Missionary Care

Praying for the Harvest in Light of Global Christianity

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A quick tour of the world shows a beautifully diverse group of Christians participating in God’s mission. South Asian Christians in saris reach out to their Hindu and Muslim neighbors. Korean believers mobilize hundreds of Christians to go to the ends of the earth. Chinese believers strategize how to take the gospel to the unreached in China and around the world. Believers from one Muslim nation train believers from another nation to take the gospel to another nation. African trainers courageously go into refugee camps to share the gospel with those who have nothing. Missionaries from Brazil, Peru, and other Latin American countries send missionaries to postmodern Europe and America.

The center of Global Christianity has shifted from the West (mainly Europe and North America) to the Global South and East (Latin America, Africa, and Asia). It has multiplied from one main center to multiple centers. Missions for many centuries has been one-directional (usually from the center to the other parts of the world) but is now, as Allen Yeh says, polycentric, moving from everyone to everywhere. [1] Timothy Tennent states,

“The church has, over the centuries, shifted to various cultural and geographic centers. But never before has the church gained strength, geographically and culturally, in so many different regions of the world simultaneously. The Christian message has been received by more new peoples, from more diverse cultures, than at any time in the history of the church.” [2]

Jesus commands his disciples to “Pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matt 9:38, Luke 10:2). How do we pray for laborers in light of the reality of global Christianity?

Praise God for the Harvest

The rise of the global church illustrates a beautiful truth: the gospel traveled across the globe, took root, and bore fruit. Christians throughout the centuries participated in God’s mission and, through the work of the Spirit, saw people from various tribes, languages, nations, and tongues respond. The laborers went out. The harvest came. We have so much to be thankful for.

  • Praise God that He is faithful. He promised His word would not return void. The reality of Global Christianity illustrates that it did not in the past and gives hope that it will not in the future.

  • Praise God for the efforts of missionaries around the world. Through their faithful witnesses, the nations heard and responded.

  • Praise God for the harvest we have already seen, which proves that God has a heart for the nations and he calls a diverse people to himself.

  • Praise God that he continues to raise up laborers out of previous harvest fields who boldly take the gospel to new harvest fields.

Pray to God for the Harvest

Often when we pray for laborers, we (correctly) pray that he would send out laborers from our own churches. But I propose we add a few other prayers to mix.

  • Pray that the Lord would send out diverse laborers from churches in your area to go to the harvest.

  • Surprisingly for some people, many of the refugees that resettle in the United States are Christian. Ask that the Lord would raise up laborers from among these Christians to take the gospel to their refugee and American neighbors.

  • Pray that God will raise up a new generation of laborers from all parts of the world who will take the gospel to the unreached.

  • Pray for unity among missionaries from different cultural backgrounds who partner together to make Christ known among the nations.

[1] Allen Yeh, Polycentric Missiology: Twenty-First-Century Mission from Everyone to Everywhere, (Downer’s Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2016), 4.

[2] Timothy Tennent, Theology in the Context
of World Christianity: How the Global Church is Influencing the Way We Think
about and Discuss Theology, 
(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007),262.

  • Missionary Care
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Anna Daub

Dr. Anna Daub is the Director of Special Projects and Partnerships for Global Theological Initiatives at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. She lived in South Asia for two years and has traveled to many other parts of the world. Anna’s interests include orality, Bible storying, the arts, and anthropology. She loves sitting around with friends drinking a cup of coffee, hosting people in her home, traveling, and other adventures.

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