A Prayer Prompted by Luke 10

Father in Heaven,

Thank you for revealing yourself to us even though we are not the great, mighty or wise of this world. If the last will be first, and so on, then we are happy to take the lower place now if it means that we get to know you.

As Jesus tells us, the harvest is large and the laborers are few. We pray earnestly that you would send laborers into your harvest.

Like the seventy-two, we can see that all of us can play a part in the task of mission. Help us to receive you sincerely knowing that we also need to be ready to be sent.

And then help us to be ready to serve our neighbor in need, no matter who that neighbor is.

Finally, make us the kind of people who will listen to and learn from Jesus. Even as we serve, we never want our work to somehow stand in the way of our relationship with him.

In Christ,

Amen.

A Prayer Prompted by Luke 5

Father in Heaven,

We thank you that Jesus did not come to call the righteous, but rather sinners in need of repentance.  If you were looking for righteous people, you would never have chosen us.

We now ask you for your forgiveness, healing, cleansing and complete transformation.  We want to know that we are new creatures in Christ.  

And then, just like those earliest disciples, we want to be used by you to draw others into a relationship with Jesus. We ask that you would help us to “fish for people.”  Like Levi’s friends, let us have the blessing of seeing our friends and family come to know you.

We know that we come to you as sinners, but that you have the ability to make us saints. Make us holy, please.

In Christ,

Amen.

A Prayer Prompted by Mark 4

Heavenly Father,

We confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is worthy of our worship and worthy of our most complete loyalty and commitment.

We pray that you would fill us with the confidence we need to be open about our faith.

We pray also for patience and perseverance in the task of sowing the word.

We pray that over time our lives would bear fruit as you intend. Let us be that good soil in which your word produces fruit, thirty, sixty and one hundredfold what we are given.

We look to you as the one who can make that happen in our lives, and we know full well it is not something that we can accomplish in and of ourselves.

In Christ,

Amen.

The other Parable of the Sower – Mark 4:26-29

The primary Parable of the Sower (as Jesus calls it in Matthew 13:18) is recorded by Matthew, Mark and Luke.  This other one, also called the Parable of the Growing Seed, is only in Mark.  I like to think of it as a further elaboration on the sower’s seed sown on good ground, which “yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred” (Mark 4:8).

26 And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, 27 and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. 28 For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

The job of sowing and harvesting, of spreading the word of God and eventually seeing the fruit of it, is a wiggly business.  We have to “preach the word,” as Paul says (2 Tim 4:2).  But in doing so, we cannot look for immediate results.  In fact, it is hard to see the relationship between our work and its results at all.  We “sleep by night and rise by day” and in the meantime something happens.  We don’t know how, but growth comes naturally.  As Jesus says, “the earth yields crops ‘by itself.'”  

That last expression “by itself” is interesting.  The dictionary form of the original word is automatos, which is kind of like automatic.  It reminds me of an automat, the old vending machine, restaurant-like thingy, where the food just sat there waiting for someone to buy it.  (Yes, I was a fan, but do not know of one anywhere in Indianapolis where I live.  Not sure if they even exist at all in the USA anymore. Alas.)

Christ’s point, however, is important.  Proclaiming the word of God, whether it is evangelism, teaching, a weekly Sunday service, or a private conversation, will yield results.  Somehow, at some point.  This happens without our looking at it constantly and trying to measure the growth.

Let this be an encouragement for all of us “sowers.”  I want to see immediate results as much as the next guy, I suppose.  Normally I don’t see any.  You may not see quick returns on your word-sharing investment either.  But don’t quit.  Don’t give up.  Quick returns are not what we signed up for.  We signed up for continuous, consistent sowing and eventual reaping, when the time is right.  That might not be when or where we we are looking for it, but it comes.

A Prayer Prompted by Mark 1

Heavenly Father,

We understand that when Jesus came as a sinless Savior entering a sinful world, all of history changed. We benefit from his example and incomparable service to us.

Help us to appreciate how much he identifies with us by enduring temptations, caring for our needs and ultimately dying so that we might receive eternal life.

Help us to be willing to serve him as our God and Savior, being willing to leave anything and everything behind that stands in the way of complete devotion to our Lord.

Help us also to be willing to serve him right where we are, if that is your will for us.

Give us supernatural insight so as to always be aware of the spiritual battle that is raging around us. We want to continue to further your kingdom and see your word go out to everyone everywhere.

And help us to be devoted to the proclamation of the gospel message, the message that tells us that Jesus Christ our Lord has come. We need to repent and believe in him.

In Christ’s name we pray,

Amen.

Matthew 9 Verse by Verse

Matt photoChrist’s public ministry moves forward with even more miracles.  He ends with a prayer request for us, to pray for laborers that will help with the spiritual harvest.

Matthew 09.pdf

Matthew 09.mp3

 

A Prayer Prompted by Matthew 9:36-38

36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Heavenly Father,

Christ had compassion on the shepherdless crowds who were harassed and helpless.  In response he asked us to pray, and so this is what we are doing.  He alone is their true Shepherd, their Good Shepherd and Chief Shepherd.

There are multitudes who need to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news of who he is and what he has done.  There are multitudes more who need to hear it again, who need to be reminded or given one more opportunity to respond.

None of us can accomplish this task alone.  Please, heavenly Father, send out laborers.  As Jesus pointed out, the harvest is truly plentiful and the laborers few.  Send out laborers into this great harvest field.  Let their labors lead to the increase of your church.  Let their labors be used to build your church.  Let eternity be filled with more people brought into your family as a result of the laborers that you send out in response to our prayers.  Let disciples be multiplied and the knowledge of your word be increased.  And let your name be glorified throughout all ages as a result.

Amen.