Jesus said, "The harvest is plentiful, and the laborers are few. Therefore, pray earnestly to the harvest-master to send out more laborers into the harvest.” Now, what might it look like to pray earnestly? And, how might we move people from strangers to laborers?
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And, if you'd like an example of praying earnestly for the harvest, you may be helped by a prayer I used in our church family worship service this last Sunday, A Prayer About a Full Harvest and Few Workers (from pastor Scotty Smith) :
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, “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. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. (Luke 10:1-3)
Dear Lord Jesus, it’s really not all that complicated. All of history—every millennium, century, year and nano-second is determined by your outrageously generous commitment to redeem—to “harvest” your beloved Bride from every nation, tribe, people and language. You’ve done everything necessary to guarantee this magnificent nuptial story will end perfectly.
You bought us with your life and death. You love us with more passion and delight than we can possibly imagine. You’ve secured our safe arrival in the new heaven and new earth. There’s no chance the wedding feast of the Lamb will not take place. Yet, even as you’ve determined the glorious end of all things, so you’ve appointed the means to that end. We’re not just to be the Bride in waiting, but workers in the harvest—the plentiful, ripe harvest.
As the church—as your greatly loved Bride, we’re not supposed to be hanging out in the spa reading glamour magazines getting our nails done. We’re supposed to be getting dirt under our nails, as we do the hard and heart work of evangelism and missions. You send us out like lambs among wolves. It’s a costly, messy, much-resisted work you’ve given us to do. But it’s worth all the sacrifice, tears and conflict… for you came us as the Lamb among sinners and the Lamb for sinners. The price you paid “to have and to hold” your Bride makes our most agonizing work a kingdom joy.
Jesus, gracious Lord of the harvest, send us… send me into the harvest you’ve secured for yourself. What more could we possibly want for our church family? What other story would we choose for the rest of our days in this world, than to be the means by which you gather your Bride from the nations and prepare her for a future beyond our wildest dreams? Forgive us… focus us… free us… so very Amen, we pray, in your loving and triumphant name.