Ask the Lord of the Harvest
By Kim Butts
We recently had dinner with friends who are working to raise their funds to go on the mission field. They have made presentations in countless churches for many months, and have heard such comments as, "That was a wonderful presentation, but we have no funds available at this time." Or, "When you actually get to Zambia we would consider supporting you."
What our friends are too gracious to say, in their frustration, is, "How can we get to the field if no one will send us?" They are becoming weary and discouraged. God has clearly called them; they have diligently prayed; they are trained, prepared and ready to go; they have established contacts from previous missionary service in the country; yet, they continue to be "on holds" until the funds are provided.
Romans 10:14-15 says, "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’"
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself gave us the Great Commission--not as a suggestion--but as a COMMAND! "Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’" (Matthew 28:18-20).
Our response to this command is simply to do one of two things: we either go, or we send. If we are not doing one of these things, we are being directly disobedient to the command!
Are we 21st century disciples? I believe we are. As his disciples, it should always be our desire to pray what is on God’s heart. Lost people are on His heart. So Jesus says to us, His disciples, in Matthew 9:37-38, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." This is not a prayer suggestion. It is a prayer command! We are to ask the Lord to send workers! It is my belief that when we pray for the Lord to send missionaries to the lost, we ought to consider listening very carefully. It may be that He is calling us to respond. We are the Lord’s hands and feet upon this earth. If we pray that He will send missionaries, He may wish to work through us to accomplish it! Some of us will go and the rest of us will send. We should never pray for others to do the sending unless we are going!
Let’s get back to our missionary friends who are trying to get to Zambia. If every Christian was as serious about asking the Lord of the Harvest to send workers as He is about wanting us to ask, and if we are as serious about fulfilling the Great Commission by going or sending as He is about having us go or send, then there should never be a missionary family, or a missions organization of any kind without enough support to get their work accomplished! We should do whatever it takes to put them in ministry and keep them there--fully funded and continuously prayed for.
Would you consider praying this prayer as an individual, as a family, or as a church?
Lord of the Harvest, we see that Your harvest field is ripe and ready all over this nation and the world! We long to see Your kingdom come on this earth and to do everything we can to obey Your commission to go into all the world. Help us to consider serving You by answering Your call to go, or to generously release our funds so that others might be sent. May we as individuals, as families and as Your Church, respond to Your command in whatever way You call us! We want the harvest to be plentiful and powerful! Show us how to pray effectively for the protection, boldness, clarity, health, and fruitfulness of missionaries. May we actively seek to align ourselves with Your heart and respond to the need! We pray that our hearts would be obedient to the desires of Your heart, so that all men would come to a saving knowledge of the truth--the Lord Jesus Christ, in Whose powerful Name we pray. Amen.
The time is short! Please be a world Christian who:
PRAYS – continuously
GOES – in response to the call of God
SENDS – generously and wholeheartedly
Kim Butts is the co-founder of Harvest Prayer Ministries and the author of The Praying Family.