Preparing Heart-Soil in Prayer

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“We should plant a garden!”

You would think a farmer’s daughter would grasp the magnitude of her suggestion, but somehow, I remained oblivious until midway through that summer of 1986. 

Our expansive backyard had no shade but plenty of weeds. Digging it up and starting over seemed a prerequisite. Mark rented a tiller and began the backbreaking job of turning over the packed Texas earth. After a few attempts, he realized that a good soak was needed to help penetrate the soil.

Day two, as the teeth of the Rotortiller dug into the soil, we discovered quite a few rocks in our “garden.” Having no wheelbarrow, we simply picked them up and carried them to the alley. Mark took care of the larger ones, and I managed the smaller ones in a tin bucket.

Looking back, we should have also hauled off the upturned grass and weeds. But in our inexperience, we assumed that the root system was ruined and left it to decompose for “fertilizer.”

Although we did end up with a nice stand of vegetables, we fought grass, weeds, and bugs all summer. I am thankful for the experience, for gardening teaches me how to pray. Whether I am interceding for myself or a specific individual, these four stages help direct my requests. Each step illustrates how the Father prepares heart-soil for the grain of His Truth (Luke 8:5,11). My part is the persistent work of prayer. 

“Water _______’s heart-soil, Father, to prepare it for the seed of Your Word.”

Just as Mark irrigated our soil, the Father must soften a hard heart in preparation for His Truth (Psalm 65:10). Invite him to soak the soul with His Word through multiple means.

“Till their heart-soil for depth to persevere.”

So many hearts have been packed, beaten, and trampled down. Like soil beside a road, it’s no wonder that their lives bear nothing of real value. Ask the Father to overturn their past and soften their hearts to cultivate Truth (Luke 8:5,12).  

“Cleanse their heart from anything that chokes or snatches away Truth.”

Boulders of bitterness may need to be removed (Luke 8:6,13). Roots of worry or greed may need to be carried away (Luke 8:7,14). Pray specifically for any past hurts of which you are aware. And remember that He is well able to unearth these issues without your verbal help. Better to err on the side of silence than on the side of gossip. 

“Grant them fertile soil that bears fruit.”

Whatever the Father touches or speaks is good (Genesis 1:31). He is all about fruitfulness (Genesis 1:28-29). Diligently continue your prayers over the hardened heart until they can bear the fruit of the Spirit — fruit that can last (Galatians 5:22-23; John 15:16). 

As you intercede, expand your influence to include praying each of these steps for our country as well. God likes a large garden. Extend your understanding of His vision.