Praying For Laborers:

29 09 2013

“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:35-38)

 

We have often heard this passage quoted at the beginning of a soul-winning drive or during a bus ministry rally but have we ever stopped for just a moment to meditate on the message in these verses. The Lord here makes a stunning and convicting statement both about prayer and about the work of evangelism.

In verse 35 the Bible tells us, “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.” He was not making this statement while sitting in the Temple not while sitting in someone’s house comfortably reclining at a meal.

He was out and about busy at the work that God wanted done. He was already occupied in the work of the ministry and then in verse 36 He sees the great need for more than just Himself to be about the work of the kingdom. The Bible spells it out by saying, “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.”

Our Lord is one burdened for people, He has a compassion for the lost for humanity. He sees us as dumb animals headed ignorantly to our own destruction. When He saw the great multitudes wandering lost in false religion, false security, and headed for peril unable to affect their own salvation the Bible says He was moved.

He then told his disciples that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. It’s as if there is a vast wheat field with millions of acres and yet a dozen working to bring in the harvest. There is a sea of nations in the world today. There is an estimated 7 BILLION people in the world every single one of them headed for eternal hell and yet we see churches of hundreds with evangelism teams in the dozens or half dozen.

The Lord enlightens us with the need before us. This need ought to move us and motivate us as much as it did Him if indeed we are becoming more and more like Him. He then gives us a command which is to pray for more laborers. This is not an option to be considered but a command to be obeyed.

He said “therefore” which always refers back to the last thing mentioned. He tells us that there is a need for laborers then says therefore or because of that we are to pray that the Lord of the harvest send more laborers. God is the one who moves and motivates people to join in the work of the ministry but if we don’t pray for those laborers then He will not send them. His giving is related to us praying.

The interesting point to consider is that not just anyone should pray this prayer but those who are themselves busy in the work of the ministry. Those who are not active in serving the Lord need themselves to get active and not concern themselves with others but for those who are laboring in the work of the ministry they are commanded for God to bring more workers into the work to labor with them.

We must also be wiling for God to answer our prayer through us. If we pray Lord send someone to South America then we must begin by saying Lord if you will send me. Reese Howells a Welsh Christian once said that he didn’t pray for anything unless he was willing for the Lord to fulfill it through him. We must be active ourselves, see the need, respond by asking the Lord to send others to join us in the work and be willing for the Lord to send us wherever He wills in His harvest field.

If we say “Lord send someone to evangelize my town” we must be willing ourselves to be out evangelizing our town. Being active is not enough, even recognizing the need for more workers is not enough. We are commanded to pray to the Lord of harvest to send more. As our church moves into a new soul-winning campaign and we have seen our number going out increase I am always praying for the Lord to increase our number, to burden more people for the lost.

We must and I can’t emphasis this enough we must be willing for the Lord to fulfill our prayer through us. Whether that is going to some distant country with the Gospel, moving to a new city, or increasing our efforts right where we are.


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