I want you to imagine a pre-industrial farmer checking his field, discovering that his crops are ripe earlier than expected. Harvest is needed now, but he doesn’t have anyone lined up to help for another two weeks.
What does he do? He puts out the call immediately, trying to recruit workers early. And his main message? Come now, the harvest is ready. Let’s get to work!
When Jesus saw the great needs of the people around him, his compassionate heart broke for them. Seeing huge response to his kingdom message, he compelled his disciples to pray. Pray for what? For more workers to get in on what God was doing in the lives of people.
“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:35-38 NIV)
The same is true today. There are people all around us who need Jesus to heal them and begin his work of new creation in them. And, contrary to what Christians often think, many people open to discovering who Jesus is, if they had people genuinely interested in them and willing to get into their lives for the sake of their healing. Rather than viewing those who are not yet following Jesus as somehow set against him, we need to see with the eyes of Jesus, who views the broken and hurting around him as signs of God’s harvest work happening. Too few of us do.
Today’s prayer challenge is to pray for more Jesus-workers in the lives of people who need his healing.
Here’s what I’m asking you to do today.
- Open with a prayer, asking Jesus to give you his eyes to see the people around you who need his healing and compassion. Ask him to help you see beyond the exterior (be that grubby clothes or a shiny SUV), and by the Holy Spirit, to see the brokenness and the need that is present, so that you might have his compassion for them. We must start there, for people are not projects for ministry–they are people God loves.
- Next, let’s pray this prayer Jesus told his first disciples to pray. Lord of the Harvest, you who sees all and views our true condition with such compassion, send more workers into your harvest. Empower, equip and send more of your children into the lives of their neighbours, friends, and communities, so that they can be your healing agents, as you have called us to be.
- Consider, before the Lord of the Harvest, what is holding back the release of more workers. Is it apathy on the part of Christians? How must discipleship grow in our daily practice? What must be done, as the body of Christ, to equip more workers? How can we position ourselves to be more available to those God is healing? As you ruminate prayerfully, bring all your heart to Jesus and discuss this with him. What is he saying?
- And fourth, what must you do? We cannot pray this prayer without asking about our own role. Jesus, who are you calling me to love today? How can I be a more compassionate presence in the lives of those around me? Help me to move beyond my own concerns and into your mission to see lives healed and restored in you.
You may want to mediate prayerfully on this story from Matthew 9:35-38. What challenges me as I do is how the cry for more workers comes from the compassionate heart of Jesus; it’s his compassionate heart that must inspire my own prayer and action. May it inspire all of us today.
We are surrounded by people desperate for the loving, healing power of Jesus, whether they are able to articulate it clearly or not. Can we see with Jesus’ eyes, and cry to the Lord of the harvest on the behalf of the world Jesus loves? That is our call to prayer.
May the compassionate heart of Jesus shape you today, as you see with his eyes and cry with his heart, and then follow him into the ripening fields.