In sharing some thoughts recently on Luke 10 it dawned on me that Jesus is telling us that there is something we need to be praying and I cannot say that I have heard it prayed more than a few times in my life.
“After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.”
There it is. Not only did Jesus say they needed to “Go!” (the part we emphasize but still do infrequently), Jesus said they need to also ask God to send out workers. That is a very strange request because when I read that my first impression is, aren’t they they ones who are going? The very next word Jesus says is “Go!” so in a very real sense, yes, they are the ones who are going.
But maybe there is more to it than that. God has his hand in more things than we can ever realize. There are times in the Gospels and in Acts where the disciples run into people they had no idea existed who are doing the work of God. Where did those people come from? God humbles us in these stories to reminds us that we aren’t the only game in town. God reminds us that he will accomplish what he has set out to do with us or without us. We don’t know all that God is up to. It is easy to think the scope of his work is limited to what we are able to do ourselves. We know better…but still it holds true.
I want to encourage you to pray this prayer on a regular basis…to “ask the Lord of the harvest…to send out workers into his harvest field.” Maybe that prayer would spark growth in our churches. Maybe it would result in a renewed desire for planting churches. Either way…Jesus told us to pray it and we should pray it.
There are three reasons that come to mind as to why this is such an important prayer to pray regularly:
- The more you pray for the lost (preferably by name) the more you realize that it is foolish to keep praying for something to happen and continue to be unwilling to work on it yourself.
- God can and will send people in response to this prayer…why else tell us to pray it? Maybe the church across town grows from it…does it matter where the increase happens?
- Prayer changes culture. As our churches pray this on a regular basis people will begin to embrace it.
So there it is…the prayer Jesus told us to pray and I am afraid too few Christians are taking him up on it. Will you?