We studied Matthew 9:35 to 10:8 over the weekend.  It was a good time for reflecting on evangelism.  You may remember the particular passage.  Jesus looks at a group of people and comments that they’re like sheep without a shepherd.  He then follows it up with another picture – a ripe harvest without workers.  Jesus asks His disciples to pray for workers.  That is incidently the end of chapter nine. [Remeber that the original greek manuscript has no verse numbers or chapter divisions]

The division of the passage in Matthew is very significant.  It often happens that we pray for something and then we stop.  End of chapter.  We ask God to help us with something and we pray, that’s good.  Unfortunately, we don’t go further.  The ancients had a philosophy of ora et labora – pray and work.  We usually to one of these; we either pray without working or work without praying.

Chapter 10 starts with this amazing description (I like the Message’s version):

"The prayer was no sooner prayed than it was answered. Jesus called twelve of his followers and sent them into the ripe fields. He gave them power to kick out the evil spirits and to tenderly care for the bruised and hurt lives"

Did you get that?  They were the answer to the prayer they prayed!  In the last few months we’ve adopted the practice to ask what we can do in response to our own prayers.  We read our prayer requests with the question : Which of these prayer requests implicate us as the answer?