Luke 18:1-8, Luke 5:16, Mark 1:35
It’s spring time, the season when most everyone in my subdivision emerges from their winter hibernation to start working on their yards. Personally, I enjoy gardening or rather I enjoy aspects of gardening. When we lived in apartments I used to dream of all the things I would grow once we had our own yard. Once we did have our own yard I discovered that Tennessee doesn’t have nice black topsoil like I’d imagined but instead was hard clay. I never imagined that digging would be such a back-breaker! I don’t really enjoy that aspect of gardening- imagine that!
Thankfully most of the things I planted last year survived the winter. Snapdragons, Dianthus and a silver plant that the name escapes me, along with a lot of things that the builder planted. The thing I added this year was ranunculus. I wanted to add something to the mound around our silver maple tree. In researching them I found out that you can only get them by planting root systems that had been dug up and dried beforehand since they won’t survive Tennessee’s winter. So, I found a box of roots at the store and planted them around the tree. Then I watered…and watered…and watered. It looked like I was watering nothing and I felt a little embarrassed as my neighbors walked by and waved at the crazy lady watering the dirt & mulch.
As I stood in our yard contemplating how silly I looked, I thought about the dry, crunchy root systems I’d planted in the ground. They certainly didn’t look like anything I should plant. They looked like something I should throw away or put in a compost pile. Then I thought about prayer and how sometimes circumstances in our lives, in the lives of people we love or in the world around us can look pretty bleak but that prayer is the water that brings those things to life & it’s the work that breaks up hard places like digging breaks up Tennessee clay.
A little over two years ago our family traveled to Florida to be with our oldest daughter when she got married. We stayed with Travis’ parents and I had what would be my last face-to-face conversation with my mother-in-law. She shared her heartbreak over the state of the lives of people that she was close to but her hope & faith that God would bring them to repentance and change their lives. During that conversation we agreed to take one day a week to pray for those family members, believing that our prayers would change things. And do you know what happened? We saw things change…
We saw God bring life when things looked hopeless.
The lives of people are changed when believers pray. Jesus taught us through parables and by example how important prayer is. He also taught us the importance of praying continually.
Luke 18:1-8 New Living Translation
One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. 2 “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. 3 A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ 4 The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, 5 but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’”
6 Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. 7 Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?”
It’s wonderful when I pray for something and the answer comes immediately. It’s a great faith builder and encouragement. It doesn’t always happen that way though. Jesus’ encouragement here is to pray and keep on praying. There are people that I know and love that need me to pray for them and to keep on praying. Our nation needs for me to pray and keep on praying. Our world needs for me to pray and keep on praying.
If there are hard places in your life or in the lives of people you love I encourage you to pray and keep on praying.