This year, our family is not only praying through an overseas mission prayer diary – we’re cooking our way through it. 

We wanted to pray more as a family and be more connected with God’s global mission. Plenty of organisations distribute great prayer resources, whether in physical printouts, PDFs or through apps like PrayerMate. We chose to use the Church Missionary Society prayer diary, one out of the many great options available.

While flicking through it, I noticed how many of the countries had cuisines that I liked to cook or was interested in cooking. I was also reminded of a blog I read years ago about a family who had a weekly mission meal. This family ate beans and rice and prayed for those sharing the gospel in less fortunate countries. 

We’re told that one way to develop a new habit successfully is to attach it to an already existing one. We are already in the habit of eating dinner together as a family, and I was in the habit of trying new recipes often. 

I wondered: what would happen if we added praying for missionaries to our mealtimes? Would cooking a dish from that country help our family feel more connected with the people we were praying for? Would scheduling it into our weekly meal plan help us do it more frequently? 

Low effort, high reward

Like most people our lives are busy and evenings are often chaotic. But my favourite thing about cooking through the CMS prayer diary this year has been how simple it has been to have a big impact on our family’s prayer time.

I scribbled recipes our family already enjoyed next to the countries listed in the diary, and searched popular websites for easy recipe ideas. We cooked Singapore noodles while praying for Bible colleges in Singapore, sushi while praying for Japan, Timorese meatballs when praying for Timor-Leste. We will do schnitzels for Germany, pastizzi for Malta and pasta for Italy. The simpler it is, the more likely we will continue to do it. 

The kids get involved as well, which I love. Our daughters are 2 and 5 years old and sometimes they help me prepare ingredients, mix and stir. 

It’s my eldest daughter’s responsibility to put her world globe on the table. We look for the country on the globe over dinner and talk about how far away it is from Australia, what other countries are close to it, and what that country is like. It makes for good dinner time conversation. My husband and I take turns to read out information from the prayer diary, and then we pray for that country at the end of our meal. 

I don’t think our family is doing anything special or revolutionary. But since we started mission meals, we’ve talked about overseas mission more and prayed for it more than ever before. 

We’re just trying to find small ways to continually teach our children about how much God loves the world and help them to pray for his kingdom to grow. I’m thankful that this is working for us at the moment.