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Wondering about how to make a missionary prayer card or looking for missionary prayer card examples? You’re in the right spot!
Since 2018 when we first went to Candidate Seminar with Baptist Mid-Missions, we’ve had to create a whopping four iterations of our missionary prayer card.
And no, most missionaries don’t go through prayer cards that quickly. But it seems we keep having new kiddos who need to be added to ours :D.
So you could say we have some experience in this missionary prayer card thing. And we thought it could be a blessing to new missionaries to share what we learned. That way, you can learn from our mistakes!
And if you’re not a missionary, this post can help you see how much behind-the-scenes work is involved for missionaries before they arrive at your church to present.
What’s a Missionary Prayer Card?
But first, let’s make sure we’re on the same page and look at what a missionary prayer card is in the first place.
A missionary prayer card is a small paper card printed by missionaries to help people remember and pray for their work. The front usually contains a picture (or several) of the missionary family and some basic information about the family and their ministry.
The back of the missionary prayer card usually isn’t as exciting. It contains contact information for the missionary, their sending church, and their mission board. It might also have personal details about the family.
With a glance at a prayer card, you should be able to tell:
- Who the family is
- What their field is (where they’ll be serving)
- Which mission board they’re with
- How to get in touch
- Which church is sending them out
How to Make a Missionary Prayer Card
So how do you accomplish that in a small amount of space? With careful planning and execution!
To make a missionary prayer card, you need to intentionally use your space well. To help you do that, let’s walk through the process. Along the way, we’ll share some missionary prayer card examples from our ministry to help you see what we’re talking about.
DIY Or Outsourcing
The first thing you need to decide is whether you will make your missionary prayer card or outsource someone else to make it for you.
We opted to make our own since Bryan has experience with graphic design.
If you aren’t confident in this skill, having someone else help can be a big blessing.
You can hire someone to make your card. We had our board for our missionary display table made by the folks at Commision Creative – and they also offer prayer card design. We highly recommend them! (And if you use coupon code REFDDFQ8Z2PES , you’ll get $25 off your order.)
There are also more general graphic designers you can hire. I’ve found some great connections on Fiverr. And though they don’t have a category for “prayer card design” some people who do custom design work may be willing to do this for you. It doesn’t hurt to ask!
Or maybe you’re blessed with a graphic designer in your family or home church willing to lend a hand – that’s amazing, take them up on it!
If you decide to DIY, use professional software and play around with the layout until you’re happy.
Let’s look at the process.
Get A Current Family Picture
The picture is one of the most important features of a prayer card. Not only does it allow you to put a face to the name, but it instantly humanizes your family. It’s one of the best methods for helping people connect with and remember you.
In addition, the picture you select impacts the rest of your design. The colors and mood of your photo play an important role in how everything else looks, so pay attention to the details.
My husband and I tried making rough design sketches of possible prayer cards at candidate seminar. We even mocked up a couple of options in Photoshop.
But our vision wasn’t complete since we didn’t have the picture yet. You really can’t design your prayer card without a picture. Ideally, you’d have a current photo of your family in your field. However, that’s not always possible.
When my husband and I went to Missionary Acres in July of 2018, we took plenty of pictures. However, it was just the two of us on this survey trip. And while we talked about Photoshopping the kids into the picture, we knew it wouldn’t look great with that many people to add.
And though we eventually took a picture with all of us at the sign when we came down in the summer of 2020, this picture has never been the feature of our prayer card. We decided to go with something different…
We knew we wanted to take our picture outside. The natural light is hard to beat! And back in Washington, there was plenty of natural beauty. We ended up choosing this picture for our first prayer card:
However, I was very pregnant in this picture. Tyler hadn’t yet joined our family. So though we mocked up a prayer card using this photo, we were advised not to print them out until we had the baby. That was good advice! So if you’re having a baby soon, consider waiting until you have the little one to do a family picture.
After our new son was born, we returned to the same location and took various shots. That way, the colors stayed similar. Here’s the one that made our first printed prayer card:
A Few Tips for Your Family Picture
Since my husband is a photographer, he handled our family pictures for many years. Here are a few of his tips for getting a good photo:
- Wear coordinating colors (we picked navy, gray, and black). You don’t want everyone in the exact same color.
- Schedule plenty of time. Getting everyone to look at the camera and smile takes time, especially if your family is as large as ours!
- Take lots of pictures. Keep hitting that button. You never know which shot will be “the one!”
- Get comfortable. Find a place to shoot where you are comfortable and have plenty of space. We love heading outdoors!
- Use a wireless shutter remote that’s compatible with your camera (and practice keeping it hidden while shooting)
- Watch the light. Natural light is best (hence the outdoors!), but you don’t want to be staring into the sun. Look out for harsh shadows or weird light cast colors from artificial light.
- Do the best you can. A “perfect shot” doesn’t exist. There will always be something in the picture you don’t love. Don’t let your perfection keep you from moving forward with the process.
You can also choose someone else to do your photos for you. That’s what we’ve done for the new iterations of our prayer cards. It’s easier, though it does cost more. When selecting a photographer make sure you find one who will release the rights so you can use it in printed material and online. It helps to explain what you want to use the photos for.
If you’re in Eastern Washington or Southeast Missouri, reach out, and I’ll be happy to pass on the name of the photographers we used. Otherwise, ask for recommendations in your local area. Word of mouth is often best when it comes to photographers!
