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The 10:2b Prayer and the 10:3a Command

I first heard of the “10:2b prayer” a few years back. I was at a weekend seminar, and the speaker encouraged us to set an alarm on our phones at 10:02 every day. When the alarm goes off, he suggested, stop and pray the 10:2b prayer.

You probably know the story in Luke 10 where Jesus was about to send out 35 or 36 teams of two to the places he “was about to go.” In verse 2, he began his short list of instructions by saying, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

The harvest is a pretty big theme for Jesus. In John 4:35 he says, “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” Is the shortage of workers simply a result of blindness—or at least failure to look?

Another time Jesus talked about the harvest is Matthew 9. He makes the same observation and the same request here as he does in Luke 10: “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (vv. 37, 38). But here the context is his own traveling ministry of teaching and healing. “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming 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” (vv. 35, 36).

Jesus sees the harvest for what it is: crowds of people, broken, beaten, lost, no one to care. If that’s what Jesus sees when he looks around, it’s no wonder he longs for an army of shepherds to care for these people he loves deeply.

I certainly haven’t prayed the 10:2b prayer every day, but I continue to pray it regularly. I want to honor the heart of Jesus. Will you join me?

In 10:2b, Jesus told his disciples to pray for workers to be sent to the harvest, but he didn’t stop there; in verse 3a, he gave them a command. “Go!” It’s that simple. The fields are ripe and waiting for us.