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Pray the Lord of the Harvest…

January 31, 2013

Written by an anonymous sister in the Lord:

“Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers…” Matthew 9:38

I am honored to testify again to the glorious work of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He is merciful and longsuffering to us, and it amazes me daily that He chooses to use US to fulfill His plans in this world.  Following my previous post regarding a conviction to evangelize and then looking into evangelism training, life continued to happen.  We rushed into the holidays and traveled to visit family. I got a horrible flu bug while I was gone.  It always takes me a while to get back to normal life after that, and then to add traveling with two kids on top of it!  Needless to say, for several days my desires to share the gospel had been set on the back burner in the name of survival.

Upon returning home, getting settled, and pressing back into my usual spiritual routine, I began to revisit this burden for evangelism.  I continued to labor in prayer for the boldness of the Holy Spirit!  Over the course of the next week or so I encountered countless people with whom I could have shared.  I would stand before a lost soul but be gripped by fear.  I can’t count the times I would walk away grieved by my silence.

One of our regular Wednesday night Bible studies this month was radical.  Our brother led us through a passage in Ephesians 3.  We discussed the purpose accomplished through Christ, in whom we now have boldness and access to God!  The next section talks about praying to be “strengthened in the inner man.”  Then we chewed on one particular truth, “that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”  Do any of us REALLY take to heart that these truths are available to us?  This is the kind of life we CAN have in Christ Jesus!  I believe the reality is simply that most of us don’t reach out and take hold of these promises.  Following our study we had a very powerful discussion and prayer time before the Lord.

The next morning I woke up and began our daily routine.  My husband and I start our days in the word and in prayer, and now we had a new emphasis on praying for those things mentioned above from Ephesians 3.  It was a very fruitful time with the Lord.  Later that morning I left my house for some errands.  As I buckled both kids in the car, I noticed that there were still men painting our condos.  (They had been painting for weeks, and I always brushed off the thought of sharing the gospel with them).  I finished with the kids and my heart was racing.  Before I could even skip a beat, I was in front of this man and said, “Can I ask you a question?  Has anyone ever shared the gospel of Jesus with you?”  Turns out, he is a believer!  We had a brief exchange about the Lord and then I left.  Even though I didn’t share the gospel, it was SO POWERFUL to have opened my mouth!  The joy that welled up within me was truly overflowing!  I got in the car, so full of the Spirit and begged the Lord to open my lips again.  I prayed all the way up to Walmart where I had to exchange slippers for my husband.

As I approached the returns counter, I began to pray.  The woman did not look too friendly, nor interested to hear anything.  As she finished my exchange, I was so filled with joy and could not contain it ! I leaned over the counter and said, “Norma, can I ask you a question?  Has anyone ever shared the gospel of Jesus with you?”  She began to laugh . Somehow, un-phased by her mockery, I went right into the gospel.  “The Bible says we were created to be in communion with God, but it is our sin that separates us from Him.  But, because God loves you and me SO much, He put the punishment for your sin and mine upon His Son Jesus, so we can be reconciled to Him and have eternal life!”  She continued to snicker at me, and looked everywhere but in my eyes.  I encouraged her to read the gospel of John, grabbed my son’s hand, and walked out… SO FILLED WITH JOY!  And that time, I had an audience!  I know several people were listening, but somehow I didn’t care!  I could not believe what was happening!  I did not practice all morning, or fast and pray. (Although, I think those are great things to do!)  It was simply another day.  And a radical day it was!

A day or two went by before I went out again. I was in Santa Rosa doing another Christmas return at Marshalls.  This day, I was not as energized as I had been that day.  I remember I did not feel very well and was just exhausted.  I was lacking faith- thinking that if I was not overwhelmed with joy, I would not share.  But, I prayed that the Lord would use me anyway.  As I approached the counter with 6 different people working the registers, I was called up to the one girl who looked so sad.  As she finished my transaction, I asked her if she had heard the gospel. And as I shared this time, I included a personal note, “We find every need met in Christ. Every longing of our heart, every desire; healing for every hurt is found in God alone.”  It seemed fitting for this downcast girl.  She was so thankful.  I encouraged her to read John and said I would be praying for her.  Then suddenly, in spite of my physical exhaustion, there came that FLOOD OF JOY!  There truly is NO RUSH in the world like offering Christ to a stranger!

A few days later I was at a gas station that had just been remolded. A young man working there approached me to offer me a free promotional carwash.  He seemed very nice.  But, I let him walk away!  Oh that wretched fear!  At least 3 times while my gas pumped he walked past my car again offering these coupons to other people.  Finally I stopped him and asked, “Jose, has anyone ever shared the gospel of Jesus with you?”  He said no, and then we began the most wonderful dialogue!  Most other encounters I had were brief, but in this one he had thoughts and questions, to which I was able to respond with Holy Spirit inspired wisdom and exhortation!  He was so hungry for the Lord and said he would go and find his bible to begin reading.  Oh how I entered into strong prayer for that dear man as I left!  It was such a sweet time of conversing about our risen Lord Jesus!  I cannot explain the change that has taken place in me. I know it is NOTHING I have within myself. By the grace of God alone He has answered the cries of my heart and has overcome the fear within me. If you long to share the gospel but struggle as I did, my exhortation is this: labor in prayer. We have a real enemy and I believe his greatest tool is fear.  This battle against fear is very real. But, the good news is, this battle and every other one you will face was conquered 2000 years ago on Calvary when Jesus said, “IT IS FINISHED!”  I know the enemy would love the Church of God to be silent, consumed with fear, or at least justifying why we do not share the gospel.  I pray we will not let him win.  The very heartbeat of our faith is the proclamation of the Gospel.

So, lets press into prayer- wrestle with the Lord until He strengthens your inner man, and you can go out with confidence to share the gospel. I don’t know how long that will take- I had no idea how it would happen for me. But after months of agonizing in prayer, this is what the Lord did in me.  And it has been the most radical transformation!

I encourage you to listen to this sermon as well- it is by Carter Conlon and is called, “Your Enemies Are Beginning To Tremble”. This is incredible for engaging in any battle against the enemy, the world, or your flesh.

You can listen to it here:
http://www.holydesperation.com/sermons/top/YourEnemiesAreBeginningToTremble.mp3

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