how prayer worked when we were in Thailand. 

Part of our ministry is doing theological training and teaching in northern Thailand—a very rugged, mountainous area, with almost no electricity, dirt roads, and no medical facilities. We work with the Karen people there, and with a wonderful national named Boonchu, who is over several churches and spends most of his time mobilizing pastors and helping to fight false teaching. In 2009 I had the opportunity to go up there for several days to teach and preach.
A frightening drive to the hospital
It was about 9:00 p.m. on a Sunday night and I had just finished preaching when the pastor’s 2-year- old son was carried into the church unconscious. The boy had been very sick for two days now with diarrhea. He was at death’s door.

Boonchu had the only vehicle (a four-door truck) in the whole village. He turned to me and said that he had to get this boy to the hospital and quick. The nearest real hospital was in Chiangmai about five hours away, but there was a much smaller hospital/clinic about an hour and a half away. We picked the boy up and immediately started driving for the clinic. The boy’s mother was also in the truck with us, as well as some others who were riding in the back. 

About 9:30 p.m. I heard the boy’s mother calling out the boy’s name and I thought for sure this boy had just died. I remember thinking to myself, “I wish I could pick up my cell phone and call our prayer warriors in the States and tell them to pray,” but I didn’t have any phone service. I probably have never been as scared in all my life as I was on that day. 

Boonchu was flying on the dirt roads, and with every turn we took, the truck fishtailed around the curve. We were only feet from falling off the road into the many gorges along the way. At one point I told Boonchu that we would not be helping the boy if we all plummeted to our deaths from driving too fast. We made it to the clinic and by God’s grace the boy was still alive. They were able to put an IV in him and revive him. Thankfully, it looked like everything was going to be fine. The crisis was over. 

They’d been praying for us
About a week later I was talking to my mom about the whole thing. She got very excited and told me that the very Sunday we were driving through the mountains with this boy, and at the very same time, a good friend at our home church was praying for us during the pastoral prayer. He was praying for our ministry and safety. How amazing it was that the Lord had him praying for us at the moment when I was wishing that I could tell people to pray! 

The Lord answered my prayer in so many ways. We believe that the Lord works mightily through our prayers because He knows exactly who we are and what we need. He is glorified by the prayers of the saints. Romans 8:26-27 says, “And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” 

Your prayers are vital
There are so many things that we as missionaries deal with, and having you all pray for us is so vital to the work in Thailand. We deal with spiritual oppression. We deal with depression and weakness. We deal with not knowing the best ways to apply the gospel in very sticky situations. We deal with homesickness and real sickness. We deal with keeping peace in our household and mirroring the love of Christ. We deal with laziness and an overwhelming sense that Thai people’s hearts will never be changed. These are all very real things that we deal with regularly on the field and even while we prepare to go to the field. Please keep praying for us! 

Paul & Crystal Henry are MTW missionaries to Thailand. For more on the Henrys’ ministry to Thailand visit their blog:   

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