By Dave Butts
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matt.24:14).
May I suggest to you that this massive, world-changing event, which Jesus told us to watch for, happened during the funeral of Billy Graham. In every nation, even those we call closed nations, the funeral of the world’s greatest evangelist presented the gospel of the kingdom with clarity and power. Oh, yes, I know that there is still much evangelism ahead of us. But it is a mopping up operation after the gospel has gone around the world.
If this is the case, and I strongly believe that it is, then we are living in amazing times that require much of us. Prayer must move to the forefront of every initiative of the Church as we work in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Living toward the end of the end of days means we must draw closer than ever to the Lord in intimate prayer and receive our clear marching orders from him. We should expect to see a Spirit initiated revival in the Church.
The death of an astonishingly effective evangelist like Billy Graham often brings the question of who will take his place. We are often drawn to the Old Testament story of the mantle of Elijah being passed to Elisha and we ask who will receive the mantle of Billy Graham. The answer is, “No Man!” It is a mantle for the Church to wear as we prepare the way for the coming of Jesus. Prayer and evangelism are to become a lifestyle for the whole Church as we move out of our comfort zones and into the war zones of front line Christian living!
There is a wave of prayer that is moving across the face of the earth right now. It is prayer that is focused, not on receiving what we want from God, but on the advance of His Kingdom. In Billy Graham’s latter years he gave himself more and more to prayer. That is a picture of what needs to happen in the Church right now. We must give ourselves more and more to prayer as we cooperate with God in His work on earth.
As God prepared the earth for the first coming of Jesus two thousand years ago, he placed in Jerusalem two older saints, Anna and Simeon. They gave themselves to prayer in anticipation of the coming of the Messiah. God is doing the same thing today in preparation for the return of Jesus to planet earth. He is raising up his saints who will give themselves to prayer that paves the way for the coming of Jesus.
I don’t know about you, but I want in on that prayerful mission that will see the triumphal return of Jesus in His timing and in His way!
–Dave Butts is the president of Harvest Prayer Ministries and the author of 11 books on prayer and revival, including Prayer and the End of Days. We suggest that book to you to further stir your hearts to pray for the Second Coming of Christ.