Mock Up Your Prayer Card’s Front
Once you have your picture, it’s time to use software to mock up your prayer card. We used Photoshop since we already had an active subscription. If you don’t have this software, you can use the free versions of either Canva or PicMonkey to create your card. There are also other options out there, so pick one you’re familiar with.
No matter what program you use, ensure your size is correctly set. We opted for a standard 4X6 inch card. We talked about using a square one or a different dimension to make our card stand out, but decided we could always do that next time!
Also, check your resolution. We went with 300 DPI, which is what the printing company we went with recommended.
You want to check these settings before you begin because changing them afterward can result in crazy changes to your photos.
As you play around with the design, start with the front of the card. Here, you want your family photo, the name of your mission field, and any other pertinent information. This is what the front of our first prayer card looked like:
We pulled the background colors from the photo itself, and designed the header with a different font to make it stand out. Then we added our tagline (serving respected heroes of the faith) and our mission board’s logo.
It can be simple, so don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be.
Play around with the spacing and size and see what looks good. Here are a couple more missionary prayer card examples for you:
As you can see, many elements from our first card remained the same in later iterations. We also always choose navy as one of our key colors whenever we get new pictures taken. That way, that element of our brand can remain the same – even as other things change.
But the photo you choose makes a big difference in the layout. Our current prayer card has a larger picture that takes up most of the front. In the past, we’ve opted for a smaller photo. So play around with different options and try resizing things.
We’ve also added our names to the front of our prayer cards, as that was some of the feedback we got about our first one. This can be helpful for others as they’re praying for your family.
Other things to consider:
- Do you want a solid background or a faded one? We went solid the first time but then used a faded/blurred image for the others.
- Do you need to add solid lines to break up your picture? We added another blue box to the bottom of our picture in our current prayer cards to match the one at the top. It framed the picture, which looked better than just leaving it.
- What’s your tagline? (often this starts with a verb like serving or planting churches or spreading the gospel and then ends with a bit more information – like your country or people group)
- Is your header cutting off anyone’s head? Take time to double-check the placement.
Design the Back of Your Card
When you’re happy with the front of your card, it’s time to design the back. Here’s what our first attempt looked like:
It repeated our header for consistency and then shared the rest of the information we talked about above. Since then, the only changes on this part of our prayer cards is the contact information (as we moved from Washington to Missionary Acres) and to remove our names (since they got added to the front.)
It now looks like this, which is not nearly as cluttered:
We wanted to use the iconic gazebo/pond shot since that’s what many people think of if they know about Missionary Acres. We also wanted to include some of the residents since they’re the reason we’re here.
The back of your prayer card is an excellent place for shots of your field. If you aren’t using your own photos, always ensure you have permission to use and print them (for commercial use) before you do. You don’t want a lawsuit because you snagged a photo that someone else owned.
Get A Hardcopy Proof
When you have a design you’re happy with for both the front and the back, it’s time to get it printed.
We use PSPrint for our prayer cards. We found them to offer great pricing and reliable printing. When getting ready to print, we selected a standard postcard with full color on both sides.
As mentioned above, we went with the 4X6 option, but you can design a different size if you prefer. We stuck with 14 pt. c2S Gloss Cover for the paper and didn’t get UV coating. However, feel free to decide what works best for you.
After uploading our design, we went with a hardcopy proof. This allows you to get your hands on one copy of the card and make sure everything is correct before getting 1,000 copies of it.
With your proof in hand, get feedback from your pastor and other trusted people. The more eyes you can get on it, the better. Verify that:
- All names are spelled correctly
- Any dates included are correct (for instance if you list your anniversary or birthdate)
- Addresses are right
- Any other text is grammatically correct
After at least a couple of people have reviewed your card, make any necessary changes, and re-upload your design (if required). Otherwise, approve your proof and wait for the missionary prayer cards to arrive. The unboxing day is always fun!
Pass Out Your Prayer Cards
Once your new prayer card arrives, it’s time to get them to others. Take some to your sending church. Deliver some to your mission board.
And then bring them with you to every meeting you have on deputation. You should also get in the habit of always having a couple tucked into your Bible. That way, you can quickly get one and hand it out if the opportunity arises.
Update Your Missionary Prayer Cards
Though we know of missionaries who have had the exact same prayer cards for decades, most people update it occasionally. Consider making a new card when:
- Another baby arrives
- Your kids get older
- You have kids move out, to the next stage of their life
- You age
- Your mission field changes
When you do make changes, reach out to those on your support team and ask if they’d like some new cards. You should also bring them with you if you report back to churches on furlough.
Missionary Prayer Cards: A Review
Missionary prayer cards are a great way to help people remember and pray for missionaries worldwide. Whether you decide to DIY or outsource the design, it is vital to make sure that your card contains all of the necessary information about yourself and your mission in an easy-to-read format. Make sure you aren’t using a tiny font or something hard to see.
A picture of your family can help create an immediate connection with those viewing the card, while contact information and mission board details let them know how they can stay updated on your progress.
With some careful planning and execution, a well-designed prayer card will serve as a reminder to pray for missionaries everywhere! So now that we’ve walked through all the steps involved in creating one, go forth and make something beautiful – or find someone else to do it if need be. The important thing is for you to get your prayer card into the hands of your partners – to help them remember to pray for you!