Maintaining The Passion for Souls

In one of my first Bible college world missions courses, I was introduced to pastor, author, and missions advocate Oswald J. Smith and his enduring classic, The Passion For Souls. Like many missions leaders with many years on this missional journey, our challenge is to maintain this passion and fulfill the only prayer request of the Lord of the Harvest.

By Grant McClung

The New Testament gospels record this passion and compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 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 9.35 – 38 NIV).
See the merciful compassion of Jesus whose mission is driven by vision. When he saw the crowds he was deeply moved. His heart was touched with pity and he was filled with tenderness. To him, the plight of the harassed and helpless multitudes was compared to sheep without a shepherd. He pointed his disciples to a harvest of humanity that is plentiful, abundant, and ready to reap. He called them – and calls us – to prayer for workers.

Praying for Workers Deepens Missional Passion

Active intercession brings us in touch with the passion and perspective of Jesus. We see great need yet great opportunity. As we “wait” we are enabled to carry the “weight” of what Old Testament prophets called “the burden of the Lord.” We develop stronger load bearing capacity to carry with Him the things that are upon His heart for this world. We begin to be desperate with His vision for the lost. Revivalist preacher Vance Havner used to say, “The tragedy of our time is that the situation is desperate but the saints are not.”

Praying for Workers Deploys Ministry Partners

The Apostle Paul referred to one missions partner as a, “loyal yokefellow” (Philippians 4.3). This imagery came from Jesus who issued a call to discipleship with a farming term, “Take my yoke upon you” (Matthew 11.29). We are in the yoke together with the Lord of the Harvest. Walking and working side by side, we plow, sow, and reap His harvest field together; and together we rejoice in the harvest. As the disciples went out and began preaching everywhere, “…the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word with the signs that accompanied it” (Mark 16.20). He continues to work with us today and is ready to exponentially multiply the missional work force.

Praying for Workers Delivers Miraculous Power

The Lord of the Harvest is anxious to call workers and ready to answer intensified, unified intercession. Prayer for workers recognizes the great sovereign power of God to do what only He can do. The harvest is great and the harvest is God’s. When God’s people pray – doing what they can do, God does what only He can do through supernatural, wonder working power. Let us, therefore, pray earnestly for our Lord to send out workers into his harvest field. This desire and longing will deepen our missional passion. Answering this fervent prayer, our Lord will deploy ministry partners and deliver miraculous power for an unprecedented world harvest.

Grant McClung is a member of the executive committee of the World Missions Commission of the Pentecostal World Fellowship, and is an international missionary educator with Church of God World Missions. [email protected]

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