Call to Prayer: Lord, Teach Us to Pray!
Posted on December 3, 2021 by Jon Trotter
Lord, teach us to pray,” asked one of Jesus’ disciples in Luke 11:1. They didn’t ask Jesus to teach them to walk on water or cast out demons, but to pray. They had seen Jesus model a life of prayer. Yet, prayer didn’t come naturally to the disciples; they knew they fell short. Just prior to this, Luke 10 records how Jesus invited his disciples to join him in his mission. The first command he gave them was to pray: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” So the disciples asked Jesus to teach them.
Jesus’ command to pray has resonated within our team of Latino church planters. We long to see a fruitful harvest, a multiplying movement of Jesus’ disciples. In God’s kingdom we are born anew to multiply, and Luke’s gospel has been teaching us that multiplication is preceded by prayer. So in response to the Spirit’s invitation, we have been meeting once a month for the last year to pray. As we’ve come together, God has done new things. First, he’s helped us see the potential in the fields in which we labor: “Look at the harvest! Gain a new perspective!” There are more people ready to open their hearts to Jesus than people ready and trained to share about him with them. This is what God sees, and this perspective should make us sense the urgency for new workers.
Second, we are learning that God alone is the one who sends and commissions people. It all lies in his power. And this is a supernatural thing! The phrase “send out workers” in Greek is ekballo, which means to draw out violently, to be overcome by an opposite force, to cause one to depart in haste. What a puzzling description of being sent out! This sounds like a disruptive call that drags people away from their normal lives and routines and pushes them towards a new ultimate purpose in life, namely God’s mission and glory. So we need to pray for this supernatural call into people’s lives, which only God can do.
Third, we’ve discovered that as you pray for laborers for the harvest, you grow in your willingness to be one of them! You catch the kairos moment, the Spirit fills you with compassion that overcomes fear. As we pray, we become willing to go.
There have been signs around us that God is answering our prayers! Alfonso Alvarado, church planter at Iglesia Menonita Monte Moriah, started monthly vigils with his church, praying for a breakthrough of God’s Spirit in the community. A new Bible study was started in their neighboring community of Timberville, Va, and they sensed the potential of starting a new daughter church there. Soon, a family from the church stepped up to lead this new group. Prayer indeed precedes multiplication.
Armando and Veronica Sanchez, church planters of Shalom Church in Waynesboro, Va, have prayer meetings every other Tuesday and are planning a prayer retreat with some of their leaders. Juan José Lagos, a church planter in NC, has a weekly prayer meeting with his church on Thursdays. Fifteen new believers have been baptized in the last couple of months within our Latino congregations, and there are more to come!
God has determined to bring about a harvest through the prayers of his people. He delights in answering those prayers, doing “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Eph. 3:20).