10/09/18 Praying for Laborers

READING: Matthew 8:18-34, 9:18-38; Mark 4:35-5:43; Luke 8:22-56; 9:57-62

“Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.”

Matthew 9:38

They are a couple of verses that I’ve read many times and have taught over and over again. They’re such clear verses that we really don’t need much help understanding them. They’re a solution to a problem that most churches face. Still, though, they’re also verses that I (and probably others) too seldom obey. Here are the verses: “Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest’” (Matt. 9:37-38).

Jesus saw the crowds and had great compassion on them. They were like sheep without a shepherd, wandering without direction and vulnerable to attack. Some within those crowds were ready to hear – the harvest would be abundant – but the laborers to go into those fields were few. More believers needed to head to the fields, plant the seeds of the gospel, water them, and trust God to reap the harvest. The way to get them to go was actually quite simple, according to Jesus: ask God to raise up those laborers and send them. That is, the answer to fewer workers was to pray. 

In my church consulting work, I cannot remember the last time I worked with a church who first prayed when they lacked workers. I’ve heard them complain. I’ve seen them establish committees. I’ve watched them develop worker enlistment campaigns. I’ve even encouraged them to do one-on-one recruiting. Most of these options may well have a place (except complaining, of course), but none has a place without prayer. I fear that most of us seek workers and then ask God to bless our choices – or, we really begin praying only after we cannot fill the positions on our own. Either approach is surely not what Jesus intended.


  • Spend time today praying that God will provide laborers for your church.
  • Consider whether you should be laboring more in your local church.

PRAYER: “Lord, thank You for raising up laborers. Help me to pray more consistently for workers for our church.” 

TOMORROW’S READING: Matthew 10, 14; Mark 6:7-56; Luke 9:1-17; John 6