Founder of the Ekballo Prayer Movement
Lou Engle is a revivalist, visionary and co-founder of TheCall solemn assemblies. For more than three decades, Lou's passion has been to call believers into radical consecration through prayer, fasting, and acts of justice. Lou has been involved in church planting, establishing prayer movements and strategic houses of prayer. He is the founder of the prolife ministry Bound4LIFE and the Ekballo prayer movement for unreached people groups.
THE STORY BEHIND THE EKBALLO PRAYER MOVEMENT
by Lou Engle
While reading the classic book “Rees Howells: Intercessor” I was suddenly arrested by the following paragraph that could, if it is true, light a fire of prayer that could shape the face of the whole earth and trigger the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“Then, while in Africa, he (Rees Howells) had been struck by Andrew Murray’s comment on the Savior’s word in Matthew 9:38, “Pray ye the Lord of the harvest that He will send forth laborers into His harvest.” Andrew Murray has pointed out on the strength of this verse, that the number of missionaries on the field depends entirely on the extent to which someone obeys that command and prays out the laborers; and the Lord had called Mr. Howells to do this.”
If this Scripture and Andrew Murray’s commentary on it is true and the church really understood its implications, then Matthew 9:38 would be on the fiery lips of millions of believers everyday worldwide. Jesus is very clear in Matthew 24:14 that he cannot return to the planet until every ethnic group has had a witness of the gospel of the kingdom. If we want Jesus to return, we must face this massive challenge; there are 7,000 unreached people groups in the earth today of whom 2.9 billion people have never heard the gospel. And if Andrew Murray is right, the only reason is that the church has not prayed the laborers into those fields. I am seriously asking myself and all those who read here this question…Have I merely taken Matthew 9:38 as a simple suggestion from the Master? And have I trivialized the main prayer request that Jesus Himself made of His disciples?
I write this message believing that an Earth-shaking revolution is about to take place because the Lord of the Harvest is breathing this prayer upon the Church of the earth. If the first apostles were commanded to pray this prayer before they were sent, how much more will the last Apostolic generation be required of Heaven to pray this prayer to bring forth the fulfillment of the task that “this gospel of the Kingdom must be preached as a witness to all ethnos (ethnic groups), and then the end shall come (Matthew 24:14)”?
Revelation 5:9 and Revelation 7:9 insist that every tribe and tongue will be around the throne worshipping the Lord, and that a multitude that no man can number will be saved out of the great tribulation. Friends, this is the end of the story line and we are beginning to read the final chapter that sets the stage for the return of Jesus to his throne in Jerusalem.
There are 7,000 ethnic groups, tribes, tongues, and peoples that are yet unreached with the Gospel. It is clear that around the throne there must be worship from every tribe and tongue.
Do you see this? The commission of the Master was, “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all nations (Gr. ethnos)” – every tribe and tongue. There are 2.9 billion people among these unreached and unengaged people groups. The church wants Jesus to return but until every ethnos is reached, He cannot come. If Andrew Murray’s comment is true then one of the most important prayers that can be prayed at the end of this age is “thrust forth laborers into the harvest field!”
I was traveling with the YWAM Circuit Rider movement as we met at the Orlando House of Prayer. There we met again to catch God’s prophetic purpose in this throbbing moment of history. There Brian Brennt told his story that while in California, he had been discussing these gatherings that would bring prayer and the thrusting of laborers together to bring forth the great awakening in America and this missions movement. He told the group of leaders that he didn’t know the name of these gatherings, when suddenly, Faytene Grasseschi blurted out in a spirit of prophecy, “The name of these gatherings is ‘Ekballo’!” Not knowing the significance of that word, we began to research the significance of the Greek word ”Ekballo”.
It is the word Jesus uses in Matthew 9:38, where He begs His disciples to “Pray the Lord of the Harvest to send forth (Gr. ekballo) laborers into the harvest field. “Ekballo” is not the normal term used for “send” as most of our translations have it. It is a spiritually violent word filled with passion and force. It is the same word that Jesus uses when he says, “If I by the finger of God, cast out (ekballo) demons, then the Kingdom of Heaven has come upon you (Luke 11:20).” The authority and the force of Jesus casting out demons is the same spiritual force and authority by which he thrust forth laborers. It is the word used when Jesus goes to confront Satan in the wilderness. The gospel of Mark says, “And the spirit drove (ekballo) him into the desert to be tempted by the devil.” It seems as if the power and the resistance of Satan and his evil spirits must be confronted by a greater forcefulness and empowerment. When Jesus ekballo’s demons, demons must go. When Jesus ekballo’s laborers, evangelists and missionaries have to go. Suddenly Matthew 9:38 became a fire in my bones and an end time war cry from heaven itself.
I’ve been privileged to help raise up prayer and fasting in stadiums across America. I’ve been privileged to raise up a half million people praying for the ending of abortion with my friend Matt Lockett from Bound4LIFE. But the hand of heaven has apprehended me: could God make me responsible for raising up a million voices worldwide who would daily pray, “Lord of the harvest, ekballo laborers by the thousands who will finish the task commanded by Jesus Himself, ‘and you should receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the utter most parts of the earth'”? The uttermost parts of the earth are the 7,000 unreached people groups and the 2.9 billion people who are all waiting for messengers for gospel of the kingdom. Those messengers will not be sent unless the church prays like it has never prayed before for the release of an ekballo movement that bring forth the fullness of the gentiles where every tongue and tribe is worshipping Jesus around His throne and then the end shall come.
We are seeking to drive a million saints to JoshuaProject.net to pray for the unreached people group of the day. Can you imagine a million people a day praying for laborers to go to the hardest and darkest places of the earth? This is not out of our reach; this is the very command of Christ, and should we not believe that in our generation, the task can be completed?
Will not the Lord of the harvest answer us and send laborers to the 7,000 people groups to challenge the hardest and darkest places of the earth where Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam have ruled?