plead desperately (Deomai) FOR LABORERS!
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. (Mt 9:38 & Lk 10:2)
“Pray (plead desperately) for Laborers!”—this is the only command of Jesus recorded in two different places with identical Greek wording. Perhaps the strong language in Jesus’ command was to make it 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 these verses (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—he begs Jesus desperately—for healing.)
And Jesus didn’t tell us to pray simply for laborers to be urged to go, 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 out 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 ekklesia (the fellowship of sent ones, 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, to bless them to multiply God’s Kingdom blessing through their relational networks (Mt 10 & Lk 10).
Strategic Value of Informed Prayer
Throughout history, the fruitfulness of mission efforts has been tied directly to informed prayer.
Prayer for Unreached People Groups (UPGs) has been on the rise since the late 1970’s, leading to increased fruitfulness among them. Today (March 2019) researchers are tracking more than 700 Acts-like Jesus movements, mostly among these UPGs.And these movements have produced about 70 million new disciples in rapidly multiplying churches.
Informed Prayer is the first domino leading to God’s blessing for a people.
Power of Compassionate Prayer
Jesus was moved with compassion as He looked on the multitudes. The parable Jesus told in Luke 15:11–31 shows the Father’s heart longing for his lost son. As our older brother, that is what Jesus did for us: He left the Father to go and find us (the lost son in the far country).
•Invite the Holy Spirit to reveal and share with you the Father‘s longing and Jesus‘ compassion for Frontier UPGs.
• Ask the Holy Spirit to help you imagine what it might be like to live your whole life without ever hearing about God’s love.
Fruitfulness of Scriptural Prayer
When we pray the promises of Scripture, we know we are praying God’s will, and grow in faith for the things we are praying for.
Hebrews 6:17 reveals that God wants us to know the unchanging nature of His purpose—confirmed with an oath to Abraham—to bless all the family lines of earth. In fact, this is a central theme of Scripture, evidenced by the frequency and variety of references to family lines (peoples, nations, clans, kindreds, tribes, Gentiles etc.). God‘s unchanging purpose shapes both the selection of stories (with other nations impacted in every book of the Bible) and the promises recorded from Genesis to Revelation of God‘s blessing on all nations.
God doesn‘t leave people as individuals, He sets the lonely in families, then pours out His blessing and reveals His Kingdom in households (Joshua, Cornelius, Zaccheaus, Lydia, the Philippian jailer, etc.).
God’s intends His blessings to be contagious!
As we draw closer to God‘s heart and experience Jesus‘ compassion in our prayer for God‘s blessing on one billion in 31 groups, let us draw others into joining us in praying God‘s heart in this way.
And let‘s pray with confidence that the Jesus movements God starts in these 31 largest Frontier People Groups will spill over into Jesus movements among many smaller Frontier People Groups, perhaps by missionaries from these 31 larger groups!