"So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest;
ask Him to send more workers into His fields."
— Matthew 9:38
Last month, I gathered with hundreds of sports ministry leaders from 95 countries to partner, prepare and plan. It was an amazing to worship with men and women from around the world and hear what God is doing in their cities and communities. God touched my heart with a fresh perspective of new ways of ministry as we seek to engage, equip and empower coaches and athletes around the world.
During the first morning of the conference, something strange happened. At 9:38 a.m., buzzing and vibrating phone alarms went off throughout the room. Suddenly, the presenter stopped talking and said, “Let’s pray for God to send more workers into the harvest.” After a short but powerful prayer, the conference continued. All week, the same thing occurred at 9:38 a.m. It didn’t matter where I was or what I was doing—in the middle of a discussion, bathroom, Starbucks line or small group. We stopped what we were doing and prayed for more workers. (Okay, maybe not in the bathroom!)
I quickly learned that everyone was praying the words of Matthew 9:38, and since I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, it took me a few days to connect the dots that the time was the same number of the verse we were praying. When I finally figured it out, I was fired up! What a simple yet strategic way to engage people in responding to the Lord’s invitation to join Him by praying for more workers. I thought: “I can do this!”
Unfortunately, we make prayer way too complicated, and we don’t pray how the Lord teaches us. He doesn’t say to pray for the ripe fields or even for the lost souls. He wants us to pray for more workers. He wants us to pray for more people to respond to the call to go. It is a subtle nuance, but it makes a gigantic difference in how we pray.
PRAY/9:38 is a prayer initiative to mobilize staff and volunteers throughout FCA to pray for God to send more workers into the world of sport to make disciples. Each day, set your alarm for 9:38 a.m. or 9:38 p.m. When the alarm goes off, stop and pray the words in Matthew 9:38 so that God will send more workers into the fields. Below is a suggested prayer I wrote you could use, but the goal is for you to simply pray daily Matthew 9:38. I can do this! You can do this! We can do this!
The “Send More” Prayer
Heavenly Father, You are the Lord of the Harvest, You are the only One who calls workers into Your fields. We are not responsible for the harvest; You are in charge of the harvest. You lead, prompt and touch hearts to respond to Your incredible invitation. We praise You for Your supreme and unlimited power over hearts and minds. We praise You for Your love for people who choose to participate in Your work.
We long to see the world transformed by You through coaches and athletes. There is a great need for the world of sport to be touched by Your healing power. Coaches and athletes are weary and worn out. They are lost and helpless without a Shepherd, but You see them and have compassion on them. Your heart is full of grace and mercy for them, and Your love is bottomless for coaches and athletes around the world. Lord, may we have the same compassion for the lost. Give us the eyes to see and the heart to feel the great need around us, so that our hearts break for the lost. Because of Your compassion for them, You command us to join by praying for more workers to be released into the fields.
When we lift up our eyes, we see the world of sport is ripe for the harvest. And because of Your great love, You sent Your Son to seek and to save the lost coaches and athletes. The harvest is huge, but nothing is impossible with You. In obedience to Your command, we earnestly pray that You will send more men and women into the harvest. Raise up more full-time, part-time and volunteer workers to engage, equip and empower coaches and athletes.
Lord, we desire to see the world of sports redeemed through transformed coaches and athletes. So call thousands of men and women to the harvest and may they respond to that invitation with a simple, “Yes, Lord!” Give them courage and boldness to respond with obedience. Raise up servants from every sport who are committed to making disciples who will change the world together. We long to see more disciples making disciples in the world of sport.
Lord, our part is to pray, and Your part is to send. So we pray. We pray earnestly. We plead for more faithful warriors. Send out workers to reap a harvest of lost souls. At the right time and in the right way, call a mighty movement of laborers to go to every sport, every coach and every athlete. To every country, every city and every community. To every team, every field and every locker room. To every middle school, every high school and every university campus. To every culture, every ethnicity and every nationality. Send laborers to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth!
Empower teams of laborers, so that they may be fruitful and effective witnesses wherever they live, compete, coach, work or go. And as they go, open a door for Your Word and enable them to speak of Jesus Christ with clarity and boldness. May Your favor and blessing be on them as they obey the call. As they labor, may the Word of God increase and multiply with the Gospel spreading rapidly throughout the whole world. We are on our knees crying out for workers with listening ears, obedient hearts, responsive feet and harvest hands.
Lord, we believe the best is yet to come; therefore, we are praying with great expectation for You to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. We humbly pray for You who is in charge of the harvest to send more workers into Your fields. According to Your power that is at work within us, to You be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.