Robin J Johnson
In recent days we have again been confronted by the news of yet another tragic and senseless massacre of innocent people at the hands of a crazed gunman who entered a church in Texas USA and killed 26, men, women and children while they worshipped.
Many are feeling the sorrow that a brutal act like this creates and the majority of people feel a sense of compassion towards those who have lost loved ones. Those near and even some from afar have offered their support and care.
However, as incredible as it may seem, there are others who out of their own broken lives and hardened hearts are criticising Christians for their faith, mocking all that we stand for. They ridicule the knowledge of God and mock His existence. Instead of comfort and some level of concern they add to the tragic event with harsh words and show no sign of any human decency.
If one was not strong in the faith I can see how they might possibly feel the pressure of those harsh words of derision and also possibly question the validity of prayer; God’s ability to answer and care.
We must never allow ourselves to be intimidated by a merciless enemy. Instead we must be firm in our belief and stand strong, while doing what we can to comfort those who mourn. For me the mocking words do not cause me to pull back. Rather, my resolve is strengthened and spurs me on to do more. Pray more, speak more, preach more.
I refuse to be ashamed of sharing the wonderful message of God’s liberating power unleashed in us through Christ! For I am thrilled to preach that everyone who believes is saved—the Jew first, and then people everywhere!
Romans 1:16 (Passion Translation NT)
With that verse in mind may I invite you to pray regularly for, “Workers to be sent into the harvest”. We know that one of the ways to guarantee answered prayer is to pray Bible prayers. Jesus told us to pray, “For workers to be thrust out…” He will answer!
It is out of His great love and compassion for lost people that He invites our participation to pray for workers who will go and work with Him to bring in this harvest of humanity. The Gospel is still the only solution to man’s many ills and our society’s greatest needs.
Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He *said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
Luke also records part of this discourse (Luke 10:2) with the exact words found above in verses 37 & 38. The only Greek writer in the New Testament knew just how important this request of Jesus is.
There are numerous things that can be unpacked from these verses, though at this time I only wish to highlight two important aspects.
First, it was compassion that stirred Jesus heart to tell us to pray. We also must have compassion; “love in action”. Not a ritualistic response, but a heartfelt cry to the Lord of the harvest to thrust out workers. One reason why I love Matthew’s account is, it reminds us that it is people who are at the heart of Jesus’ instruction. The harvest is people!
Second, it is the actual meaning of the original word; (Gk deomai) “beseech” or “pray” or “ask” (depending on your translation), which is used by both Matthew and Luke. In the original it is a strong word, which in other parts of the NT has been translated “beg” (Matthew 5:12). When I first saw this many years ago it helped to change the way I prayed.
One aspect of begging is to ask over and over again. If you have ever been accosted by a beggar you will know what I mean. They are persistent if nothing else. We need to be persistent in praying for workers. Jesus did not ask us to pray for the harvest. He told us to pray for harvest workers.
The great people harvest
The harvest is ripe, ready, waiting and longing. Ask the Holy Spirit to tune your ears to the cry coming up from the harvest. Many around the world have been and are praying for the billion soul harvest. Keep praying, but there cannot be a harvest with the harvest workers.
As the crowds emerged from the village, Jesus said to his disciples, “Why would you say, ‘The harvest is another four months away’? Look at all the people coming—now is harvest time! For their hearts are like vast fields of ripened grain—ready for a spiritual harvest.
John 4:35 (Passion Translation NT)
Please pray regularly for workers to enter the harvest. One thing you can do to help remind yourself is to set the alarm on your phone for either 9.38 or 10.02 whatever is the most convenient for you. Either set it for everyday or three times a week or once a week. I have also set the alarm sound to one of my favourite songs and by chance it runs three minutes. So for three minutes, I pray and ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.
I chose 9.38am as that is the most convenient time for me. Some prefer the Luke reference and set their alarm for 10.02am. You can set it to whatever time you wish and know others are also praying asking the Lord of the harvest to send out workers in His great harvest.
I travel a great deal of the time so wherever I am when my alarm sounds, I pray for that specific part of the great harvest and/or when at home as the Holy Spirit leads. You can choose the region on your heart to pray for or as the Holy Spirit leads you. Remember, another key to successful prayer is praying specific prayers.
Jesus said, “The world is the field.” Matthew 13:38
The need for more workers is enormous. Whether it is in the street where we live or on the other side of the world, more workers are needed or multitudes will be lost, destined to an eternity without Christ. Our inboxes are flooded with requests to pray for numerous different causes; many have value and are worthy of our attention. However, there is one cause that definitely carries the endorsement of heaven. Jesus himself is asking us to join in praying for the greatest cause of all. His harvest; men women and children.
Somethings we can ask ourselves.
- Will someone come to Christ through my prayer?
- Will a life be transformed?
- Will hope touch someone’s life?
- Will what I pray make a difference in another human beings life?
There is a prayer you can pray that can make a difference, the one Jesus is imploring you to pray. “Lord send out workers into your harvest.”
One more prayer
In closing may I invite you to consider one more prayer? There is another request that we can make; pray it only if you dare because this could change your life…. Lord send me!
Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
An interesting observation (a topic for another day) is the prayer of the disciples in Acts, after which the whole building was shaken and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Luke describes their prayer using the same Greek word; deomai.
And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.
Go or send
Finally, if you cannot go yourself, help send someone else who can go. You can be an investor in this great harvest in two practical ways; prayer and giving. To help send one of our team, click here.
However, above all else pray!
When He saw the throngs, He was moved with pity and sympathy for them, because they were bewildered (harassed and distressed and dejected and helpless), like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few. So pray to the Lord of the harvest to force out and thrust laborers into His harvest.
Matthew 9:36-38 (AMP)
(Scripture references are taken from NASB unless otherwise stated)