By Ryan Shaw
A growing wave of prayer is sweeping the global church. God is stirring a fresh vision of the importance and centrality of prayer across His body. There are greater heights in prayer that the Holy Spirit is ready to take His church.
Prayer is the central means through which God will bring global harvest among all unreached and unengaged people groups. It is not the only means but it is the foundational means. As such we are seeking God for a fresh outpouring of the “spirit of prayer” for global harvest on His global church.
All historic revivals of the past 300 years have had this kind of intercession taking place prior to them. Thus, we want to learn how to effectively cooperate with the “spirit of prayer” in practical ways?
Let’s consider seven characteristics of effective global harvest prayer. James provides a key foundation for us in James 5:16 – “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
What is it the righteous person is doing in prayer that makes it effective?
1. Prayer for a Specific Thing
It is important to have a particular object before us when we pray. We are not praying randomly. In the Bible when we see that a particular blessing was obtained it was always through focused prayer.
Human beings find it generally difficult to strongly lay hold of more than one focal point at a given time. The human mind has trouble locking into a variety of items intensely and walking those things through to victory.
2. In Accordance with the Revealed Will of God
Prayer that is contrary to the will of God is merely self-centered religion. God promises to answer, in time, prayer that is in line with His revealed will. Many prayers are not answered because they do not align with His revealed will, either through Scripture or the inner witness of the Holy Spirit.
3. Hunger and Desire To See God Move
It is hard to stand in the gap, praying through to victory, unless we possess a measure of growing desire for the thing being prayed for. Jesus’ own prayer life demonstrates this as deep desire marked Him in prayer.
If there is strong desire, born of a pure motive for the Lord’s glory, and the thing prayed for is not contrary to God’s will, the biblical expectation is that the prayer will be answered.
We are meant to demonstrate deep desire that lays hold of God in prayer. Jacob is an example as he wrestles with the angel proclaiming, “I will not let you go unless you bless me! (Genesis 32:26).” Moses is another example as he intercedes for the rebellious Israelites before God.
4. From Right Motives
Prayer for global harvest should be made with a supreme regard for the glory of God in the earth. Much of prayer in general is offered from pure selfishness. This is often a key reason prayers go unanswered.
Global harvest prayer cannot be reduced to mere sympathy for people and their situations. It must have its source in the honor and glory of God not yet being experienced among the unreached and unengaged.
We want to see what God sees and feel what God feels among the nations, motivating us to deep intercession for Jesus to receive the honor, worship and glory He deserves among them.
5. Must Be Persevering
We cannot expect to engage in prayer, experiencing deep desire once, and assume the answer will come immediately. Sometimes it does, yet the biblical norm is ongoing steadiness in the place of prayer.
Over time, the Lord gives further clarity, understanding on the thing prayed for, on how to pray for the thing, what biblical and Spirit given promises to contend for, etc.
Laying hold of Jesus through prayer requires faith, diligence and often time. Often the Lord will give a particular burden to us. We begin interceding for the thing. It often takes much time before seeing the breakthrough of the promise.
God is not seeking to withhold things from us but grow us in ongoing faithfulness, steadfastness.
6. It Is a Regular Thing
This goes along with perseverance. We must pray regularly, spiritually contending often, reminding God of His promises and His will in the nations – to bring harvest among every people group.
7. It Is Accompanied By Faith
We are meant to expect to obtain the things we ask that are according to God’s will. Much prayer is offered without any real belief that anything will really change. Unbelief is a great obstacle and a reason behind much unanswered prayer.
Increased expectation is connected to a sense of evidence that what we are seeking God for is indeed His will. Expectation grows as we receive a greater vision of God’s power. Paul reveals this in Ephesians 1:18 -19, “that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.”