Compassion, the Motive for Awakening; Prayer, The Means of Awakening

Matthew 9:36-38 - “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘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.’”By: Mace Perez, Grow Groups and Discipleship Director, Faithbridge Church

May 25, 2019

We long to see awakening happen in our city and to the ends of the earth. We desire to see hearts come alive by the power of the gospel. We want to see people’s lives transformed by the power of the Spirit.

But if you are anything like me, we can easily become so engrossed in keeping our noses to the grindstone that we can forget or become blind to the motive and means of awakening Jesus talked about in this passage.

First, Jesus shows us that the motive for awakening is compassion. The verb translated here is related to the Greek word for “entrails,” which was seen as the seat of emotions in the ancient world. When Jesus saw the desperate state of the people, he had a visceral, emotional response. Likewise, we must keep this as our motive as we pursue awakening in our city. It’s not about building our kingdom. It’s not about having the largest church in town. It’s not about pursuing our own sense of value and worth through our ministry. It’s about bringing the only ultimate source of healing, hope, and joy to hundreds of thousands of hurting men, women, and children in our city.

Second, Jesus tells us that the means of awakening is prayer. Sure, I give lip service to the idea that it is God that changes hearts. I say that I believe in the power of prayer. I even teach others that the starting place of effective ministry is overflow. Afterall, apart from Jesus we can do nothing (John 15:4-5). However, if I’m honest, I live as if it all depends on me. I work as if it all depends on my work ethic. I act as if awakening is riding on me developing and executing the right strategy. Certainly, Jesus is not saying that we don’t work hard or ask him to give us wisdom on the best practices and strategies to fulfill our ministry. But the first means of awakening is prayer.

If we want to see awakening, if we want to see a bountiful gospel harvest in Houston and beyond, we must start with prayer to the Lord of the harvest. So let’s do that now.

Prayer

Lord, you are rich in mercy. You abound in steadfast love. You are a God of compassion towards rebellious sinners. We confess that we can so easily lose sight of this. We repent of doing ministry out of more of a desire to serve ourselves than to bring hope and joy to the weak, the hopeless, and the hurting. We thank you that your compassion moved you to action. You were so moved by love for your wandering sheep, that you sent your Son to be their Redeemer and their Shepherd. You did this for us. And now you give us the privilege of bringing this Good News to your other lost sheep. We can’t do it without you, Lord. We are asking you to move in more hearts to bring them to yourself and then to send them out into the field. We ask that you would raise up more men and women to plant gospel-centered churches in every nook and cranny of our city. And we ask that Houston would be the center of an entire movement of awakening. Amen.