LORD, SEND THE RAIN: Preparing for the Rain
The Book of Joel describes an insect infestation that devastated Judah’s agricultural economy. This plague was so severe that no one in that generation or the previous had ever seen anything like it (Joel 1:1-7). There were four stages of destruction by the palmerworm, the locust, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar. These insects were so numerous that they blocked out the light of the sun, stripped the land of its food supply, and even ate the bark off of the trees. Some of us can identify with these Judeans. Satanic forces have struck numerous times in our businesses, eaten away our finances, chewed the life out of our marriages, and stripped the bark from our spiritual lives. Sometimes it is the locust and at other times palmerworms and cankerworms. We know the misery is not over when we see caterpillars, which means a new cycle of devastation has begun.
In response to this creepy-crawling nightmare, the Judeans proclaimed an absolute fast (Joel 2:16-17). Their situation was so dire that all recently married couples were to end their honeymoons, and even the suckling babies were denied milk during this period of fasting. God honored their humble response to his judgment and sent them his latter rains.
The Judean farmers depended on two rainy seasons to avoid crop failure. The autumn rains would germinate their seeds and the “Latter Rain”, or “Spring Rain”, would produce the harvest. Without the latter rain, the harvest would be minimal and the germinated seed would die.
Although the locust had destroyed everything above ground, the latter rain on what had not germinated was critical to their future survival. The outpouring of the latter rains restored all that the insects had destroyed. Their absolute praying and fasting moved God to release the latter rain for an abundant harvest. Their latter ended up being greater than the rest!
The Judeans’ circumstances were agricultural, but Joel gives us prophetic insight into how latter rain falls upon us in the spiritual realm. He said, “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days” (Joel 2:28-29).
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (Acts chapter 2) was the initial beginning of the latter rain that proceeded the harvesting of the earth. The latter rain occurred after the Church met in the Upper Room for ten days of fasting and prayer. When the Holy Spirit was poured out (i.e. the latter rain fell), the Church began its work of evangelism. The work of the church is referred to as a harvest. Jesus had prayed beforehand that the Father would send laborers into the fields.
Beginning today, Mt. Pleasant has proclaimed a period of 21 days of fasting and assembly for prayer. This is one of the most important fasts that has been proclaimed in our history. We are in anticipation of God sending us a great harvest, personally and corporately. Prayer and fasting moves the hand of God.
Our Year of Jubilee is not a calendar year, but a season that covers 2012 and 2013. It is also an interesting fact that our Year of Jubilee aligns with the 150th year of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, which began the release of slaves. We have received the former rains and now it is time to receive the latter rain. This outpouring of the Holy Spirit (our latter rain) in our Year of Jubilee will bring a harvest like we have never seen before. I expect “localized flooding”. God can and will restore the years that the locust, cankerworm, caterpillar, and the palmerworm have eaten. Despite all that has been done, the best is yet to come, and our latter will be greater than the rest. All things are possible.
Our sanctuary will be open daily for prayer and our prayer line will be available for those that cannot assemble at the church. We will primarily focus on only one thing this first seven days. As the Judeans did several thousand years ago, our focus will be, LORD, SEND THE LATTER RAIN. Please read and memorize the scriptural passage below and stand on this word throughout this period of prayer and fasting. Are you preparing for the rain?
Acts 2:16-18 “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.”