The focus of this message is the role or place of prayer in the harvest. Before looking at that, it is important we take note of the prophetic picture painted for us in Rev.14: 14-16 about harvest. This prophetic picture gives us hope, confidence and a positive outlook that the harvest we are embarking upon will be accomplished. In that scripture, we read: “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, ‘Thrust in thy sickle and reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped”.
Note the last phrase in this passage: “and the earth was reaped”. That tells us that the harvest is ordained to succeed. It is ordained to be a success. It means it did not fail. It means all the impediments, obstacles, challenges and barriers to the harvest were overcome. It means nothing on earth could stop the harvest. It implies all the resources or divine supplies necessary for the harvest were provided. It also means that the sickle – the instrument for the harvest did not prove problematic to the Lord of the harvest; it did not hinder the harvest.
That the earth was reaped also means that the nations were reaped. It means Nigeria was reaped. It means our towns and villages were reaped. It means Africa was reaped. It means the continents were reaped. It means the places where our churches and centres are located were reaped. It means whatever blessings God has in store for us as part of the harvest will be reaped. This leaves no room for failure or despair. Our locations and blessings will surely be reaped.
THE ROLE OF PRAYER IN THE HARVEST
As noted above, the prophetic picture presented to us about the harvest indicated that the earth was reaped. But notice that something preceded the reaping of the earth. In Revelation 14: 15, the Bible says: “And another angel came out of the temple crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud”. Crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, points to prayer and intercession. The angel mentioned here is an Intercessor Angel and is symbolic of the body of intercessors on earth or the church in prayer. In other words, the harvest or reaping of the earth is conditioned on prayer. Other passages in the Bible attest to this. See Isaiah 62:1,6,7; Isaiah 65:9,10; Ezekiel 36:37,38; Psalm 2:8.
WHAT PRAYER DOES CONCERNING THE HARVEST
- It sharpens, empowers and makes effective the instruments for the harvest. (Isaiah
- It destroys the impediments and barriers to the harvest.(Isaiah 25:7)
- It opens the eyes and heart of the blind to their need of salvation and the Saviour.(Acts 26:17,18; Acts 16:13,14)
- It is the means of raising the harvest work force.(Matthew 9:36-38)
- It is the means of securing the anointing, rain or outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the harvest.(James 5:17,18; Zechariah 10:1; Ezekiel 47:1,9,10; Isaiah 32:10,15)
WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID ABOUT PRAYER AND THE HARVEST
- “We have learned not only to pray, but we have learned how to live our lives in prayer…If your heart hungers for souls to be saved and your nation to be turned to God…then the life of prayer is a must”.(David Yonggi Cho)
- “Conversion is operation of the Holy Spirit, and prayer is the power that secures that operation. Souls are not saved by man but by God, and since He works in answer to prayer, we have no choice but to follow the Divine plan. Prayer moves the Arm that moves the world”.(Oswald J. Smith)
- “We read in the biographies of our forefathers, who were most successful in winning souls, that hey prayed for hours in private. The question therefore arises, can we get the same results without following their examples? If we can, then let us prove to the world that we have found a better way; but if not, then in God’s name let us begin to follow those who through faith and patience obtained the promise. Our fathers wept and prayed and agonized before the Lord for sinners to be saved, and would not rest until they were slain the Sword of the Word of God. That was the secret of their mighty success; when things were slack and would not move they wrestled in prayer till God poured out His Spirit upon the people and sinners were converted”. (Samuel Stevenson)
- “You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed…Prayer is striking the winning blow…service is gathering up the results”.
- “In 1857-59 God began a movement of revival harvest in the United States that eventually swept across the British Isles, bringing spiritual rebirth to Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and finally England… All such widespread outpourings of the Spirit have their beginnings in a movement of prayer that is motivated, guided, and co-ordinated by the Holy Spirit…Prolonged and prevailing prayer has continued in many hearts”.
- “An eyewitness to [Finney] revivals wrote: “Probably no man, since the days of Whitefield, ever stirred the minds of men in this city so widely and deeply, in their relations to practical and personal religion, as this great and good man. Preaching and praying were his only weapons. He surrounded himself with an atmosphere of prayer, and a body of devoted praying and working Christians, male and female”. (Wesley Duewel)
WANTED: PRAYER WORK FORCE FOR THE COMING HARVEST
In the light of Isaiah 62:1,6,7 and what others have said about prayer and the harvest as highlighted above, we need a Harvest Prayer Work Force that will birth the coming harvest. I invite all who are willing to be a part of this prayer work force to come forward to commit themselves to this course. Those who are already involved in this prayer work force are called upon to renew their consecration while those whose prayer lives are wobbling are called upon to come forth for healing of their prayer lives. May the Lord richly bless you as you respond.