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skysunclouds heavenEarly one morning as I was worshiping God, I got caught up in a dimension of His presence I’ve never visited before. In that presence, I saw many wonderful things, and one of them was the manifestation of the great spiritual Awakening we’ve been praying about for so many years.

In the past, I’ve seen that Awakening in times of prayer, and it was always beautiful. But this time, it was even more so because it was worldwide. In places all over the earth, I saw God’s Spirit being poured out!

We often talk about the Second Coming of Jesus being close. But that morning, I realized His return is even closer than we’ve thought.

A great shift is taking place. We’ve entered a new spiritual season and things are changing fast.

From now on, there will be rapid spiritual acceleration and increase. Lots of supernatural events will be happening, and keeping up with them will require us to be more spiritually observant. We’ll have to perk up our spiritual ears and listen more attentively for the voice of God, to watch in the spirit so we can see what’s going on.

In other words, to pray effectively in this season, we must do exactly what Jesus told us to do in the days just before His Second Coming. He instructed us in Luke 21:36 when He spoke of the signs that would accompany the end of the age to “Watch ye therefore, and pray always.” He said it again in Mark 13:33: “Take heed, watch and pray.”

The apostle Paul repeated much the same command in 1 Thessalonians 5. Warning us not to be spiritually sleepy in these last days, he said in verse 6, we’re to “keep wide awake (alert, watchful, cautious, and on our guard)."

We don’t want to miss anything God is doing in this season! We want to remain spiritually aware because whenever a major event on God’s calendar is about to happen, He always surrounds it with tremendous activity. You can see that by reading in the Bible about Jesus’ First Coming. It was preceded by many signs and supernatural events, and the closer it got, the more frequent they became.

Think about Mary being visited by the angel… about Joseph seeing an angel in a supernatural dream… about the shepherds being visited by an entire angel band as they were watching their flocks by night. Think about Simeon being told by the Lord that he wouldn’t die until he saw the Messiah… and elderly Anna in the Temple, fasting, praying, and prophesying day and night about the coming Redeemer.

How did Anna know what to pray and prophesy? She was watching in the spirit and observing the signs of the times.

That’s what we’re to be doing! Now, just as in Anna’s day, great spiritual activity is taking place. If we’ll watch really closely, we’ll detect that activity and discern what God wants us to pray about it. We won’t be limited to just praying general prayers, we’ll pick up on the prayer assignments God is specifically giving us in this vital season.

There’s a difference between general praying and a prayer assignment. General praying doesn’t require any special leading from the Lord. It can be done simply in obedience to His written Word. For example, we see in 1 Timothy 2:1 we’re to pray for those in authority, so we do. We don’t have to be especially inspired; we just act on what the Bible says.

When God gives a prayer assignment, on the other hand, He grants prayer. He drops something into your heart. He gives you a leading and an anointing to pray about it, and like a pregnant woman carrying a child, you carry that thing in prayer.

Your prayer assignments might involve a person, a group of people, a project, a situation, or something else. But whatever they are, they’re important because they come from God. And in this new season, you’re likely to receive more of them. You’re also likely to find they’re fanning out more to include all three categories of people listed in 1 Corinthians 10:31—the Jews, the nations, and the Church.

Particularly if you’re in a prayer group, there will be more traffic in your prayers. You may skip around from the Church to the nations to the Jews and then back again.

Why? Because we’ve entered the spiritual season when as Ephesians 1:10 says, God is gathering “together in one all things in Christ.” He’s not just bringing the Church into unity. He’s bringing “all things” together and weaving them into a single tapestry. He’s intertwining His plans for the Church, the Jews, and the nations so they’re all bumping into each other and affecting one another—which means we must continually look to the Holy Spirit to find out where to put our knee down in prayer.

We must especially look to Him for guidance in praying for other nations! If we don’t, we can tend to focus mostly on our own country and our own local church. That’s not what Jesus told us to do. He didn’t tell us to be Christians who enjoy being in the kingdom of light and hoard up the anointing for ourselves while forgetting the parts of the world that are still in darkness. No, He said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel…” (Mark 16:15).

God is a global God, and we’re to have a global mindset. We owe the whole world an encounter with Him—and that world is running out of time. We can see that by reading the parable in Matthew 13. Remember that parable? It describes what will happen at the end of the age. Likening the kingdom of Heaven to a field that contained both wheat seeds and tare seeds, verses 26-30 say:

When the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, “Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?' He said to them, “An enemy has done this.” The servants said to him, “Do you want us then to go and gather them up?” But he said, 'No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”

Where are we in that parable today? We’re in the last verse! We’re at the place where the difference between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness has gotten very clear. Where a decade or two ago, everything was kind of gray, and it was hard to tell whether or not certain groups were Christian, now that’s changed. There’s a clear separation, which means it’s harvest time.

