Prayer: Faith, Mustard Seeds, & Mountains

Prayer: Sowing Seeds 

Prayer with Seeds of Faith Studio 1-37Earlier this spring my prayer for growing my own vegetables was graciously answered when my mother gave me some tomato plants that she grew from seed. I have carefully nurtured the seedlings watching them continue to grow into rather large and lush plants. They are now blooming and I look forward to them producing fruit for I have big dreams for these tomatoes.

I usually don’t have the patience for seeds and normally find myself at this time of year at the local garden center seeking vegetable plants; skipping the whole seed process and just getting on to the good stuff. But over the years it seems that this is not always the best plan of action. When I don’t plant the seed or know who did, I really don’t know exactly what kind of seed it is or have any control over its treatment between the time of the sowing and purchase. In the past my pre-grown potted vegetables from the garden center have not produced the way I expected and usually I determine that the money spent on purchasing the plants coupled with the time to water, weed, and other nurturing necessitates do not pay for themselves. In fact, most seasons I lose money as the bounty of my home-grown measly crops equal less than a quarter of the bounty that purchasing from a farmer would afford. This year though my excitement abounds because the plants that my mother grew from seeds really look good and have much promise. My enthusiasm has extended and made me want to grow more vegetables.

Earlier this week I found myself with some time to kill while I waited for my daughter so I decided to wander through the local garden center. As I milled around I came across the brightly colored and full of promise seed display and began to remember fondly the old hardware store where my father purchased seeds for my family’s garden. Planting seeds can be exciting but they have to be accompanied with a lot of trust.

Growing up as a child and going to the hardware store with my father to choose the seeds for the vegetable garden that year was an annual event. The store had a wooden floor and a musty pleasant smell of old wood, earth, tools, and good hardworking people. The seeds came in big tin bins with casted metal scoops to lift them out with. Customers could choose their seeds from the illustrated pictures on the outside of the bins or just tell Mr. Morgan what they wanted. As a child I liked to run my small hands down in the bins and let the seeds filter through my fingers as I gazed at the pretty pictures that held the hope of good things to come. My father went to the store with purpose and knowledge of what he was going to plant. Simple names like crook neck squash, ford hook lima beans, half runner beans, and silver queen corn would be placed into small brown paper bags, weighed, and the name scrawled on the front in pencil, of course. We would then head home to plant the seeds in the furrows left behind the plow.

Planting the seeds was a much favored chore of mine mostly because of the ability to play in the dirt. The tractor would make large peaks and valleys as the plow ran across the earth leaving the richest and loosest of soil. It was the only time of year you could prance through the garden in your bare feet and it not hurt. It was fun to allow the soil to filter up between your wiggling toes as you slowly trailed along the row carefully planting two seeds in each spot before moving to the next space to place the next two seeds. You planted two just in case the one didn’t come up and you never planted more than three unless you wanted a lecture about wasting seeds. I don’t ever remember all of seeds not coming up. It seemed like a waste of time to plant more than one, for when all the seeds came up they had to be thinned out so the plant would grow abundantly. Not only do I not remember all the seeds coming up I never the doubted the seeds ability to come up from the ground. You planted the seeds, they came up, the plants grew, and the vegetable or fruit produced. You didn’t skip the seed step and you didn’t doubt its ability. You always had faith that somehow the seeds would come up and there would be a plant.

All things in life begin with a seed including our prayers of seeded faith. Prayer seeds are humbly sent to God and then we must patiently wait for the fruit of the answers to appear. You can’t skip the first step of putting the seed of faith out to God. He must have something to work with and the seed we sow with prayer is what He uses to create the miracles of His purpose. No matter the size of the faith seed it will meet the need to solve problems that can be as large as mountains. As our faith seeds are diligently planted through time; our soil becomes rich and fertile so we no longer doubt that the fruit will produce, we just know that it will produce. God has promised that as long as the earth remains that the laws of seed-time and harvest, planting and reaping, and giving and receiving will not change. Jesus compared faith to seeds in Matthew 17:14 ”“ 20 and it is faith in God and prayer to Him that creates the abilities to be able to do great things for His purposes. Our faith, no matter how small, is where the power of God lies. It is to Christ that we must look to for more faith and not to the mountain that stands before us.

So why isn’t prayer used consistently and always our number one defense? A Sunday School teacher asked her class, ”Does God answer prayer?” ”Of course, yes, always,” were the quick and enthusiastic replies. ”Then why don’t we pray more frequently?” Asked the teacher. A long and uncomfortable silence filled the room. Finally excuses began to pour out, ”I’m busy, no time, God’s too busy to listen to me, I don’t know what to say, my prayers aren’t important enough, I don’t know how.”Â  Individual reasons may differ but the basis of the excuses are the same. We often do not fully appreciate the importance and power of prayer. It is however as critical and functional as the steering wheel or gas pedal on your car for without it we cannot go anywhere. We can’t use prayer like the spare tire in the trunk only pulling it out if we have to. Prayer is too powerful to use with a don’t call us, we will call you attitude. This week’s focus verse clearly allows that it is only with prayer that problems of magnitude resolve.

God expects us to pray and ask for help. It begins with planting a seed of faith. Whether we need help with a molehill or a mountain with the seed of faith we can humbly ask; seeking and knocking. Sometimes these faith seed answers are small but they must be recognized for where they come from to continue growing the seed of faith into a large plant.

Give credit to God for answered prayers even small ones. Patty-Jo was late for a job interview and as she pulled into the corporate office parking lot, there did not seem to be a parking space available. She quickly prayed, ”God help me find a parking spot.” A moment later she sees a spot and says, ”Never mind God, I found one myself.” Patty-Jo half-heartedly gave the seed of faith to God but then praised herself where she should have given the credit to the supernatural. As we recognize and praise God with gratitude for the blessings He gives us, even small ones like parking spaces, our seed bank grows. The power of God is only reached with true faith. It is prayer that solves the difficult situations in life and it is through prayer that our faith in life unlocks allowing abundant growth. The seeds of faith sown through prayer shows God that we rely upon Him and not ourselves for solutions.

Planting seeds takes extra time and the harvest is not immediate. Just like the seeds of faith sown in prayer sometimes the harvest of answers is long in coming but with even the smallest of faith it is never doubted that the answer will come. The rest of my seed story ended like this; I left the garden center this week with eight packets of seeds. Seeds that I will plant and wait patiently upon the harvest for I know that if they, just like my faith seeds of prayer, are continually nurtured the bounty for the good will come in. Seeds of faith through prayers are always answered according to His will and purpose for the good that He wants for us. It takes patience and the willingness to continue to nurture the relationship of trust but the harvest of rewards is great.

Jesus replied, ”This kind can be cast out only by prayer.” Mark 9:29 (NLT)

Prayer: The Harvest 

If you expect an abundant harvest to come in you must begin with the original seed for it is quickly learned that skipping steps and making substitutes produces a lesser quality to no quality of harvest. Likewise, there is no substitute for prayer and certainly not in impossible mountains. It is with confidence that you must pray knowing that with faith nothing is impossible. (Luke 1:37) The seeds of faith begin with humbly coming before God and inviting Him to fill you with trust and power to overcome any mountains or mole hills that you may have in your path.

The seeds of faith principle found in the Bible has three keys.

  1. Recognize that God is the only source to meet your needs. (Philippians 4:19) He may use many tools and people such as gifts, jobs, doctors, family, and friends, to meet your needs but He alone is the original source and must be acknowledged.
  2. Give first, so that it may be given to you. (Luke 6:38) Planting your seed of faith with God allows Him to multiply it to meet your needs. You must give yourself completely to God showing your trust and thankfulness.
  3. Expect an answer by believing and receiving. (Mark 11:24). Planting your seed of faith through prayer gives you the confidence in knowing that He will answer with His purpose and will for the good of your life for believing in Him. He is in control of time and methods and it is imperative that when planting a seed of faith through prayer that patience is actively practiced in His presence.

When you pray you must remember that God loves you and wants what is best for you, that His wisdom knows what is best for you, and that it is only through His power that the best can be accomplished. Seeds of faith grow into lush and abundant harvests to be shared for His will and purpose, the adverse will only find death.

There is a story of the trusting and untrusting seed that illustrates life and death. Two seeds lay side by side in the fertile soil. The first seed said, ”I want to grow and so I will trust! I want to send my roots deep into the soil beneath me, and push my sprouts through the earth’s crust above me. I want to stretch my tender buds like banners to announce the arrival of spring, feel the warmth of the sun on my face, and the blessing of the morning dew on my petals!” And so she grew, flourished, lived.

The second seed began to hesitate and said, ”If I send my roots into the ground below, I don’t know what I will encounter in the dark. If I push my way through the hard soil above me I may damage my delicate sprouts. My buds could open and something might try to eat them. And if I were to open my blossoms, a small child may pull me from the ground. No, it is better for me to wait and see what will happen. I will wait until I can see for myself what is what. I need the proof to see first and to understand.” And so she waited. A yard hen scratching around in the early spring ground for food found the waiting seed and promptly ate it. The life of the non-trusting seed ended abruptly and permanently.

Won’t you be challenged to plant a seed of faith to overcome the obstacles in life and ultimately enjoy the freedom of peace. Depend upon God and not yourself being motivated to have the great confidence to know that God can solve the impossible mountains and even cares about the mild mole hills. Above all know that He loves you, cares for you, and ultimately with the seed of faith through the power of prayer will answer your concerns by causing all things to work together for your good as called for His purpose.

Love in Christ,

E.J.

PostScript

Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore, seek not to understand that thou mayest believe, but believe that thou mayest understand.

Augustine

Extra Study

Matthew 17:14 ”“ 20, Mark 11:24, Luke 1:37, Romans 8:28, Philippians 4:19

What are your thoughts? Join Us in Discussion

Do you plant seeds of faith through prayer every day? Have you seen God work out a mountain in your life? Have you experienced the solving of everyday mole hills? Join us in discussion on prayer with the faith of mustard seeds and mountains.

 

How God is working through your life?