Pray in the Harvest to the Lord of the Harvest
Matthew 9:37-38—Then He said to the disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
Nobody knows the harvest like the Lord of the harvest. And here He gives instruction as to how we are to pray effectively for this vast, ever-needy mission. Our Lead Pastor is moved with compassion (sick to His stomach) when He sees them with no shepherd. He alone sees their real condition from the heart out and knows who should reach them and how. So, He says, “Pray the Lord of the harvest.” In John 4:35, He also says to the disciples, “Lift up your eyes and look at the fields.” He knows if we look and pray, we will rescue prayer from becoming ingrown and participate with Him in the harvest. Remember the harvest belongs to the Lord of the harvest, i.e. the Head of your church!
Consider this excerpt from C.J. Miller’s book, Outgrowing the Ingrown Church:
A Pastor’s Story: Our prayer meeting in Pennsylvania was intended to function as a battle station; the earlier meeting in California was largely designed to maintain the existing life and ministry of our congregation. Believers came to the earlier meeting to be edified by a Bible study that took up most of the hour and to pray for the internal needs of the church.
Expectancy seemed to be at a low ebb among attenders, evidenced by the fact that none of us bothered to keep a record of prayers offered and answered. I also do not think that Christians came to this prayer meeting expecting to meet God in a life-changing encounter. Thus, it died.
By contrast, people came to the frontline prayer meeting to be changed. They discovered what Augustine has emphasized, that man’s chief need is to fellowship with God, to find fulfillment in Him, and to experience the abiding presence of Jesus (Psalm 27:4; 36:7-9; John 14:18-23; 15:1-10). So, they came to be changed, and they were changed because Jesus kept His promise to be wherever two or three gather in His name (Matthew 18:19-20). From Him they received grace to confess and forsake their sins, to be touched with His compassion for the lost, and to go forth to “put feet on their prayers” through witnessing by words and deeds of love.
Speaking of maintenance-style prayer meetings, Steve Harper says bluntly that “they are not really prayer meetings.” In his useful little book Prayer Ministry in the Local Church, he concludes, “They are usually Bible studies with five minutes of prayer tacked on at the end.” Ours in California actually was given to prayer, but its conception and format were designed more to preserve the status quo of the inward-looking church then to break down its rigidities. By contrast, the frontline prayer assembly has a revolutionary purpose. The prayer of those who attend it is summarized in the words, “Thy kingdom come.”
Here is a simple pattern of God’s harvest work:
We become occupied with the Lord of the harvest (Matthew 9:38).
He pours His life into us (Matthew 10:1).
He sends us forth with our instructions (Matthew 10:5ff).
We give freely what He has freely given us (Matthew 10:8).
When revival is the experience of the church, evangelism will be the expression of the church.
We are participants in His harvest.
The Lord is passionate for His harvest and He has invited us to join Him starting at home in prayer.
Remember, missions exist because worship doesn’t (John Piper). Jesus, our Lead Example, obeyed the Father and went through Samaria (John 4) because His Father was seeking worshippers (v. 23). Guest what? A Samaritan woman became a true worshipper through faith in the true messiah. The Father gained a worshipper and a lost, needy woman was rescued because Jesus marched to the beat of one drummer—His Father. So can we!
From Belief to Behavior
Take time to worship Jesus as Lord of the Harvest.
Formulate the harvest in our area and families.
Get statistics on other nations one at a time.
Ask the Lord what to do about it.
Thank Him for every movement of grace.
Say “Here am I Lord—send me to your place for me.”