By Ryan Shaw
One of the most important roles in the fulfillment of the Great Commission is global harvest intercessors. Throughout the earth the Holy Spirit is provoking multitudes of believers and local ministries with a heart for His global purpose. They may never leave their hometown yet can profoundly affect spiritual breakthrough among the nations.
God intends global harvest intercessors in every local ministry. They are committed not only to praying themselves but helping others in their church or campus ministry engage with God’s heart for the nations as well.
This can happen though global prayer teams meeting at different times throughout the week or setting aside a dedicated sacred space for ongoing prayer.
Jesus called His body a “house of prayer for all nations (Luke 19:46)!” In doing so, He was stamping a core identity upon His people. If we are failing to prioritize prayer and intercession for global harvest, we are missing a primary mark of who the Church is meant to be.
Intercessory prayer is Jesus’ primary means of moving His eternal plans and purposes forward. It is prayer on behalf of people, families, cities, nations and situations, as we stand in their place contending for the will of God, transformation, conviction of sin and the influence of the Kingdom of God among them.
This type of prayer lays hold of the blessing it seeks, it moves God, it affects the thing being prayed for and it changes the one doing the praying. There is a law in God’s Kingdom that this type of intercession, committed to faithfully, will in time produce results.
God is ready and willing to release a fresh outpouring of the “spirit of prayer” for global harvest on His church. He is looking for individuals and local ministries hungry to partner with Him in this way. These are ready to learn “to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant (Jeremiah 1:10).”
James tells us in James 5:16, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” What is it that the righteous person is doing in prayer that makes it effective? There are at least seven characteristics necessary to embrace and be consistently growing in related to global harvest prayer.
(1) Prayer For A Specific Thing – It is important to have a particular object before us when we pray. In Scripture when a particular blessing was obtained it was always through focused prayer. Global harvest intercessors usually have an overarching prayer emphasis the Spirit has given them.
(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 will.
(3) Hunger and Desire to see God Move Related to the Thing Prayed – It is hard to stand in the gap, praying through to victory, unless we possess a measure of growing desire for the thing. We are meant to demonstrate deep desire that lays hold of God – Jacob is an example as he wrestles with the angel as is Moses in his role of interceding for the Israelites before God. If there is strong desire, born of a pure motive for the Lord’s glory, while the thing prayed for is not contrary to God’s will, the biblical expectation is that the thing will be answered.
(4) From Right Motives – Our greatest motivation in prayer is to know Him and the power of His resurrection in increasing dimensions. Global harvest intercession has supreme regard for the glory of God in the earth. It cannot be reduced to mere sympathy for people, but have its source in the honor and glory of God not yet being experienced among unreached and unengaged people groups.
(5) Must Be Persevering – We cannot expect answers will come immediately in global harvest prayer. Sometimes they do yet the Biblical norm is ongoing steadiness in intercession, receiving further clarity from the Lord about what’s being prayed, how to pray and what Biblical promises to contend for. Laying hold of God’s promises in global harvest circumstances takes faith, diligence and often time. Misunderstanding God’s timing is possibly the greatest barrier to effective global harvest prayer.
(6) Is Regular, Not Periodic – This goes along with perseverance – we must pray regularly, spiritually contending often, reminding God of His promises to bring harvest among every people group.
(7) Is Accompanied By Faith – We are meant to expect to obtain the things we ask – much prayer is offered without any real belief that anything will really change. Unbelief is a great obstacle and a reason behind much unanswered global harvest prayer. Increased expectation is connected to evidence that what we are seeking God for is indeed His will. Expectation comes as we surrender ourselves more to the Spirit, who possesses us in prayer.