As Jesus looked down from his own time to the end of the age, he pointed out a terrible problem. He told his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few” (Matthew 9:37).
As I read these words, I wonder, “What’s the solution? How can more laborers be raised up to go the nations?” Well, Jesus gave the answer, in the very next verse: Someone has to pray these laborers into the harvest. “So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields” (Matthew 9:38).
Yeah, yeah, I hear you saying, “Hey! Doors are closing all over the world.” Well that may be true, but it doesn’t matter how closed some nations may look to our eyes. If God can tear down the Iron Curtain in Europe and the Bamboo Curtain in Asia, nothing can stop him from working wherever he wants—he got you, didn’t he?
I’ve heard many Pastors testify that they spent sometimes years praying for a particular city or nation. Even pledging to support whoever the Lord sent: raise money, hold meetings, build up support. The funny thing is, while they were praying for God to send a laborer into that specific harvest, the Lord put the burden on them to go.
The apostle Paul was sent out as a missionary through the power of prayer. It happened in Antioch, where leaders of the church were praying over the harvest (see Acts 13:2-6). Paul’s first missionary journey came out of a prayer meeting. It was the direct result of godly men obeying Jesus’ words, to pray for God to send laborers into the harvest.
How do you think my friend Jipu Barikdar ended up ministering in his home country of Bangladesh? He prayed and the Lord put a burden on his heart for his own country. This is probably true for most missionaryies and Pastors.
The same should be true for each of us. We are to be about the work of praying for the harvest, just as those godly men in Antioch did. The fact is, while we’re praying, the Holy Spirit is searching the earth, putting an urgency in the hearts of those who desire to be used of the Lord. He’s touching people everywhere, setting them apart for his service—maybe it will be you!
In Matthew 8, a centurion came to Jesus asking for healing for his dying servant. Christ answered the centurion, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” And the young servant was healed that same hour” (8:13). I believe the same thing happens with everyone who intercedes for the harvest. While we’re asking God to send out the laborers, the Holy Spirit is stirring someone somewhere and it doesn’t matter where it takes happens. The powerful truth is, our prayers are being used to send laborers into the harvest.
Well Father, I admit I’m timid at asking this, but I pray for _________ (name the city or country) and I’m asking you send laborers. Like others I will support whoever you send. I will provide prayer and financial support as you enable me. And yes, Father, I boldly tell you I at your disposal. If you require it of me, I would be honored to go and minister your Word and your Life. I know Father that if indeed you call me, whatever I set my hand to will prosper and you will accompany me with signs and wonders. I would simply go as your representative.
I am willing to go. I avail myself to you. However, if you send someone else in my stead, I will indeed support them and honor them. I will “hold the ropes” for them. Whoever you send, send them soon. Your havest is waiting for the Laborers to bring in the bounty to glorify you and you alone. Send me, or send someone with your heart. But send them soon, Lord, send them soon.
Okay, you prayed for it, if he calls you, then be prepared to go. If not, then as I said in Holding the Ropes, you must be willing to support whoever he does send.
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)
I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.