Is a command to pray an “imprayerative”? Get it? An imperative (or command) about praying is an “imprayerative.”
Well, whether or not you like the term I just coined, Scripture seldom outlines specifics that we’re supposed to pray about. But I ran across one as I was reading Luke the other day.
“Later the Master selected seventy and sent them ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he intended to go. He gave them this charge: ‘What a huge harvest! And how few the harvest hands. So on your knees; ask the God of the Harvest to send harvest hands’” (10:1-2, MSG).
When I read that familiar verse, I was relieved. Whew. He’s not asking me to go; He’s only asking me to pray. So I took Jesus at His word and asked the Father to send harvest hands to various fields that the Holy Spirit was bringing to my mind: universities, seminaries that have lost sight of truth, psychic fairs (!), women’s shelters, halls of government, Cambodian villages, jails and prisons, youth centers, and more.
That wasn’t hard, I thought, still relieved that God wasn’t asking me personally to represent Him in those places, only to pray. A day later, however, something interesting happened. I got an e-mail from a high school classmate who is suffering because of bad choices she’s made. In fact, it’s not clear to me if she’s currently in jail or has served time in the past—but jail time is definitely one part of her painful story. She said she sees strength in my life and begged me to keep in touch with her.
Immediately I remembered one of my Luke 10 prayers—that the Lord of the Harvest would send laborers into jails and prisons. That’s certainly not a ministry I would ever volunteer for. But now my heart is unusually drawn to this high school classmate of mine. I’m finding myself praying for her a lot and asking God for next steps in how to encourage her and love her in His name. I really do hope that He will let me represent Him to her. I’d be thrilled.
So, I’m thinking that the “imprayerative” Jesus gave is pretty sneaky. If He can get me to pray for laborers, then eventually He might persuade me to become one. He knows me pretty well—if He can’t get me in through the front door, He’ll do it through the back door. Has He ever used that method with you? I challenge you to pray Luke 10:1-2 like I did and then let me know what happens.