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Harvesttime praying

J. ROBERT ASHCROFT

JESUS watched the people of Sychar coming over the fields and lanes to Jacob’s well where He had spoken to the woman (John 4:5—30). She had met the Messiah! Then running through the village, she cried, "Come, see a man, [who] told me all things that ever I did." And come they did!

Speaking to His disciples, Jesus expressed the urgency of reaping the harvest then. There is an urgency for us to reap the harvest of people’s souls now. It is harvesttime.

Our Problem

Some think they have to wait for a special time–a divine visitation to bring in the harvest. Charles Finney broke with the ideology of the believers who thought they had to wait for the Lord. He declared that the time for revival is in our hands. God is waiting for us. We are not waiting for God.

Yet people find many excuses for inaction. They say things like, "Our fields have burned over"; "The people are gospel-hardened"; "They have had their chance and resisted the gospel"; "The church is not ready." But just when they say these things, someone comes along with a vision and proves them wrong. Revival breaks loose, and a harvest of souls is reaped.

Jesus said, "Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest?" (John 4:35). Somehow in God’s plan sowing and reaping by the Holy Spirit are speeded up. (See Amos 9:13, Leviticus 26:4,5, and John 4:36.)

God’s Plan

The first and most important step for us to take is to pray. How we pray makes a difference. Each year January is set aside as a special time for prayer. There is a worldwide thrust among evangelicals and Spirit-filled believers to see a great ingathering of souls. But our first priority is to learn to intercede in our praying.

How are we going to pray? We know why we pray. We know when to pray. We must learn to intercede. The Scriptures instruct us to pray for laborers to be sent forth (Matthew 9:38). To do this, only offering up petitions is not enough. We must intercede. And to intercede is to become a part of the answer. Jesus calls for laborers. We must pray for laborers. When we do, we become laborers for the Lord of the harvest, and we are asked to pray for laborers.

This is our day for revival. It is our time to work, not a time for professionalism. It is a time for every believer to find his or her ministry in the body of Christ. Each of us has a unique ministry–whether at the kitchen sink, behind the pulpit, or a million other places. Prayer is the way we discover that ministry. Prayer also guides us to help others in the ministry of reaching the lost for Christ.

Possibilities

Jesus said, "Lift up your eyes." This means to turn our eyes from our problems to His possibilities. When we look down at ourselves we sink beneath the waves of our fears, weaknesses, and doubts. But when we lift up our eyes we see Jesus and can follow His Word, "Look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest" (John 4:35).

Prayer is the secret (Matthew 9:37,38). Prayer demonstrates that we have the vision. No longer do we see frustration, failure, hostility. We see Jesus and the whitened harvest field. Our priorities get in order. We know it is harvesttime.

Drugs, alcohol, divorce, and all the concomitant evils of our time leave people vulnerable to the glorious gospel of deliverance. The fields are white. We can make a difference take action.

To meet the challenge of this great spiritual offensive we can do these things:

1. Pray more often. Elect to have an extended prayer time at each meal good opportunity to focus on our loved ones who are not saved (Daniel 6:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:17).

2. Be specific in prayer as to persons and conditions where God’s will needs to be done.

3. Be revived ourselves (Luke 11:9).

4. Wait in prayer for God’s answer. He needs us to be a part of the answer to the prayer (Psalm 42:1).

5. Find a regular prayer partner with whom to agree in intercession (Matthew 18:19,20).

6. Attend the prayer meetings of the church (Hebrews 10:24,25).

7. Rejoice in thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6).

8. Obey the direction of the Holy Spirit no matter what the circumstances (Acts 16).