What better way to start a post about prayer than with a prayer?
Heavenly Father... I pray for those who read this, that You would give them a passion for the Great Commission! Call them to apply their spiritual gifts and help them to find exciting ways to get involved. Let their participation in Your work be a blessing to them and to many, many others. And let their passion inspire people around them to join in the Great Commission. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Prayer is absolutely essential when it comes to missions. That's because of the critical role of the Holy Spirit in convicting people of their sin and their need for Jesus (John 16:8).
Strategic prayer includes praying for the lost, for missionaries, for ministries and for your brothers and sisters in Christ. Did I leave anyone out?
For the lost: Pray for unreached people groups around the world. These are people groups with very few Jesus-followers and no significant church presence. You can find more information about these groups, including a featured group of the day, at JoshuaProject.net. Another good resource is IMB.org/pray/ . I've posted 3 prayers for the unreached. This one, based on Jeremiah 24:6-7, is very simple:
Heavenly Father, I pray for the unreached people groups of the world... that your eyes will watch over them for their good; that you will build them up and not tear them down. Please God, give the unreached people groups of the world a heart to know you, that you are the LORD! They will be your people, and you will be their God, for they will turn to you with all their heart. In Jesus' name, Amen.
For missionaries: A good place to start is with the missionaries your local church is supporting. Find out all you can about who they are, where they are (this may be sensitive information, depending on the country), what they are doing, what are their needs/prayer requests. And then invite others to pray along with you, regularly.
For ministries: What ministries has God called you to support either by working or giving? Prayer is essential for your work or funds to be effective.
For your brothers and sisters in Christ: Start with those in your local church. If you'd like an example, take another look at the opening prayer of this post.