This week as we begin to pray together, as the church, let’s look at a parallel passage of Luke 10:2. Read through Matthew 9:35-38.
35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 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.” – Matthew 9:35-38
We should consider and respond to this call to prayer obediently, compassionately, earnestly & urgently! This week we’ll focus of the first two responses.
Let us respond obediently: This is a call to prayer from Jesus himself to his disciples; do you find yourself praying in obedience? This wasn’t an isolated call… when Jesus taught the disciples how to pray in Matthew 6 (the Lord’s Prayer) we see it again. God’s Glory & Kingdom came first! Before praying for their own needs of provision, before praying for their needs of deliverance & protection, Jesus taught them to pray for God’s Kingdom to come.
PRAYER FOCUS #1
- Pray that God would renew our minds & transform our hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit. That He would change us as individuals & as His church into followers that seek the glory of God above all else (Ephesians 4:22-24).
- Pray that He would teach us to seek the things that are above rather than the things that are seen (Colossians 3: 1-4).
- Read Psalm 96 – as you read, pray the scripture back to the Lord. Ask God to change your heart – to give you a love and passion for His glory to be known among the nations, as seen in this passage.
Let us respond compassionately: When we look at Matthew 9:36 we see an incredible picture of how Jesus sees the lost around Him – harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Other words from the English language that could be used to define that condition from the original Greek text are weary, troubled, bewildered, despondent, dispirited, scattered, distressed, thrown to the ground and dejected. This is the true condition of those without Christ. Not necessarily their physical condition, as we can see with our eyes, but the spiritual condition of those that live without the hope and knowledge of God’s saving grace, in Jesus Christ. In that time, a sheep without a shepherd was without protection, without provision and without direction.
So, how did Jesus respond to what He saw? What moved Him towards the call the prayer? Compassion. The original word here literally means to be moved with compassion. It was a deep-seated response of love and caring.
How do we respond when we see the brokenness around us? When you turn on the news and hear of the evils in the world, what is your response?
PRAYER FOCUS #2
- Pray that God would reveal to us our own brokenness and remind us of the depth of our need for Christ ourselves. Praise God that He is a good shepherd to us (Psalm 23, John 10:14, 1 Peter 2:25)
- Pray that God would destroy anger, fear, hate and pride towards cultures outside of our own, even those that our culture says we should hate. Pray that the Holy Spirit would stir up in us His love for those that don’t yet know Jesus, regardless of what they have done (Matthew 5:43-48)
- Pray that God would give us deep-seated love and compassion for the lost. Love and compassion that we cannot conjure up on our own, but love and compassion that flows from the very heart of God through us (John 13:31-35, 1 John 4:7-21)