MDB 38: Luke 10
The plenty of the harvest is inversely proportional to the number of harvesters. "The laborers are few," Jesus said (Luke 10:2). Not many people are willing to do the hard labor of the gospel: sowing seeds of salvation by sharing the good news, or gathering people in by leading them to Christ. We are not nearly as fruitful in our evangelism as we ought to be. Nor do we have nearly as many missionaries as we need. For example, although there are more than a billion Muslims in the world today, it is generally believed that less than 2% of all missionaries are working in Muslim communities.
Where will we get the missionaries we need? The answer is not better recruitment, although of course this has its practical place in the church. The answer is not better conferences, although God can use missionary gatherings to carry forward the good work of the Great Commission. The answer is not better seminaries, although of course theological education can help prepare people for service.
The answer is persistent prayer--prayer for God himself to raise up new workers for the great harvest. "Pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest," Jesus said, "to send out laborers into his harvest" (Luke 10:2). Prayer has the priority.
We pray to God because he is the Lord of the harvest. Three times in the opening verses of Luke 10 Jesus either identifies himself or is identified as the Lord who sends workers out into the field. He alone is able to supply the need. Just as he once sent out his seventy-two disciples, so now he invites us to pray that he will send out others. Is this missionary need a regular part of your prayer life?
Every believer is called to labor for the harvest, but God also sets apart certain men and women for the work of gospel witness. For this we must pray, asking the sending Lord to provide preachers, evangelists, Bible translators, church planters, and other Christian workers to reach the unreached around the world.
As we pray, we also tell God that we are willing to be part of the answer to our own prayers: we too will go and labor in his gospel field, right where we are and wherever he sends us.