Your friend from college might become part of a church plant team. The young coach of your child’s soccer team might one day be sent out from your church as a lead church planter for a new congregation.
But there is one crucial detail. These people may not currently know the Lord. They may not have given their life to Christ or accepted the forgiveness Jesus offers for their sins—not yet, at least. But maybe this is why God has placed them in your life: so that you can take the good news to those who have not heard, which they, in turn, can share with others.
This year during the Day of Prayer for Church Planting on May 28, we are praying specifically for the next generation of church planters. We believe they are attending your church, living in your home, and found in the harvest. There are future pastors and members of church planting teams that the Lord is going to save this year through the faithful witness of his people. Do you believe this is possible? Would you pray specifically for this?
Jesus told us to pray for future ministers of the gospel. One day, he was moved with compassion for the people around him and said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest” (Matthew 9:37–38).
Recognizing that Jesus instructed his followers to pray for more laborers, many on our team at ABWE set alarms at 9:38 every morning or evening to pray for more workers to be sent into the harvest. When I pray each day, I often follow a helpful pattern. Consider these suggestions for praying for laborers.
First, I pray that I would be a laborer
Every follower of Christ has been called to carry the message of the gospel to the places they live, learn, work, and play. When the early church was scattered because of persecution, Luke tells us that “those who were scattered went about preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). Who are those who were scattered? Acts 8:1 explains that it was everyone except the apostles—the average followers of Jesus. Normal people. Wherever they went, they took the good news of Jesus with them.
A friend of mine constantly reminds me that what Christ wants to do through a local church, he wants to do through all of his people at that church. He wants to use everyone in his mission: moms, dads, plumbers, teachers, accountants—every one of his followers.
Christ wants to use you and me in his mission of building his church.
Second, I pray for specific laborers for specific harvest fields
The Lord calls each person to special and unique ministries. He calls some give up everything to go to Malaysia, India, Brazil, or some other country in the far reaches of the globe. Everyone has been called to God’s mission; some have been called to a specific mission for a specific harvest.
As the early church scattered and went about preaching the Word, God called one man to a specific ministry. Acts 8:5 tells us that immediately after the church dispersed, “Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ.” The author of Acts, Luke, uses a different word to describe what Philip did than he uses to tell what all the scattered people were doing. While everyone was called to preach the gospel, Philip was called to be a preacher. He was called to be a proclaimer to a specific people at a specific time.
I pray for more preachers and church planters to plant churches around the world. I pray for more devoted followers of Christ to give their lives to the worthy calling of vocational gospel work.
Third, I pray for God to raise up laborers from within the harvest
We are praying that God will produce laborers for the harvest from the harvest. This wording is intentional: we are praying that God will save people that he will use to plant new churches in the future.
Note the sequence. As we faithfully fulfill our calling as laborers in the harvest, we see people give their lives to Jesus. Then God instills in them a passion to be laborers for his mission, and they plant churches that reach even more people with the gospel. This is the Great Commission in action.
Let us pray faithfully for God to raise up people to accomplish his mission, and let us serve him wholeheartedly in the harvests fields in which he has placed us. Will you join us in praying for more laborers from the harvest to the harvest?
There are billions of people around the world who don’t know Jesus. What can you do to help? You can pray! Join us in prayer on May 28, 2023 to ask Christ to bring more people to faith and continue to build his church throughout the world. Will you join us?