EDITOR’S NOTE: Frank Page, president of the SBC Executive Committee, has issued a call to prayer for revival and spiritual awakening for our churches, our nation and our world during 2013. Baptist Press will carry First-Person articles during the year encouraging Southern Baptists to pray in specific areas and for specific needs as we petition the Father for spiritual awakening.
NASHVILLE (BP) — Penetrating lostness in North America is a huge task. It will require thousands of church planters and tens of thousands of believers demonstrating and declaring the Gospel of Jesus Christ with compassion and grace.
Where will those church planters come from?
Jesus told His disciples to “… pray to the Lord of the harvest ….” The North American Mission Board is inviting Southern Baptists to join us at 10:02 each day — morning or night — to pray that God will send workers into His harvest field.
“He told them: ‘The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest'” (Luke 10:2, HCSB).
Why should you consider joining Southern Baptists in praying TenTwo? Jesus’ request continues to call to us today.
Jesus was asking His disciples, and He asks us, to pray with:
Urgency — The ripeness of the harvest implies temporary opportunity.
Fervency — Christ Himself was moved with compassion and effective laborers must possess His heart for the lost.
Dependency — The harvest belongs to God. He owns it. Our plans and processes are worthless without His empowerment.
Expectancy — We must be prepared to become the answer to our prayer.
Jesus would have us pray for diligent workers.
Jesus would have us pray for surrendered workers.
Jesus would have us pray for faith-filled workers.
Jesus would have us pray for courageous workers.
Jesus would have us pray for humble workers.
Jesus would have us pray for Christ-centered workers.
When Jesus commanded His disciples to pray the Lord of the harvest to “send,” He used the Greek word ekballos, meaning “to propel or thrust” or even “to cast out.” The word has a sense of force. As strange as it may sound, this Luke 10:2 challenge is in essence an appeal for God to “make” workers willing to go to the places of greatest need, places like Send North America cities and beyond. It is a petition for God to fill the hearts of laborers with compassion for people who need to hear about Jesus.
In light of the dire need for laborers, Jesus did not advise His disciples to recruit, enlist or persuade. His command to them — and to us — is to pray.
Jesus doesn’t instruct us to pursue potential laborers. Jesus commands us to pursue the God who alone could create a longing in the hearts of those who would respond to the immense need.
Our cities are filled with lost and disillusioned people who need to see something more than Christianity. They need to see Jesus living and breathing and loving through “called out” people. Such laborers must be Christ-centered and Spirit-filled.
When Jesus challenged His disciples to pray for the sending of laborers, He was not simply encouraging prayer for workers to leave their Jerusalem to harvest in Judea, Samaria and the uttermost part of the earth. Jesus was also asking for prayer for laborers to recognize the ripe harvest in their Jerusalem, in their neighbors. He compels us to give ourselves to compassionate service in our own communities.
We must pray that God will send teenage laborers who will engage this culture with Jesus’ love.
We must pray that God will send laborers of every ethnicity to reach people of every language and culture.
We must pray that we are willing to become the answer to our prayer.
What time is it?
Gary Frost is vice president for the Midwest Region for the North American Mission Board and coordinates prayer strategy for NAMB. For more information about NAMB’s TenTwo initiative, visit namb.net/TenTwo. Initial articles on Frank Page’s Call to Prayer for 2013 can be read here and here. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).