Friday, March 20, 2009

Christ's Only Prayer Request

Did you know that Jesus made only one request for prayer in the Scriptures?

Yep, and it is found in Matthew 9:37-38.

Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."

Sadly this is a prayer which is woefully neglected in the hearts of most professing followers of Jesus Christ. Why do we not pray with great sincerity to the Lord to send more laborers into the harvest? There can only be three reasons; ignorance, apathy, or self-preservation.

First, one may have no knowledge that this request has been made by our Lord. This state of ignorance would indeed be temporary, of course. For if one knows what he has been saved from and how he has been saved from it then his conscience would demand that something be done. Intuitively the regenerate man will pray for laborers to be dispatched into the world.

Second, the professing christian may be apathetic to this request. They simply do not care whether other people (neighbors, friends, or family) are saved from the wrath of God. They may claim with great passion that they care but in the deepest parts of the heart they do not. This is a very dangerous place to live by the way. Charles Spurgeon said,"Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that."

The third reason that this prayer fails to be uttered is because of self-preservation. Understand, there is no way that this prayer can be honestly spoken without taking action. How can one genuinely pray for laborers to be sent while sitting on one's own hands? It can not be done, the faithful child of God knows who they are and knows to what they have been called. The carnal man may know as well but still refuse to execute faithfully that which is required of his commission. So because of the burdening of the conscience this third man will not pray the request of his Lord. He knows that praying this prayer for laborers would implicate him in his lack of zeal for the lost. He would therefore rather remain quite, exclude the prayer for laborers, and remain safely planted in his home. There is no suffering for the sake of Christ for this one. There is no mockery for the one who does not move, there are no stones thrown at those who do not speak, and there is no burning stake for those who do not love.

You know the only safe person of these three would be the one who is ignorant, but if you've read this far then you no longer have an excuse.

So pray to the Lord of the Harvest that He would send more laborers into the fields; that is, in addition to you.


Celestial Freak said...

Do you not consider Luke 22:42 a prayer request from Jesus?

Joshua Elsom said...

No. In Luke 22 Jesus is praying himself, making a request of the Father. Matthew 9 is the only place where we see Jesus requesting others to pray. We do see the Lord giving directives to pray. For instance, Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, told His disciples to pray so that they would not fall into temptation but we see no other requests.

To be fair one could argue that the passage cited in Matthew 9 is not a request but is a command. In either case, whether request or command, people still fail to pray for laborers for the same three reasons.