It is late January. This year has been the most January-like January we have experienced in a long time. Extended bitter cold and snow marked the month. The forecast holds promise of warmer days to come. The extreme cold has us longing for warmer days.
In winter, I miss my garden. There is little I enjoy more than getting my hands in the dirt. As I ponder the gardening experience, I realize something about me. Harvest has its rewards, and summer has its heat. It is spring I enjoy the most. I love the prep: tilling, fertilizing, spreading compost and manure, laying out the plants, placing seeds and seedling in the soil, starting up the irrigation system and watching for sprouts.
The early labor does not guarantee a great crop. Drought and disease can impact a plant. Still, without that prep the plant stands little chance of health.
We are now in winter preparing a soul garden for our children and students. June is planting season. Every year that month is busy at SouthField. We are all hands in the soil as we plant seeds in the hearts of SouthField's next generation. The work does not guarantee a harvest, but without it, we can be sure there will be no fruit.
The student work trip to Green Lake and Day Camp for our kids are two of the most significant events of our year. In both fields we work the soil, and we watch the ground for sprouts.
Let's join together today. Get on your garden gloves, or go bare handed like I do, and work the soil with prayer. Let's pray for God's Sprit to do a powerful work in our kids.
Today's Prayer Focus
Let's pray for certain kinds of hearts, whether child or student. We are going to pray over the condition of the soil. (Matthew 13:1-23)
- Pray for the soil along the path. This is the hard, crusty path, resistant and rebellious. This is the soil that has already drawn early conclusions about God, and they are not positive. This is the kid who might be going through the motions of religion, or perhaps doesn't fake it at all. They look miserable every time they walk through the doors. Culture and the crowd are the birds picking away at the seed. Pray that the Spirit would work over the next several months to soften and enrich this soil.
- Pray for the soil that is shallow and rocky. Jesus said that this soil has a hard time receiving the Word because problems and persecution take a toll on the young sprout. Our kids face challenges unmatched by any generation, cultural challenges as well as ugly, personal pain and problems. Pray that this soul would receive some relief, especially for kids who are being robbed on innocence and joy by adults in their lives.
- Pray for the soil filled with thorns. In this soil, the seed gets choked out by both the worries of this life and the lure of wealth. Competition. False gods are being offered to our kids that diminish the importance of the true God. How many of our kids miss entire season at church to play a sport that will lead to nothing more than time on a field. Many idols are offered to our kids, and the seed has little room to grow.
- Finally, He speaks of good soil. Good means ready, ready to receive the Word with joy. That was me at seven years old. I was ready, but I needed a farmer to plant the seed. Pray that God would partner the right kid with the right adults. Pray that God would provide moments for the Gospel to be presented with clarity. Pray that students would not walk away without asking questions. Pray for a great harvest of souls who will grow to become famers themselves!