Connect with your supporters and involve them in your life and ministry by following the steps in this guide.
Is this your first prayer letter? Whether you're going on a short-term trip, a one-year internship, or entering full-time ministry, the essentials of prayer letters are the same.
In the next few pages, we'll show you how to create a prayer letter template, write updates that will help build relationships, and decide who to include on your mailing list.
Step 1: Overcoming the Blank Page
Blank pages and empty templates are intimidating. Where do you start?
Every prayer letter needs to include certain details, so we'll start by setting up a template that covers the easy, necessary information, which will help focus your readers' attention on the story you'll be telling.
Step 2: What to Write
Now that you have a layout to work with, it's time to tell a story.
People are praying for and financially supporting your ministry either because they care for you, or because they care about the ministry you're doing – and often they care about both.
Your prayer letter should involve your readers vicariously in your life and ministry, and help maintain and build your relationship at a distance.
The best way to do this is to tell a story in each letter that you send.
Step 3: Build Your Mailing List
Once you have your letter written, who should you send it to?
This sounds like a simple question, but it's worth some thought, particularly if you're a full-time missionary.
Your prayer letters are your supply line, for both prayer and finances, so you want to have a healthy, growing list. On the other hand, it costs money to send prayer letters, so you can't (and shouldn't) just add everyone you meet to your list.
Step 4: Send Your Letters
Many missionaries send letters themselves. Others rely on friends, family, or churches to print and mail letters for them.
A better option is to use a prayer letter service. These are usually small businesses run by Christians who are dedicated to helping missionaries communicate with supporters by taking on what can be a challenging, time-consuming task.
Larger prayer letter services, including prayerletters.com, use economies of scale to buy production-quality printers and mailing equipment, while still focusing on the particular mailing needs of missionaries. This helps your letters stand out, while still looking personal and avoiding a "corporate," bulk-mail feel.