Pray (plead desperately) for laborers

Updated: Nov 20, 2018

“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore beg (deomai) the Lord of the harvest to thrust forth (ekballo) laborers into His harvest.”—Matthew 9:38 and Luke 10:2




Only one command of Jesus is recorded with identical Greek wording in two different gospels. The strong language in Jesus’ original command may have proven particularly memorable: 


When Jesus taught us to pray to our Father in heaven, for our enemies, etc., He used proseuchomai the common word for prayer. But in Mt 9:38 and Lk 10:2, Jesus used deomai, a much stronger word meaning to plead desperately. (In Lk 5:12 the leper deomai’s Jesus – begs Jesus desperately – for healing.)


And Jesus didn’t simply tell His disciples to pray for laborers to be urged to go. Again Jesus used a much stronger word – ekballo, meaning to drive out! This same Greek word is used in Mt 9:34, 10:1 and 10:8 for casting ou

t demons!


In both Mt 9:38 and Lk 10:2, Jesus commands us to deomai (plead desperately) the Lord of the Harvest to ekballo laborers (thrust them forcefully) into His harvest!



And this desperate pleading wasn’t simply for believers to be sent from the Church (which wasn’t yet birthed). No, the model of ministry Jesus instituted with this prayer cooperates with the Holy Spirit to forcibly rip families out of Satan’s kingdom and bless them to multiply God’s Kingdom blessing within their relational contexts (Mt 10 & Lk 10).

Reaching  a billion people for most of us, the answer starts with prayer.

The strategic value of informed prayer.

Throughout history, the effectiveness of mission efforts has been tied directly to informed prayer.

For example, prayer for Unreached People Groups (UPGs) has grown steadily since the late 1970’s. Today researchers are tracking 660 Acts-like gospel movements, mostly among these UPGs. Such movements have recently produced 68.3 million new disciples in rapidly multiplying churches.

Informed Prayer is the first domino leading to God’s blessing for a people.

What does unreached mean?

Some individuals are unreached because they have never responded to the gospel even though it is available in their culture.

Whole groups (UPGs) are considered unreached when the believers among them are less than 2%.

Frontier UPGs are less than 1/10th of 1% Christian of any kind, and those in their groups are unlikely to ever hear the gospel until things change.

Such change starts with prayer!

Compassionate Prayer

Jesus was moved with compassion as He looked on the multitudes. Invite the Holy Spirit to give you His compassion for Frontier UPGs as you imagine what it might be like to live your whole life without ever hearing about God’s love.

Scriptural Prayer

The Bible is full of promises relating to God’s purpose for the nations. Here are a few to start:

•   All family lines of earth will be blessed (Gen 12:3)

•   Ask of Me and I will give you the nations as your inheritance (Ps 2:8)

•   Beg the lord of the harvest to thrust laborers into His harvest (Mt 9:38, Lk 10:2)

Going Viral

God’s blessings are contagious! As we pray for God to transform one billion in 31 groups, many smaller UPG’s will also be reached, perhaps by missionaries from these 31 larger groups!

Will you Pray?

Will you join me and thousands of others in Prayer for the 31?  Use the enclosed prayer guide to offer Jesus a billion people in prayer in 2019.