“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.” —Matthew 9:37–38
When the Lord had compassion on the crowd in Matthew 9, He didn't suggest that the solution was for them to rush to care for others. He told them to pray earnestly. The text can be literally interpreted as “pray in such a way that God commits to answer” or “pray holding onto God until He responds.”
Compassion is such a deep and visceral emotion that it overflows into fervent, insistent, and determined prayer. The first thing compassion does is pray to the Father before acting in any other way.
As I look at this passage, I appreciate seeing that this prayer takes the limitations of ministry for granted. There are many needs; there are few workers. We cannot always be the ones to make up for what others lack. Acknowledging our inability doesn’t lead us to indifference, however. It fuels our prayers, prompting us to pray more intensely that God would supply the great riches of His grace.
Make it Personal
The next time you’re irritated or annoyed with someone, stop and pray that God would fill you with His compassion for them.