One of Jesus' most ignored commands in the New Testament is "...pray to the Lord of the harvest, that He send out workers into His harvest." Luke 10:2b
This is one prayer the Lord wants to answer. It is the first command Jesus instructed the 70 in Luke 10 as he prepared them for going out into the fields white and ready for harvest.
If I were training the "70" prayer would be an important element. But would praying for workers be the focus of the praying? Probably not. To me it is interesting that Jesus doesn't tell them to pray for the lost; he instructs them to pray for workers. It seems our job is to ask God to call out the laborers and send them to the harvest fields; it is the Holy Spirit's job to put those workers into contact with hearts He is dealing with.
Does God intend to answer this prayer? Yes. Right now we are in the middle of trying to train more people than is humanely possible. For the first time in eight years we are at the point of simply not having enough time and physical strength to train all those the Lord is sending out way. Our minds still cannot grasp that we are looking at training 60,000 workers this year.
I am more convinced than ever He is just waiting on us to ask him for workers. The most consistent prayer we pray is for harvest laborers. This isn't an occasional prayer request, it is daily. Unless the Lord calls out the workers and puts it in their hearts to do the work, it doesn't matter how many hundreds of people we might train, or how many churches we get invited to. Very little fruit will remain.
We have just finished up another COSECHA (harvest) discipleship/church planting training cycle. Our Guayas Mestizo Team has divided itself into seven teaching teams. Each team is assigned three churches every week. In each of the churches there have been anywhere from 30-150 men and women. Last week alone we trained in 18 different churches. Most teams are traveling 2-4 hours to get to the churches, and then 2-4 more hours to get back home...night after night.
What is my point? ten2b praying works. It is God's way of getting the job done. Praying for workers is something He wants to answer. He is waiting for us to get serious about praying for workers, so that He can get serious with us about sending us the workers he intends on using.
There are so many stories I could share from the past days that confirm the above, but will limit myself to this one from last Tuesday night.
Posorja is a 2-hour drive from Guayaquil. The first night of the training two men came. Nobody seemed to know who they were and they didn't say much. It was obvious they were visitors. This past Tuesday night as we were concluding the training I asked for people to share what the Lord had impressed upon them during our time together. Much to everyone's surprise both men stood, indicating they wanted to speak. The first man began to weep uncontrollably for several moments. Slowly their story got out...
My partner and I are professional fishermen from Costa Rica. We have been in Posorja for the past few weeks wondering why on earth God led us to this place. We have not been able to accomplish anything we had originally come here to do. Our plans were to go to Manta (another port city on the coast of Ecuador) and yet God strangely led us here. The first day we decided to go out and try to find an evangelical church. We happened to "discover" this church the first night of the training. We now fully understand why God brought us to Posorja. It was not for fishing permits, but for something far greater. We have been wanting to work for the Lord and serve Him, but didn't know how to go about it. The tools we received in this training are exactly what we have been needing. We fish up and down the coast of South America and come into contact with many people in our travels. Our desire is to be effective fishers of men to all the places God takes us. We now feel prepared for the task God has called us to.
Some would call the above a coincidence. But I firmly believe this was yet another answer to our ten2b praying. God heard our prayers for workers, coordinated the coming together with two fishermen just "passing through" who were letting God know they were available. Then the Lord has a way of choosing a remote fishing village, in a church that neither of us had ever set foot in before, for a divine encounter with eternal consequences. Such are the kinds of things that happen when we pray like Jesus commanded.