What are we to do at harvest time?

Matthew 9 tells us. It says that when Jesus was ministering on earth and saw the throngs of people, He “was moved with pity and sympathy for them, because they were bewildered (harassed and distressed and dejected and helpless) like sheep without a shepherd…”

Then He said to His disciples, The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few. So pray to the Lord of the harvest to force out and thrust laborers into His harvest. (vv. 36–38 Amp.)

That’s the first prayer assignment Jesus ever gave! And it’s a two-part assignment. First, we’re to pray for laborers to be thrust into the harvest field. Second, we’re to join the ranks of the laborers. In other words, we’re to do both knee-work and footwork. We’re to pray and to go.

This is the reason I travel to other nations. Jesus didn’t tell us just to stay inside our own church. He instructed us to go out into the world, and I’ve found that going produces a double benefit. It not only gives me the opportunity to take the Gospel to people out there in the darkness, it stirs me up to pray for them.

When I go out, I see the same thing Jesus saw. I see people who are like sheep without a shepherd, and I’m moved with compassion to cry out to God for them. I’m also strengthened and inspired to keep praying because when I get out there in the harvest field, I can see how marvelously God is answering prayers that have already been prayed.

Take what He’s doing in Europe right now, for instance. Talk about signs of change! I’ve been going to Europe for many years, and spiritually it’s always been very dark. It’s a pretty kind of darkness, especially in Western Europe where there are so many majestic and historic buildings, but its beauty is deceptive. It hides a spiritual deadness that’s so dense only 1% of the people there have received Jesus.

Just a few years ago, I couldn’t have imagined any part of Europe even coming close to being saved. But recently amazing things have been happening. In Austria, according to a friend of mine, Christians are going out witnessing on the streets in surprising numbers. They’re handing out tracts, and people are getting born again.

In southern France, a man has been traveling around carrying a cross on his back, with about 30 Christians walking behind him passing out tracts and ministering to people. In times past when he walked through that region, people just mocked him and turned away. But there’s been a shift. Now, the 30 Christians who accompany him can’t pass out tracts fast enough to keep up with the demand. People are taking the tracts and then coming back to ask for more to share with their friends.

I’m hearing similar reports from the Middle East. In Iran for example, the Gospel is spreading like wildfire. The church there is growing faster than anywhere else on earth and it’s being primarily led by women. If they’re ever caught by the Iranian government, the women will be raped, beaten, and killed for preaching the Gospel. But they don’t care. “We’re willing to sacrifice our bodies if necessary, to get Jesus to our nation,” they say.

Then, of course, there’s China. Years ago, I used to go there with other American Christians to minister to the underground church. At the beginning of the services, the Chinese women would always be at the altar crying out to God to come and pour out His Spirit on their nation. I remember one time, I told the mission team that was with me, “God will answer that cry!”

Now it’s happening. The last I heard, anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 people are being born again in China now every single day. Even more astounding, North Korea is opening up for the Gospel.

These are miracles! They’re signs that Jesus is coming soon. He’s at the very door. Yet, there are multitudes who still haven’t been reached. In the area of the world known as the 10/40 window (which includes much of northern Africa, the Middle East, and Asia), there are approximately 5.11 billion people residing in 8,717 people groups. It’s estimated that 68% of those groups are still unreached and 1.6 billion of them have never heard the name of Jesus even once. Think about that. Here we are talking about Jesus’ Second Coming and they haven’t even heard about the First one!

God said in Psalm 2:8: “Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession.” In the Message Bible, that verse says, “What do you want? Name it. Nations as your gift. Continents as your prize. You can command them all to dance for you. Or they can be thrown out with tomorrow’s trash.”

We don’t want the people of any nation to be thrown out with the trash! We don’t want to hoard up the anointing for ourselves, we want people all over the world to hear the Good News and dance for joy. We want to be part of bringing into the kingdom of God the precious fruit of all the earth.

We might not all be able to go to all nations, but we can pray for them. We can cry out to God on their behalf, and He will answer our cry!

Copyright © Lynne Hammond Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Lynne Hammond
Web site: Lynne Hammond Ministries
A teacher and an author, Lynne publishes a newsletter called Prayer Notes, has written numerous books, and currently serves as the national prayer director for Daughters for Zion. Her passion for inspiring and leading others into the life of Spirit-led prayer continues to take her around the world to minister to believers whose heart cry, like hers, is “Lord, teach me to pray!”

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