As Jesus approached his last days on Earth, he prayed for his disciples who walked the streets of Jerusalem with him — and he prayed for us, too.
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one — as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” — Jesus, recorded in John 17:20-21
Unity. It’s so important, so powerful. We hear time and time again that people are drawn to Jesus because of the way his people love each other, even through conflict or difficult situations. Multicultural teams bring great benefit to missions work, but serving on them can pose challenges. Here, then, are some unity prayers for multicultural teams.
U = Understanding
Sure, multiple languages can cause issues on a multicultural team — but even when everyone shares at least one language, the deeper definitions of words can prove tricky. Imagine the misunderstandings over a term like leadership. It can mean, “Empower me to make my own decisions,” or “Tell me step-by-step what to do” — with a whole range of meanings between those two! Pray that multicultural teams will intentionally work to understand each other’s approaches to tricky concepts with grace and love.
N = Notice own culture
Recognizing the different ways others behave tends to come pretty easily to we humans — but examining our own culture can help us understand why we sometimes react with judgment or anger when we encounter someone who does things differently. Pray that each person on a multicultural team will humbly examine his or her own culture in order to more lovingly interact with others. (Read more about this idea here.)
I = Individual strengths
On a multicultural team, some members might have access to greater financial resources. Others might have no problem picking up a new language — perhaps because it’s similar to their first language. Others might have physical characteristics that keep them from standing out in a crowd and that offer them easier pathways to sharing the gospel. Pray that multicultural teammates will see these individual differences as Kingdom-building benefits, not sources of envy and strife.
T = Thankful hearts
God is on the move, growing his global church. He is calling missionaries from countries that used to be considered mission fields. As 2 Peter 3:9 reminds us, he is patient with us, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. His heart continues to beat for the lost, and he continues to use his people to accomplish his plans. Pray that multicultural team members will give thanks always for the teammates God has given them and for each opportunity to engage the unreached. (Ephesians 5:20)
Y = Yield
An ideal, united multicultural team will not just be aware of cultural differences, it also will manage to make decisions and minister effectively without being derailed by those differences. Compromise will have to happen. Brothers and sisters will need to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21 — note the link between giving thanks and submitting). Pray that multicultural teammates will yield to one another, freeing each other up to minister out of their diverse strengths and creating even more pathways to sharing the gospel. And pray that their efforts will yield many new brothers and sisters for Christ’s global church.
More Better Together stories
- Four strengths of multicultural ministry teams: Many people associate ethnicity with religion — to be X is to believe Y. Multicultural teams contradict this notion by their very existence.
- ‘Vital instruments’ in new faith: Four Latin American interns passionately share their faith in Thailand, and two young women decide to follow Jesus!
- Missionary, know thyself: Multicultural teams work together more smoothly when each member understands their own culture. These questions can help.
- The best kind of breakdown: More time at the mechanic means more opportunities to share the love of Christ.
- A heart for Japan’s hopeless: Our first global worker from Taiwan looks back and understands why God called her to work with SEND.
- Check out the resources on SEND’s Better Together page.