Therefore, Pray

David Bast

Read: Matthew 9:35-38

Therefore pray . . . (v. 38)

The harvest is plentiful,” said Jesus. There’s a tremendous opportunity. But there’s also a serious problem: “the laborers are few.” What’s to be done? “Therefore pray.”

I have often wished he had said, “Therefore give (especially to Words of Hope!)” I wonder why he didn’t say, “Therefore go” (though later he would send them out to the ends of the earth). But Jesus started with prayer. What makes prayer so important for accomplishing the mission of God?

First, because prayer reminds us that it actually is his mission, not ours. We can’t bring in the harvest, only God can; and only workers called and sent by God will be effective.

Second, because whenever we pray (and mean it) we are also offering ourselves as an answer to our prayers. A 19th century minister named Bennett Tyler wrote these powerful words on prayer: “When you pray for the poor around you, that they may be warmed and filled, in what way do you expect God will answer your prayers? Will he convert the stones into bread for their sustenance . . . while you . . . have enough and to spare? And in what way do you expect that your prayers for the conversion of the heathen will be answered? Will God rain down Bibles from heaven, and commission his angels to preach to them the gospel? No; but he will put into your hearts to do what lies in your power to send them the gospel.”

—David Bast

God, don’t help me in my mission, use me for yours.