Passionate and persistent prayer is what is needed as the local church becomes apostolic in nature. When an assembly takes seriously the apostolic commission to “send” their people into the world to make disciples it will require much persistent and passionate prayer.
This kind of passionate prayer is exhibited by Isaiah’s cry, “Oh, that you would rend the heavens! That you would come down!” (Isaiah 64:1a). Although apostolic prayer wants to see the lost saved and the kingdom of God extended, there is something it seeks even more: the manifest presence of The Lord. It years that He would rend the heavens and come down and fill the earth with His presence and glory. As E.M. Bounds once said, “The church on its knees would bring heaven upon the earth.”
Yet, tragically, Isaiah has to confess to The Lord just a few verses later: “There is no one who calls on Your Name, who stirs himself up to take hold of you.” (Isaiah 64:7a). While The Lord is waiting for us to call upon Him to rend the heavens and come down, few are willing to stir themselves to take hold of Him.
God made a similar observation to Ezekiel: “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.” (Ezekiel 22:30). Where are those today who will stand in the gap in behalf of the lost? Would The Lord have to again lament when looking for those who share His heart for the lost and are praying for both their salvation and for more laborers to enter into the harvest fields because the harvest is ready?
London pastor Charles Spurgeon once remarked, “Winners of souls must first be weepers for souls.” This is an echo of the words of the psalmist: “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Psalm 126:5-6)