Praying for others to know Jesus
In Matthew 9 we see Jesus travelling through the towns and villages, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every sickness. This attracted large crowds who came to him for help. When he saw the crowds “he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (v37). Then he urges his disciples to pray.
There are some very clear points here about Jesus, us and prayer for people to know Jesus (which is the focus of the Thy Kingdom Come prayer program).
1. Jesus’ attitude and our attitude to those who don’t know him.
Jesus saw the needs of the crowds, especially their need of him as their Good Shepherd, for without him they were harassed and helpless, desperately needing him as their shepherd. Earlier in Matthew 9 we see what Jesus the shepherd did for them. He forgave their sins through people putting their faith in him (v2), he sought out notorious sinners so they could be saved (v13) he set people free from death (the young girl raised from death v25), he set people free from the power of evil (v33) and illness (v30).
Jesus saw people’s needs and had compassion for them.Is that our attitude too as his followers? We need to see people as Jesus sees them, harassed and helpless, needing him as their shepherd. Some may be unaware of him but secretly yearn for the guidance, protection and real purpose and hope which he offers. Others may be battered by illness or loss in a fallen world and need him to walk beside them. Others may be frittering their lives away, building bigger barns for their wealth, smugly self-sufficient, living in dangerous ignorance of God’s final judgement (Luke 12). Do we have Jesus’ compassion for our family members, friends, neighbours and colleagues who need to know Jesus?
2. Jesus urged his disciples to PRAY in response.He sees the helpless crowds and sees (changing the metaphor) a plentiful harvest waiting to be brought in, but a shortage of harvest workers. So he urges the disciples and us to PRAY that God will send out harvest workers to tell people about Jesus and gather them into God’s barn.
That is what we will be doing in the Thy Kingdom Come program: praying for people to come to know Jesus through God sending Gospel messengers to them. Please join us in that important work of prayer.