How God is Teaching Me to Pray as I Raise Support

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By on January 7, 2020   /   Leave a comment

Embarking on a season of raising support probably provides one of the best opportunities you will ever have to grow in your prayer life. 

  • You have a great need that is impossible to meet on your own. 
  • You are taking a leap into the unknown, with only your Father to catch you. 
  • You are daily involved in a sometimes tedious, sometimes hair raising task requiring humility, courage, and patience.

I predict that during support raising you will see flabbergasting reminders of God’s goodness and His ability to provide—along with frequent reminders of your own weakness. And on top of it all, you’re going to have a thousand questions—what to ask for, why God works the way He does, and how to approach Him—questions that can only be answered by pressing in. Please don’t let this season pass without taking up the challenge to really pray.

We’ve been raising support for 20 years now, and God is still teaching me so much about Himself through the process. Like any Christian, I struggle to understand how prayer works in light of God’s sovereignty—am I praying to change my situation, or to be changed? Is it better to keep banging on the door when I don’t seem to hear an answer or to wait patiently in a posture of quiet trust? The more I chew on the mysterious importance of prayer in relation to this very practical task of raising up supporters, the more I am confronted by the paradox, which, if I allow it, just makes me press in all the more.

The most important lesson I’ve learned over the years is that I must remember to Whom I’m praying. This is key. Sometimes I’m tempted to pray like I’m rolling the dice and shouting, “Come on, big money!” Who am I approaching? My good, good Father. He called us to serve Him, and He has everything we need to obey Him. It never ceases to astonish me that my support goal is a light thing to the Lord (and would be even if I had to raise ten times as much)! The One who loves and provides for the sparrow also loves and provides for me.

With that firmly in mind, here are four ways God is teaching me to pray:

1. Honestly

What is it I am really asking God to do? Am I asking Him for that, or am I whittling my request down to make it somehow easier for Him to answer? While it can be helpful for my to-do list to break my big support goal down into small, achievable steps, I don’t need to likewise break my big prayer request into little chunks for God. The temptation to do so betrays a lurking suspicion in my heart—that my requests are beneath the Lord, or that asking for the whole need is too much for Him. 

Are you worrying, subconsciously, about offending Him? He knows your need and your heart, so spill it. If you know your motives are wrong, confess that and ask Him to change you, but at least be honest.

2. Fearlessly

Is it a big goal? Good, then you will absolutely know that it is beyond you! George Müller said, “The greatness of the sum required affords me a kind of secret joy; for the greater the difficulty to be overcome, the more will it be seen to the glory of God how much can be done by prayer and faith.” Pray in faith—pray for faith—and spend as much time thanking God for His provision as you spend asking Him to supply. When I can’t summon the faith to thank God expectantly for the future, at least I can thank Him for the past—after all, He has provided for me time and again!

3. Eternally

I must remind myself not to get so bogged down by dollars. Money, after all, is a human invention. The God I worship “owns the cattle on a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10), and will certainly not withhold the resources I need to obey Him. Ask God to accomplish the bigger vision for your ministry. Then ask Him to provide anything you need for that to happen. Praying for the mission rather than the money is not only infinitely more significant, it engages in the spiritual battle raging all around. It also has a way of inspiring tenacity, reminding me of why I’m doing this in the first place. Money? That’s the easy part. 

4. Selflessly

Pray for your supporters, current and future. Pray that this adventure would stretch their faith too, and be just as much a divine appointment for them as for you. Over the years, we have watched as one supporter placed his trust in Christ for the first time and another sold his grand house to go into ministry himself. We have seen supporters battle cancer, Alzheimer’s, financial crises, and grief, and have heard their prayer requests for strength and courage. Praying for them is just as important as the “front lines” work of ministry we do from day to day. It is a privilege and an honor to call them our friends.

I am learning (slowly, slowly) the very real beauty of support raising after decades spent doing it. The mission our family has pursued all these years is emphatically not ours alone—it is the vision and work of our entire team. These saints who sacrificially and generously give to keep us in ministry share in our reward; we owe them our gratitude and our faithful prayers. 

As you work to raise up a team who will then work to hold up your arms as you serve the King, don’t let the enemy convince you of the futility or the frustration of this task. Let this season be a rich time of training for your heart. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8). 

We would love to hear what God is showing you in prayer through your support raising journey. Add a comment below to join the discussion.

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