Updated on January 6, 2014
Chronological Bible: October 25, Prayer first, harvest second…
- Matthew 9:35-11:1
- Mark 6:7-13
- Luke 9:1-6
- Matthew 14:1-12
- Mark 6:14-29
- Luke 3:19-20
- Luke 9:7-9
“Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.'” –Matthew 9:37-38, ESV
Notice very carefully what Jesus’ actual command was in these verses. Go ahead and read them again if need be. I’ll wait…
If you grew up in the church, you likely heard “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few” for every annual missions conference and many calls to assistance in ministry. These words of Christ remain powerful to urge a heart to look at the kingdom of God in a bit different way. A few days ago, we learned about Jesus’ purpose to gather people. To read about His harvest further builds that role in the kingdom of God.
But in this passage, Jesus doesn’t command us to harvest, or even to labor. He calls us, instead, to pray. And not just any kind of prayer; He calls us to fervent prayer. If our ultimate goal is to fulfill the call of God on our lives, then going straight to laboring, to attempting to harvest may not be fulfilling His call. Fervent prayer puts us in the position to learn God’s heart and hear His guidance. In prayer, the Holy Spirit can move our soul to align with the Father, assure us of our position as children of God, and urge us into action. But only after the fervent prayer can we begin to understand what kind of labor might be the most effective for the harvest before us. Through prayer we learn more about God and more about ourselves. And it could be that the labor before us, that our role in the harvest might be very different than the one we fear, the one that causes us to hesitate before the Throne.