“Workers for the Harvest”
This teaching is different from many of the other things that Jesus taught about prayer because it is very specific. Rather than being general instructions that apply to our whole prayer life, he instead highlights a particular prayer need that he wanted his disciples to pray about then and that it is still important for us to pray about as well – the need for workers in the harvest field.
From this, we can learn three things about prayer:
Pray In Response to What You See (9:35-36) – The context of this instruction is Jesus going out teaching and healing and being struck with compassion for the crowd. He saw that so many people needed help and he knew the need was greater than the current capacity to meet it. So he asked the disciples to pray. This wasn’t a theoretical idea of a good prayer point. It was seeing prayer as a solution to a real problem he noticed as he went about his ministry. As we see different needs in the world, then just like Jesus our first response should be to bring those needs before God in prayer.
Pray For Workers (9:37-38) – The specific prayer request was for more workers to be sent into the harvest field, and the need for this is just as great today as it was then. In our communities and in the wider world there are so many people in need of help, healing and mercy and the size of the task seems daunting. It is good to pray for more workers who can share in the mission, both locally and globally.
Be Part of the Answer to Your Prayer (10:1) – Immediately after asking the disciples to pray for new workers he commissioned them as those workers – calling them apostles and sending them out to preach and to heal. The mission has been multiplied and now rather than only one village at once, the kingdom can be proclaimed in six villages at the same time. Prayer and action go hand in hand, and we should be ready as we bring the needs of the world before God to receive a nudge from him suggesting how we can play our part in seeing the things that we have prayed for happen.