When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
(Matthew 9:36-38 NIV84)
Getting our prayers in order.
Jesus sees a need and experiences compassion for the hurting. Jesus has both power and authority from the Father within His grasp and capability. Jesus can heal, deliver, calm, restore, and make whole. With all of that power at His disposal, you’d think He’d do something about their condition. No. He takes an unexpected turn and instructs His disciples to pray. Even here we would think that Jesus might ask them to pray differently than He does. Why doesn’t Jesus ask them to pray for their needs, their oppressed condition, or for increased provision? Jesus drills down even deeper and points to the kind of praying that has to come before the surface issues are dealt with. He tells them to pray for workers for the harvest. We would be good to follow the Lord’s instruction and get our prayers in order. Perhaps we’re praying for “x” when “y” is what is really needed.
Compassion drives prevenient intercession.
As a pastor I’ve learned that it’s difficult to get people to pray. Advertise an attractive program and people will flock in. Call the church to their knees and you might get a few. Why is this so? If you’re like me you felt the frustration that comes along with a lack of participation in praying. Perhaps what is needed is prevenient intercession… praying for workers by the few workers that are available. “Prevenient” means something that comes before in time or order. To get our prayers in order means we need to intercede for more intercessors. We must do this, not out of frustration, but out of compassion for the people of the world are lost, harassed and helpless, like people without a shepherd.
What does prevenient intercession look like?
It sees the need. Prevenient intercessors see the world with the eyes of the Lord of the Harvest. We see the whiteness of the harvest and we see the lack of workers.
It knows what’s needed. Prevenient intercessors know that the solution is in more. More workers. More people who are ready join the choir of intercession needed to change the course of things.
“Though none go with me.” Alone with Jesus doesn’t matter… the need does. One prevenient intercessor can churn up a new supply of workers. This might have to be done alone. Frustration over the lack of participation will not stop a prevenient intercessor. In fact, frustration won’t enter the equation.
It prays through. Prevenient intercessors don’t stop until they see the fruit of the answer. They always pray and never give up.
The order of things today.
Today we have a great need for more “workers.” We need people to intercede for our nation like never before. As we seek for true community transformation in prayer, we must get our prayers in order. If your heart is stirred by what you are reading, then join the ranks of the prevenient intercessors. Begin to pray for more pray-ers. Pray without ceasing for this. Look for the answers, but don’t give up, don’t lose heart, don’t stop seeing the need, and be willing to go it alone until the Lord sends more.
As the FMC approaches our National Prayer Summit February 22-24, 2018, we are seeking the Lord for true and lasting change in our communities. We need solutions, yes, but if we’re honest, we need to drill down to the answer Jesus gave His disciples so long ago. It’s time to engage in prevenient intercession. It’s time to ask the Lord of the Harvest for more workers. Will you join us in this kind of praying as we approach the National Prayer Summit?
You can register for the National Prayer Summit at www.npmfmc.org.