“Then Jesus made a circuit of all the towns and villages . . . When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep without a shepherd. ‘What a huge harvest!’ he said to his disciples.‘How few the workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!’” (Mt. 9:37, 38, TMB).
Prayer has always been the fuel of Christian missions. Jesus Himself set the standard when He began His ministry with forty days of fasting and prayer. Afterwards He returned in the “power of the Holy Spirit” and people flocked to His message (Mt. 4:1-25). Later Jesus chose twelve apostles after a night of prayer, and sent them out to share the good news (Lk. 6:12-16, 9:1-6). In the Matthew 9 passage above we see Jesus engaged in mission activity in various towns that made His heart ache and caused Him to exclaim: “What a huge harvest! “How few the workers!” He then announced the key to future success: “On your knees and pray for harvest hands!”
Though we don’t fully understand the whys of prayer, we do know that God has designed the moral universe around its efficacy. Without prayer, God doesn’t act. Through prayer, people’s lives are changed. It might be said that prayer gives an impartial God a reason to be partial in someone’s life.
Prayer is the gunpowder and the work of the Holy Spirit the bullets in God’s redemptive arsenal. As our hearts ache over lost individuals and nations as Jesus’ did, we will also fall to our knees and pray to the Lord of the harvest. His answer will be to multiply workers (missions) around the world.
Righteous God, You rule the heavens and the earth with all wisdom and power…and yet, You have chosen to limit the working of Your great power to the prayers of Your people…people like me! How humbling that knowledge is! Send me to my knees again and again, and raise up workers for the fields that are ripe and ready to harvest! Multiply those who are already preparing to be sent so that all will hear of Jesus and learn to live Christ-like lives for the glory of Your holy name!
–Adapted from Chapter 65 of Giving Ourselves to Prayer (Prayer and Missionary Movements) by Ron Boehme. Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.
Praise God, for he is truth. There is no deception in him. Thank God for his revealed redemptive plan. Confess those times when you have doubted the reality of God’s righteousness. Commit to faith those things of God which are most difficult for you to accept as his truth. Ask God to help you see his truth revealed to you each day—in nature, in godly relationships, in the renewing of your mind through Christ Jesus.
Pray that God will reveal the deceit and persuasive powers of false gods and cult leaders.
“Prayer is for the helpless.” —O. Hallesby
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