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25 October 2023

Prayer matters 3: Paperwork and the Kingdom


As we pray for a world that knows Jesus, let’s bring before the Lord the administrative load that comes with serving overseas, and those who work to provide operational support to missionaries. 

The Bible translation Masters program looked ideal. But the seminary was in a different city to the one they had only recently moved to, and their visa conditions required them to live close to their sponsoring institution. So, taking up this study opportunity would mean another move: the eleventh in five years, with a further two relocations on the horizon after completing the Masters.  

Aside from the upheaval, moving meant leaving behind the relationships they’d built in their current city. Added to this was the complication of getting a passport for their baby boy, and the administrative delays that might pile on even more visa issues. 

As this missionary family shared some of the challenges of doing ministry overseas, they recently wrote: “This month we’re trying to learn to rest in the fact that all things are in God’s hands even when they’re very much not in ours.” 

Bureaucracy and thanksgiving

Living overseas brings a new set of administrative challenges, with unfamiliar systems to navigate, often in a different language. Some cultures value efficiency more than others, and adapting to slower or more complex processes can be part of the adjustment process.   

Pray for CMS missionaries to be thankful in all circumstances, to learn quickly how things are done in their locations, and to stand out for their respectful attitude to the governing authorities.  

Form-filling and trust 

The COVID-19 pandemic made the process of obtaining and renewing visas for many overseas workers significantly more complicated, and in many places the situation continues to be difficult. Several CMS missionaries have had to delay their initial placement or return to location, or have faced disruptive cross-border moves to satisfy visa requirements. 

The wait can be discouraging. Pray for missionaries to trust God’s timing and provision, for supporters to remain committed, and for visa processes to become smoother and more straightforward.  

Opposition and joy 

In some locations where there is resistance to Christian activity, opposition can come in the form of slowing down official paperwork, raising objections to renting premises, and introducing other ‘administrative’ obstacles.  

Pray for missionaries and Christian brothers and sisters facing these kinds of trials to persevere with joy, patience and love for those around them. Pray for the provision of premises where churches can meet, for religious freedom around the world to increase. 

The gift of administration 

In 1 Corinthians 12:28, Paul lists ‘administration’ among the gifts God has given to his church. CMS employs a number of individuals whose gifts in operations, finance, and administration provide crucial support to our missionaries.  

Pray that they would continue to be diligent and prayerful in their work. Pray for those with leadership responsibilities to be wise and skilled as they manage their teams, and for unity as they work towards a world that knows Jesus.    

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Join us in praying regularly for cross-cultural mission around the world. If you missed it, read more about how you can use CMS resources to prompt and inform your prayers here.