Summary: A look at the evangelism prayer that Jesus told us to pray (but we don't) as well as five of the reasons we need this prayer.
THE SIMPLE, OBVIOUS, PATHETIC, MYSTIFYING TRUTH: We do not pray this prayer.
- Matthew 9:38.
- I do not have an explanation for this.
- It’s not hard to do. It’s not hard to understand. It’s not controversial. Yet it’s rare that any of us pray this prayer at all. It’s even more rare that a church will focus on this prayer and tenaciously cling to it until they see results.
- I don’t know why. It’s simple. It’s obvious. It’s pathetic that we don’t. It’s mystifying that we ignore it. Yet we do.
- More often when we pray about evangelism and witnessing, we pray for lost. We pray for our church to grow. We pray for open doors. But we don’t pray for God to send us workers.
- The workers could come by God raising up people within our church. The workers could come by God bringing people to our church. But in either case, the specific prayer we’ve been told to pray is for workers.
- We sometimes do lots of other evangelism stuff: host seminars, preach sermons (like this one!), read books, etc. But we don’t pray this prayer.
- Now, this is not the answer you’ll get if you ask people about how to see more people saved within your church.
- “Why aren’t we seeing more people saved?” Likely answers:
a. People just aren’t interested in the Lord anymore.
b. We need more training.
c. People are just busy with the world today.
d. It’s different than it used to be.
- One possible reason we don’t: it sounds a little insulting and embarrassing.
- When you’re in church and pray this prayer, you’re implicitly criticizing the people who are there. They either aren’t harvest workers or at least enough of them aren’t that we need to pray for more.
- Most evangelism prayers focus on the problems out there: the unsaved people are the problem (they don’t want it) or the world is the problem (it’s draw is too strong).
- This prayer points back to us as the problem. It’s a little uncomfortable.
- Every time we pray this, we’re acknowledging that those of us here aren’t seeing the results we want.
- Having 100 people in your church on a Sunday morning is not the same as having 100 harvest workers. Not even close.
- You might just need two or three harvest workers to make a difference in a church. Just a handful committed to seeing the lost come home.
- This is why Jesus said the workers are few – there aren’t many interested in laboring.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT THAT WE DO THIS?
1. Our harvest expectations are low.
- Matthew 9:37 – “The harvest is plentiful. . .”
- The first thing Jesus says here is almost unbelievable: the harvest is plentiful.
- Really? Seriously? Where?
- We have become accustomed to a dribble of salvations within our churches. Seeing a handful within a year get baptized is “pretty good.”
- I remember one of the first times I looked through the WVBC Annual Report. I expected the smaller churches to have lower numbers of salvations and baptisms, but two things really hit me: