Is there someone in your life you are praying for – praying they will know God and surrender to Jesus? I have a few friends and family members on my prayer list that I lift up continuously to the Lord. He is our great Harvester but as He says in Luke 10:2,
We don’t know who is on God’s list of the “elect” so it’s our job as His field workers to get on our knees and pray for those around us. For when we pray, we are then opening ourselves up to direction from the Almighty. It’s one thing to pray for ourselves – our sins, our hurts, and our needs – but those of us who have offered up ourselves to God are already saved. Our eternal place in heaven’s field of flowers is set. So, when we plead with God for those we love, it brings about something new.
When you Google the words “Harvest Celebration” you get to the Wikipedia page, “Harvest Festival.” It says, “Ample food and freedom from the necessity to work in the fields are two central features of harvest festivals: eating, merriment, games, music and romance are common features around the world.” Just think how much grander the harvest festival is in the spiritual world! God celebrates each time a new seed is planted, nurtured and brought into His ample basket. And, as His field workers we are called to play small parts in each of those steps.
I chose this topic today to send up praise of thanksgiving to our God who loves us bountifully. He answers our prayers fully that reflect His will. Here’s how I know this. This answered prayer starts with a reflection on my family. My mother is the daughter of a Baptist minister. She has a tenuous relationship with God, at best. Unfortunately, there weren’t field workers willing to nurture her through questions and feelings of mistrust. She saw Christians show up to church each week and act devout then leave the church doors and sin. My father is an atheist. He had no upbringing in the church and no friends who shared their faith. What little exposure they’ve had to God was through my mother’s sister who had many mental and family issues. In spite of this, I always believed in God. I had a friend that I occasionally attended church with but the majority of the people around me never spoke of their faith – if they had any. I married into a devout Presbyterian family. Boy, were they worried about me! Funny enough, my own parents were concerned when I told them I was going to church. Fast forward to the last few years. My parents and I never talk about my beliefs. I don’t hide them. But we just have not had another conversation centered around faith since I announced I was attending church. I asked a pastor once when I should just give up on some people – like my parents. He said, “Oh, you never give up! Just like God never gives up on you!” And so, as I have surrendered my life over to Christ, I’ve started praying more for others.
After watching the amazing movie, War Room, I set up a prayer area. On my wall I have cards filled with prayers for other people. One of those is for my parents:
“Lord, you are the only one who can break the bonds holding my parents down. With all your heavenly might break the tall and strong walls they have built around their hearts and minds. Lord, grab a hold of them and pull them from the fire!”
I’ve been praying this prayer now for about a month. The other day I added to the prayer, “Show me what part, even the smallest part, I need to do to help you accomplish this.” That very afternoon I stopped by their house to check in on them. My dad started talking about a book series he’s reading called, “The Saxon Series.” It’s an historical drama set in England. He shared that he had never understood what the “Holy Ghost” was or how the trinity worked until he read these books. Apparently, there’s a character in the book who refers to Jesus as “the nailed God” and priest who refers to the trinity as, “Father, Son and the other guy.” What ensued was a conversation about the role of the divine in each part of the trinity. I shared how when Jesus was crucified, he let the disciples know that another would come in his place to be with us always – the Holy Spirit. We talked about how much of the New Testament is written to churches who were either going astray or who needed support due to persecution. We also talked about the roles in the Old Testament of pagan gods versus The Almighty God. It. Was. Amazing.
Here’s the thing, I had written off my father as someone who would never come to know Jesus because he is an atheist. I thought my mom would possibly come around because of her faith background. But it was my father with whom I was having this conversation!
When I left the house I was stunned. I praised God for answered prayers. And, I thanked God for this: I was prepared. If this conversation had come up five or ten years ago, I would not have been able to speak so confidently and easily about these topics. God was preparing me for that day, that moment. I know the salvation of my parents is not my responsibility. I was just the field hand, who had been on my knees praying and pleading for God to help them. And if I needed to play some small role, I was ready to do the work. I will keep praying for them until either the day of their passing or the day of their surrender.
We can never know the hour God will gift us with answered prayers. Just like I really have no idea when my green tomatoes will finally turn red and be ready for harvest. Until then I get my knees dirty working in His name.