When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:36-38)
The Lord taught us the necessity of persistence in prayer for the goals of the kingdom, trusting in the Father’s love for our own providence. He now extends that focus, leading us into prayer for the workers necessary to imbue the kingdom with change. It is easy for us to look around and see the overwhelming need of the souls that press in on us from every side. It is not so easy to understand that we are to pray for the workers needed to reap this bountiful harvest in the name of the Father.
Is this need for prayer due to a deficit in God’s planning? Certainly not. The Creator knows all that is needed and has, in fact, supplied the workers. Who? You. We see Jesus in the passage moved with compassion at the plight of the lost, the sheep without a shepherd. As a disciple of the Son, the prayer that should result from this lesson is not that God would send additional workers but that those who have claimed love for Him would have their hearts turned in compassion to the plight of the sheep. No one should be found standing idle in the vineyard.