“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.”
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
(Matthew 9:37–38; 6:7–10 ESV)
God wants to involve us in the things He is doing! I was reminded of this last weekend.
Call to pray
There’s a family we saw around this time last year. Afterwards, I felt I should pray regularly for them, particularly the sons (young adults).
I barely knew them – had only had 1 very brief conversation with one of them – but began to pray for them two or three times per week. Often the only thing I really knew to pray was Matthew 6:9-10 – “Father, please reveal Yourself to them, and cause Your Kingdom to come and Your will to be done in their family as it is in heaven.”
Several times during the year I questioned why. There wasn’t really an active relationship, and our paths weren’t crossing at all. But I felt that I had to keep going with it, so I did.
A couple of days ago we saw them again. When we arrived, two of the sons emerged from their bedroom for a brief polite greeting which somehow turned into an hour and a half conversation that began casual, moved into meaningful and became deeply spiritual.
One of the young men has been wrestling with the reality and character of God. The answers he has been given and the things he has experienced from Christians had not satisfied him, and he had almost given up the search. He felt that if he was going to follow God, he had to be 100% whole-hearted, and that he couldn’t do that with integrity based on what he knew.
On reflection, he acknowledged that most of his understanding came from the opinions of different people – he hadn’t spent much time actually reading the Bible with a view to discovering who God was. He also said he had to work out if this is something that is important enough for him to put time into exploring for himself.
I mainly asked questions to understand better, and shared a little bit about what we do to help people who are hungry to discover God for themselves from the Bible. He knows that if it’s something he wants to pursue, he can invite some of his buddies together, give me a call, and I’ll coach him through a process that will help them explore the Bible together.
The younger brother was pretty quiet, but rather than quietly disappearing back into his bedroom – he stood there through the whole conversation, following every word.
I loved seeing their eyes sparkle as spiritual topics tapped into some of their deeply held convictions and passions.
I loved the raw honesty of somebody who is genuinely seeking after truth and wasn’t afraid to speak his mind and doubts plainly.
I loved that there was no pressure on me to make anything happen – I was just able to ask questions to help him clarify his thoughts and support him in his wrestle, knowing that God is so much more effectively reaching out to him than I could.
I loved the sense that God set up the whole thing – my friend wasn’t even meant to be home when we visited! He was rostered on a 12 hour shift with a government department that day, but was one of only 3 people who was given the day off at the last minute.
I guess they will go away and process our conversation. Possibly give me a call to ask for help starting a discovery group. Possibly forget all about it.
I will keep my rhythm of prayer for them, encouraged by the conversation and now able to pray with more insight.
God will keep pursuing them because that’s what He does.
It was another encouraging encounter for me. I hope you too are encouraged to ask the Father how He wants you to pray for those around you.