Command of Christ #21

This week's command is 'Pray for Labourers.' Jesus said, "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of harvest that He will send forth labourers into His harvest" (Matthew 9:37-38). 
When I had read this before I just assumed it was a command to go and witness. While it involves that, this is really a command on praying. It does not say, 'Go harvest the fields, because they are ready,' but it says, '...PRAY ye therefore the Lord of harvest that He will send forth labourers into His harvest."
The first step is prayer. Witnessing is wonderful and needful, but it needs to start with prayer. Oswald Chambers said, 'Prayer isn't preparation for the work, it is the work.' In any work we do, prayer should be the main priority, not a quick 'flare prayer' that we shoot off before we dive into the 'important' part.
I am speaking for myself here, I have really neglected this area sadly.
I thought it was interesting that Jesus did not say, 'pray for them to accept Me,' but rather pray thatlabourers would be sent. Pray that Christians would be willing to break their backs for the Gospel. I don't live on a farm or anything, but from what I hear, harvest time is time-consuming, requires all your energy, must be done at a precise demands everything of you.  Pray for labourers who are willing to be sold out for God...pray it for yourself.
Pastor this past Sunday talked about a middle-aged Korean couple that went to Japan to be missionaries at the same time my pastor and his wife were sent off. Compared to the young, outgoing couples, this quiet and eserved couple seemed like an unlikely 'world changer.' However, they werecommitted to the task, and they put in their all to get the harvest. The man's knees are calloused,because he spends so much time in prayer on his knees. Part of their goal is to make each new convert a disciple-maker...once they become a Christian, they are immediately taught to share theirfaith and teach others. How much time do you think they spent praying for labourers...praying for ones who would go out after they had been saved? In about 10 years they have had over 1 million converts. Prayer is the work.
The parallel verse to this one gives us more insight into this command:
"Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest" (John 4:35).
The first thing that Jesus says in this verse is 'Lift up your eyes and look.' What is our focus in this day and age? Are we looking down at ourselves, worrying about our own priorities and concerns or are we looking at all the sheep without a shepherd (see Matthew 9:36). I too often find myself consumed by own trivial concerns, when there are multitudes who are dying in their sin. There are people out there who are labouring for the harvest, sweating in the heat of the day...and what am I doing? I am not saying we all have to pack our bags and move to a remote country to be a missionary...but have we lifted up our eyes and recognized that the harvest is ready.
Jesus' passion for the lost sheep consumed Him; so much even that He was willing to die for us when we were still in our sins.
-Are you praying for labourers to be sent out into the harvest?
-What missionaries can you be praying for right now?
-How can you 'lift your eyes' and partake in the harvest?
"I must work the works of Him that sent Me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work" (John 9:4).
Notes adapted from IBLP Commands of Christ study guide

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