Prevailing Prayer to Send Forth Laborers
But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Matthew 9:36-38)
Upon seeing the great need for laborers in the harvest, Jesus’ first command to his disciples was to pray. This was not to minimize the urgency of going, but Jesus understood that when disciples begin to pray for laborers, they tend to become the very laborers they are crying out for!
History shows us repeatedly that the greatest missionary thrusts have been birthed by prevailing prayer, and the Student Volunteer Movement was no exception. While many know about the famous Northfield Bible conference in July 1886 where the mobilization of thousands of student volunteer missionaries began, some may not realize that intercessors were laboring for years prior to the conference.
Robert Wilder, the young man God used as a catalyst at Northfield, had spent his college years at Princeton praying for revival and missions. His older sister Grace had also labored in intercession during her years at Mount Holyoke. Robert’s Princeton group would gather Sunday afternoons in his parent’s home, and it was said that while they met in one room, Grace would be in the next room praying for them! From 1884-86 Robert and Grace met regularly and prayed for a missions movement to spread across the colleges and universities of America. In the summer of 1886 their prayer was answered.
Today as we witness the convergence of the prayer and missions movements, we believe that God is raising up another generation who will labor in prayer on their campuses and become the laborers who will give themselves to “The Evangelization of the World in This Generation.”