Jesus said pray but we’d rather work

“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” (Matt. 9.37) Whenever you hear that (at least in the evangelical circles I’ve always been exposed to), get ready for an action plan. Churches are driven by the fierce urgency of now to do something. Outreach. Missions. Faith-based initiatives. Busyness. Get to it. Get it done. But these are not the responses Jesus called for. He went on to say, “Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send workers.” We go wrong when Jesus calls us to pray and we decide to do something else instead. We go wrong when we think prayer is the prelude to the actual work. Prayer is a main part of the actual work. That is to say, prayer isn’t just the thing we do at the beginning or end of events as a signal that things are starting or finishing. Prayer should characterize all the things we do. When we approach our activities as outward expressions of prayer, we tend to treat them more thoughtfully and with more sacredness. We also come at them more humbly, with less ownership, more willing to ask for the help we need.