An Invitation to Pray Earnestly

My alarm went off on my phone this morning at 9:38. Every Monday through Saturday since February my phone has made its obnoxious beeping noise to interrupt whatever I had been doing. It has startled me, annoyed me, and, on a few occasions, awkwardly interrupted something important. But ultimately, I thank God for these alerts that ring loudly each and every day. Why?
Because that alarm reminds me of Jesus’ invitation in Matthew 9:38 to pause and “pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” At the end of July, over 250 folks gathered in Victoria for our District’s Annual Gathering around this theme and Jesus’ invitation to “Pray Earnestly.” Together we studied this bible passage as speakers and preachers led us in pondering deeply what this means and what it would look like to live into Jesus’ invitation.
So why the alarm? This past winter I had the honor of asking Jeremy Walloch to join us this summer as one of our keynote speakers. He immediately accepted and went to work on his outline. Soon thereafter I received a text message from Jeremy. He sent a few of his initial thoughts about his talk, but he shared a sense of conviction for having neglected Jesus’ invitation in our theme verse. As so often happens, conviction is really God’s way of pointing us to Christ’s invitation or call to live in faith. Jeremy asked me to join him in setting a daily alarm to go off at 9:38 a.m. everyday and to covenant with him to pause whatever we were doing and pray.
And so it has been ever since. Every. Single. Day.
Now I wish I could tell you that every day I have been faithful in responding to and actually praying earnestly at each daily alarm, but that would be a lie. I have fallen short of the kind of consistency that I long for in this. But I can tell you that I have prayed a whole lot more than I ever had before and have been blessed by the focus of this prayer invitation. And so I pray earnestly: sincerely, hopefully, expectantly and consistently seeking God to raise up a generation of missionary leaders who are called, equipped and sent out for his harvest work.
So how about you? Will you join us in setting a daily reminder to pause and pray as Jesus invites you to? If you accept this invitation, know that it is okay if you miss a day or get distracted as you pray. Not one of us is perfect at praying as we should. Be gracious to yourself as God is gracious with you. Remember that Jesus chooses to engage you and me in this way. So let that annoying alarm be a blessed reminder of Jesus’ invitation to pause and pray earnestly for harvest workers.