Prayer - Getting Your Church Ready for the Harvest
It is harvest time! Just as a field has to be plowed before the seed can be sown, so both the Christian and the unbeliever need to be spiritually prepared to hear the Gospel. Prayer is that key step of preparation. It will make our tools sharp, our people excited about sharing, and the lost person closer to that commitment to Christ. Let us then pray so our Lord’s harvest can be gathered in!
Pray in the Holy Spirit
With every prayer and request pray at all times in the Spirit. Ephesians 6:18
This verse is a command of Scripture, yet how often do we check ourselves and ask, “Is this how the Spirit prays? Is this what the Spirit wants done or is it what I want to happen?” It is critical that we pray motivated and guided by the Spirit. We must be living in the Word of God, memorizing, meditating, and listening to His voice so our prayers comefrom His thoughts and His ways and not our own wisdom. Let our prayers be rooted in the desire for God’s glory, not in trying to maintain our way of life or to keep from suffering, but: “Thy will, not my will.”
Praying Scripture is a stellar way to keep prayers God-focused. Train the church to listen to God as they read the Bible and apply Scripture to the requests. This process creates God-focused prayer structured around Scripture and takes our focus off of the physical needs we see and onto God. It reveals God’s heart and releases His desires into situations. This kind of praying will rejuvenate your church’s prayer-life! See resources on the following page and the appendix for more information on this key skill.
Pray for Workers for the Field
...Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest. Luke 10:2
This is Jesus’ one prayer request from Scripture. Today’s churches are filled with tomorrow’s missionaries and church planters. Pray for God to raise them up out of your church. Are you asking God to send your children or grandchildren to the mission field? Are there senior adults withtime and energy, young people or college students in your church who you are praying will hear the call to “Go” intothe mission field? We can all pray, “Here am I. Send me.” Take time as a congregation to ask the Lord for laborers. Jesus entreats us to do so. This could be a regular part of every weekly prayer service or once a year on a Sunday morning.
Prepare the Sower: Holiness and Faith Check-up
The intense prayer of the righteous is very powerful. James 5:16
And if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. Matthew 21:22.
These verses reveal two prerequisites for effective prayer: holiness and faith. If your church feels their prayers are ineffective, that they aren’t seeing God move in response to their requests, it is time for a check-up. During the Shantung revival the missionaries asked each other two questions at every meeting: Are you filled with the Spirit? Have you confessed your sins to date? They knew without these two essentials God would not move. It is the same for the church today. In order to be effective sowers we need holiness and the Spirit. The following resources will help your church with this area as well.
Pray Persistently for the Soil, Person by Person
But the one sown on the good ground - this is the one who hears and understands the word, who does bear fruit and yield: some 100, some 60, some 30 times what was sown. Matthew13:23
Good soil is essential for the seed of the Gospel to grow. How are the people, the soil, around your church? Has it been plowed with the Scripture-based prayers of the saints, or have the rocks and thorns and hardness of the world taken over? Pray for the stranger, for neighbors, for lost family members. See the next page for resources on prayer walking, Choose 2 praying and developing a Prayer, Care, Share congregation that will help this kind of praying become a lifestyle of your church.