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Day 5 Devotional: A Call to Pray for the Nations

Day 5: Intercession: A Call to Pray for the Nations

“Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.  Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matt 9:35-38, NKJV)

When Jesus was on the earth he was teaching, preaching and healing everyone he came in contact with. Yet he knew that his ministry alone was not enough to spread the gospel of the kingdom to the multitudes, let alone the nations. It was in God’s heart to partner with us, his people, to see the good news of Jesus go forth to all nations.

The first thing to notice about this passage is that Jesus saw the lost. He took notice of them. And he took notice of their state. He saw that people were weary and wondering around like sheep without a shepherd. He saw that they were scattered. They were not in one mind, but separate. They were living lives separate from God, without purpose and they were worn out. Sound like anyone you know?

Jesus not only saw the lost in their helpless condition, but He allowed their state to touch his heart. The scripture says he was “moved with compassion”. He pitied them. He allowed his heart to feel the pain of their separation from God.

After seeing the lost and being moved with compassion, Jesus issues a call to prayer: “Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest.” At this time, he doesn’t ask them to go and preach. He asks them to pray. He asks them to pray that God would send out laborers into the harvest.

How much we need laborers who are truly “sent” by the Father.  So often, we see a need, experience compassion, and spring directly into action.  It’s interesting that Jesus’ first action is prayer.  Any movement into the “harvest field” by Him or His disciples must come in response to the leading of the Father.  The need inspires compassion and prayer, but the Father is the one who directs the response.

As we look out on the world today, we see people all around us who are “like sheep without a shepherd”.  Through the use of resources like joshuaproject.net, we can see a multitude far beyond what Jesus saw before Him, a frontier of 7,000 people groups who have never heard the name of Jesus.  Let’s allow our hearts to be moved with compassion, for those near and far, then let’s begin to “ask the Lord of the Harvest to send Laborers”…

Jaime Dicke, Amherst, MA
10 Days Pioneer Valley