The title of this blog may seem pretty harsh. Let me preface it by clearly stating that this is in no way a rebuke. I wouldn’t dare assume that I am in the position to do so as I myself have only been a part of this awe-inspiring prayer movement for 6 months (If you don’t know, there is a massive movement of night-and-day prayer and worship that is sweeping the globe at an unprecedented rate). I am speaking from the perspective of a total newbie, but also someone who is totally bought in, serving full time in a prayer room, and giving myself to God’s purposes for night-and-day prayer to sweep the earth. Everything I have written is based on the Holy Spirit’s conviction in my own life. It is with this heart I feel the urge to write the following. So… sweaty palms and all…
I’ve heard statistics on the global prayer movement that are absolutely mind boggling. Since 1999 the world has seen a steady increase of places of unceasing worship and prayer, from just a known handful to thousands worldwide. That’s amazing. Surely all of this momentum in prayer would mean more people coming to Christ. Right? Sadly, this is not the case. In western society not only do statistics show a huge decrease in Christian conversion rates, but believers are actually leaving the church in droves. Don’t believe me? Just google “Christianity in America.”
My point in highlighting this isn’t to say that prayer is unnecessary in the salvation of souls. On the contrary, I believe it is absolutely essential. For far too long we’ve merely converted people to a religious disposition instead of bringing them into life-changing encounters with the living Christ as described in the Bible. That takes prayer; deep, devoted, consecrated prayer. History shows us that some of the greatest revivals in Christianity happened as a result of prayer, bringing in massive amounts of souls into the kingdom. We NEED prayer to be absolutely central in our communities of faith.
What I am saying is we MUST remember to place an equal emphasis on evangelism as we do on prayer. One of the main scriptures and prayer requests of our prayer room here in Columbus, Georgia is found in Luke 10:2. We “…ask the Lord of the harvest… to send out workers into his harvest field” (V. 2). After praying this for months, I suddenly realized the wider context. Jesus is speaking to harvesters, here, not merely intercessors.
He begins by addressing the great shortage in workers within the harvest fields, then tells them to pray this deficit is filled, for He knows what He’s going to tell them next, which is to “Go…” (V. 3). He immediately sends them out in teams to evangelize the lost. What’s the point? They are not to be people who pray from the sidelines, but those who pray from the fields. They see the great need from their firsthand experience. Their time harvesting is to fuel their prayers. As workers they not only see the need; they feel it in their bones. Thus, their prayers are fervent because their labor is fervent. It is necessary that we pray for the harvest AS we’re working it. That is the model of Jesus. In this way prayer and evangelism work in tandem together, not in opposition to each other, spurring each other on to the end goal, which is the return of the Harvester Himself, Christ Jesus.
The Lord began to convict me regarding the disconnect between prayer and evangelism by rearranging a familiar allegory most of us have heard. It goes like this. A man found himself standing on the roof of his house in the middle of a flood praying for God to save him from the rising waters. As he was praying, three separate opportunities arose for the man to be saved; a rowboat, a motorboat, and a helicopter. The man refused help from them all, saying, “No thanks. I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”
Serving in a prayer room for the short time that I have, my dilemma has been similar, except I’m like the person in the boat or in the helicopter. In the midst of the rising flood I see the man standing helplessly on the rooftop. He looks to me for help and my response is, “No thanks. I’m praying to God and He is going to save you. I have faith.”
I don’t want to just pray for the next great harvest of souls to come in when I am surrounded by lost and broken people God has placed all around me, some even directly under my sphere of influence. I want to do what I can to lead them to the feet of Jesus. I want to do this not only for their sake, but because this is what Jesus told us to do (see Matt. 28:18-20). Have you ever felt this way?
If any of this rings true within your heart, here are some helpful tips to get you started. These are simple things I’ve personally started doing and have found them to be effective. I pray this spurs you on into the harvest fields. I believe as you begin to pray from the fields, and not just for them, you will be blessed beyond measure as God uses you to usher in the next great harvest we’ve all been praying for.
(check out https://www.dbsguide.org)
Yours in Christ,
Brandon McKenzie, Harvest House of Prayer Coordinator
I have been serving in some way with Take the city since October 2013. I spent a lot of time on the prayer team in the beginning and encountered God’s heart for the city in a life changing way. When the teams came back and shared testimonies, it was always fun to see that our prayers coincided with some of their testimonies in special ways. More recently I have had the privilege of leading a team to a nursing home where I used to be an employee. I used to pray over the facility every day, and it was such a miracle to see an old friend who lives there give his life to Jesus on one of our outreaches a year later. God sure has a way of answering prayers. And Take the City is an answer to so many prayers that have gone up here.