The passage below is often cited as an injunction toward evangelism, and rightly so. But we miss something important if we don’t quote the first half of this passage. What do you see as a lead-in to reaching the harvest?

“Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”  — Matthew 9:35-38

Here’s what I see: Jesus being with the people, teaching them and healing them. He met them where they were at and lived among them. He felt compassion for them. It was from that foundation that he told his disciples to pray and ask God to send more workers into the harvest field.

Likewise, our prayer for workers for the harvest flows out of compassion for lost and broken people in need of healing. It’s a desire for their best. Jesus looked out are the harvest fields and felt compassion. One prayer I’m recommending this week is that we ask God that he would break our heart over what breaks his heart.