Serious about obeying Jesus’ commands?
How about this one?
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 9:38 and Luke 10:2 (ESV)
This is the only command of Jesus appearing twice with exactly the same Greek words. Why? Perhaps because Jesus used unusually strong words!
When Jesus taught us to “pray to your Father” and “pray for your enemies” He used the common word for prayer: “proseuchomai.” But in Mt 9:38 and Lk 10:2, Jesus used deomai, meaning plead desperately.
(In Luke 5:12 the leper “deomai”s Jesus—begs Him earnestly—for healing.)
Jesus also didn’t tell His disciples to pray for laborers to be urged to go. Again He used the much stronger Greek word ekballo, meaning to drive out!
(Ekballo is the same word used in Matthew 9:33,34, 10:1,8, and Luke 9:40,49 for “casting out” demons!)
In Matthew 9:38 and Luke 10:2, Jesus tells us to deomai (plead desperately) the Lord of the Harvest to ekballo laborers (thrust them forcefully) into His harvest!
And this prayer wasn’t for believers to be “cast forth” from the Church (the Church wasn’t born until Pentecost). No, the model of ministry Jesus instituted cooperates with the Holy Spirit to rip people out of Satan’s kingdom to forcibly launch the spread of the gospel within their relational contexts (Matthew 10 & Luke 10).
Already in recent decades the 10:2b “virus” has enlisted many to set an alarm for 10:02 as a reminder to pray Luke 10:2.
That’s a great start, but why not take it further?
- Don‘t “proseuchomai” God to send others from the Church.
Beg God earnestly to lead you in following in the disciple’s steps: “Thrust workers into YOUR harvest, starting with me as you did with your first disciples. And raise up harvesters through my obedience as you did through the disciples.”
- Don’t just aim for private prayer.
When your alarm goes off invite believers with you to join in prayer. If there aren’t any, search out others to pray with (Malachi 3:16; Matthew 18:20).
- Don’t keep the virus to yourself.
Invite others to join you in a) adopting this practice and b) inviting others (Matthew 28:20).
- Don’t settle for a “moment of prayer.”
“Tarry” in seeking Holy Spirit power for the harvest!
Set your alarm for 9:38 and 10:02. Then, as often as you can, take this full 24 minutes to deomai the Lord to ekballo you and others into His Harvest .
- Don’t just sit there.
Jesus took the disciples into the harvest. Walk as you pray, asking the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to the harvest and give you His compassion for the harassed and helpless—those like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36).
- Don’t let your fire die out.
A lone ember grows cold. Covenant with friends to pray together at 9:38 or 10:02 as often as you can—by hangout, Skype, Facetime or phone (Ecclesiastes 4:12).
- Don’t pray uninformed.
Sign up for a daily prayer prompt from:
- Joshua Project’s “Unreached People of the Day,”
- the daily Global Prayer Digest reading, or
- Operation World.
- Invest in the work of a missionary (Matthew 6:21 & Luke 12:34) and pray for a disciple-making/church-planting movement to result from their ministry.
When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?