Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 3, 1970

"Pray Ye" Plus "And"


Everywhere I go these days I hear brethren deploring the scarcity of gospel preachers in the land. And, worse than that, the lack of young men who are preparing themselves to preach the word. It is no new problem. Christ himself was keenly conscious of it. "The harvest indeed is plenteous, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest."

Christian parents are concerned about the dearth of laborers; no doubt they pray about it now and then. But how many of them are doing anything about it? How many of them are encouraging their sons to become gospel preachers? How many of them are specifically seeking to interest their own children in taking the gospel of Christ to others? Some of the fathers and mothers we know, who are deeply concerned about the scarcity of gospel preachers and who have young sons growing up in their households are encouraging those boys to become doctors, lawyers, teachers, businessmen, but not preachers! They say they do not think it right to encourage, a boy to devote his life to preaching; if he has the "call" he will preach "because he can't help it." And if he does not have the "call" it would be wrong to urge him into this vocation. Hogwash!

The young man's "call" to a vocation will depend on the kind of training and guidance he has from his home. This still is the greatest single influence in any young person's life. It is far more important than school, playmates, Sunday school, or anything else. The mind and heart of the growing child are shaped by the values he learns at home, from his father and his mother. If they put supreme value on material things, so will he; if they put priority on spiritual things, so will he. If gospel preaching in their thinking is the greatest and most magnificent calling on earth, it will be such in the child's thinking too.

Some of these "praying saints" who are indeed "praying the Lord of the harvest" to send forth laborers ought to take a leaf from old Nehemiah. How do you like the sound of these bits from his writings? "I prayed unto the God of heaven...AND I said unto the king." (Neh. 2:4,5) "We made our prayer unto God, AND set a watch against them day and night." (Neh. 4:9) "Remember the Lord ...AND fight." (Neh. 4:14) That makes sense. If our prayers are going to mean anything, they must be coupled with appropriate ACTION on our part. It reminds one of Oliver Cromwell's blunt admonition to his troops, "Trust God and keep your powder dry." Cromwell was a praying man, all right; but he knew his prayers would not be helped by wet gunpowder. He prayed for victory, AND took every action he could think of to bring it about.

A father does not hesitate to advise his son as to the advantages and disadvantages of a career in law, in politics, in business, in medicine, teaching scientific research, etc. He may seriously urge upon the boy a certain course of preparation for some specific field. Why not help the boy to understand the value of gospel preaching, the most glorious calling to which a man can devote his life? If you are a Christian parent, give some thought to this. There are far higher values in life than a nice income, a spacious house, and a new car every year or two. What a man lives for is infinitely more important than what he lives with. His life can be fulfilled and gloriously happy if he is dedicated to Christ and living for spiritual goals even if what he has to live with puts him on the fringe of poverty. By the same token, it can be miserably unhappy and empty if he has nothing to live for, though he may be surrounded by every luxury money can buy.

Pray ye the Lord of the harvest." Pray, indeed, AND do something about it!

-F. Y. T.