As David Platt pointed out in his recent book Radical, when Jesus notices that the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few, he doesn’t tell his disciples to therefore go out themselves and start harvesting. Rather, he tells them to pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest (Mt. 9:37-38). He says they should pray. Prayer isn’t a cheap form of discipleship; prayer is essential.
I think one of the other striking things about Christ’s words is that the harvest belongs to the Lord. God is the Lord of the harvest; it’s His harvest. And so we pray to the Lord of the harvest that the right harvesters might be sent out and at the right time and to the right places.
As it turns out, in the very next verses Christ does send out the disciples, but this comes after instructing them to pray. And perhaps this makes for a helpful qualification for those who think that they are perhaps called to missions and evangelism and mercy ministry. Have you been praying that God would send people?