ONEprayer Devotion – Day 1
A PLENTIFUL HARVEST
35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Jesus is enjoying a very productive time in his ministry. He is in his home territory of Galilee and the crowds are flocking to see and hear him. In Matthew’s eyes, Jesus is showing himself to be the Messiah by the powerful things he is doing. The crowds can’t get enough of this miracle-working, authoritative Rabbi. His ministry is all they have dreamed of and been waiting for.
Of course, the people in these crowds have mixed motives. Some are genuinely wondering if Jesus is the Messiah, others are looking for a quick fix for their health issues, and others are just there for the show. But whatever their motives, they are hungry for something. For a long time, there has been no real spiritual leadership in the nation and they have not known what to do or whom to follow. They are like “sheep without a shepherd” (9:36) according to Jesus. They have lost their hope and their connection with God and their leaders have given no direction or help. They are harassed by both their Roman overlords and their own supposed spiritual leaders. And they can do nothing about it; they are helpless like sheep with no shepherd.
As Jesus interacts with the crowds and their never-ending needs, he is moved. The Greek word translated “had compassion” means “to be moved in the inward parts.” I was at a funeral of a beautiful Christian lady yesterday. As the adult sons talked about their Mum, they were moved internally, and tears flowed. It’s this deep, gut-wrenching concern that Jesus feels as he sees the hopelessness of these people who have been abandoned by their shepherds.
But the problem is not the desperation of the crowds. According to Jesus, they are a ripe harvest just waiting to be reaped. God can meet the needs of every person in these harassed and helpless crowds. God loves them. God is ready to forgive and free them. God is wanting to provide direction and purpose for them. God is longing to love and lead them. Jesus is certain about the answer to their needs.
The real challenge facing Jesus is the lack of harvest workers (9:37). Who is going to teach the ignorant? Who is going to heal the hurting? Who is going to support the abused? Who is going to guide the lost? Who is going to share the good news with the disillusioned? Who is going to bring in the harvest? As Jesus says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” As a man, Jesus can’t do it all. He is personally overwhelmed by the need and the massive opportunities it generates. He is giving his all, but it’s not nearly enough to reap the full harvest.
Maybe you’re thinking that this was a specific season in Jesus’ mission that is not really applicable to the time in which we live. You could argue that the people you know are self-satisfied and self-sufficient and not at all harassed and helpless like these crowds. This is certainly true of some. But there is a huge amount of anxiety and fear and frustration and vulnerability and desperation around. Our political and community leaders don’t have the answers, but God does. The harvest is plentiful and we’re beginning to see this.
But we face the same dilemma that Jesus faced. We just don’t have the workers. Who is going to teach the ignorant? Who is going to heal the hurting? Who is going to support the abused? Who is going to guide the lost? Who is going to share the good news with the disillusioned? Who is going to bring in the harvest? Jesus’ answer for us is to pray: “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (9:38). Please make this your prayer for this week.
READY FOR HARVEST STORY:
BEENLEIGH BAPTIST CHURCH
Many years ago, a drunk young man named Nick attended Beenleigh Baptists for the first time. Eventually, he came to believe in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord and for the last ten years, Nick has been a school chaplain at Beenleigh schools and manager of the Eagleby Giants Rugby League Club. This year Nick was called to be our Next Gen Pastor. We had been searching for a suitable candidate looking far and wide, but Nick was right under our noses.
Nick has set up a youth drop-in centre a couple of days a week in the middle of Beenleigh and his team is working with some very disadvantaged and broken young people. We are feeding many of those young people in our Friday night youth activities. It is exciting to see the enthusiasm of these young people as they experience authentic community and Christian love.
At the same time, we have finished the construction of our community hub, and we are seeing the youth numbers swell. Friday night activities include Praise dance, Boys and Girls Brigade, and Impakt Youth with over 100 high schoolers attending. We have opened our coffee shop on these nights, and we are taking time to sit with parents and families building meaningful connections. God is really at work.
Already we have seen a number of youth come to faith in Christ, and many others listening intently to the gospel message each week. We are praising God for what he is doing among our local youth who are desperately looking for hope. We know that Jesus is the answer. There is a harvest coming and we are beginning to see it.
READY FOR HARVEST STORY:
VIETNAM GRACE CHURCH BRISBANE
From 13 February to 9 Mar, following Jesus’s call, Vietnam Grace Mission Team, led by Senior Pastor Hoa My Trinh, travelled to Vietnam. Their mission was to bring the Gospel to church members’ families, baptise believers from the previous mission trip, and visit the churches and ministries which have been supported by Vietnam Grace Church for many years.
The team travelled thousands of kilometres to 10 different provinces, from rural areas to highland villages. They visited many churches, more than 60 retired pastors and pastor widows, more than 30 acting pastors and church leaders, and hundreds of Christians with their non-Christian families and friends. Through God’s grace and by His power, they were able to minister to the blind, the lepers, the sick, the demon-possessed, the poor, the forgotten, and those who were unreachable by local communities. To share Jesus’ love, they brought gifts, medications, oils, food (2 tons of rice), and other necessities. Most importantly, they brought the message of love and salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.
The team experienced huge challenges of transportation, health and spiritual attack. However, God’s sovereignty reigned. He led the team safely to the places they were to go and then back home one Australia. God saved and encouraged the lowly in spirit.
As a result of the trip, 26 people confessed their faith in Jesus as new believers, 12 people recommitted their hearts to Christ who died for them, and 11 people were baptised. God is at work in Vietnam as well as Australia.
PRAYER POINTS FROM OUR MOVEMENT
“Lord, you know our community. You know that the Enemy has a foothold in this area and it has become a stronghold for New Age and Occult philosophies and practices. But we stand on these two truths from Your Word: That “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms’ (Ephesians 6:12) AND as God’s children, ‘greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.’ (1 John 4:4). LORD, please break through the darkness with the glorious light of Your powerful saving presence in this place. This we boldly ask, and so believe and wait for in faith–in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.”
Agnes Water Baptist Church
That people will be led by God’s Spirit to consider intercultural ministry through Baptist Mission Australia.
Baptist Mission Australia
That we see God move in the hearts of those who are yet to discover His perfect and complete love for them; that He prepares our hearts to welcome and disciple those who come to accept Him as their Lord and Saviour.
That our Holiday Kids Club (26th – 30th June) will shine Christ and many will respond by putting their faith and trust in Jesus.
We are praying for three people from the community to be saved, baptised and zealous followers of the Lord Jesus.
Bellbowrie and District Baptist Church
- Please pray that the Lord will lead our church, help us to grow spiritually and remain united. We have a goal together that someday we will have our own worship building, please pray for us that we will stay strong in our faith while waiting for His fulfillment.
- Please pray for our Karen people that flee their home due to an ongoing civil war and violence in Burma.They have no places to stay and are living with fear.
Bethany Karen Baptist Church
Pray with us that God’s Spirit would move through the preaching and teaching of the good news, and through sharing our stories and, as a result, we will rejoice in seeing over 10 new Christians in our church.
Taringa Baptist Church