Over the course of the 15 years we’ve lived at our current address, we’ve lost about 6 or 7 trees off of our property. Some died due to disease, some to a couple of consecutive dry years, but the results have been the same: Our beautifully-treed property has some noticeable gaps!
My youngest son spent the entire summer working for a tree nursery in Alberta, Canada, and the last time he was home, he found about 30-40 saplings of a variety of sorts growing in what I thought was simply a “weed patch”. The day before he had to fly back to Alberta, he carefully transplanted 17 of those seedlings to various places around our property, and left me with specific instructions to give each of them a half-pail of water daily. I did. Unfortunately, a heat wave hit our neighbourhood the following week, and by the time the temperatures finally began to drop again, we only had one sapling that looked like it would make it.
My son said to stop watering the dead saplings, but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to do that. What if, by some small chance, there was still life in those blackened trunks and dead, brown leaves? And so I continued faithfully dumping a half a pail of water on each sapling.
Imagine my joy to discover, just yesterday, that there are tiny signs of life on every one of those saplings? For some, it’s just a greening of the trunk. For others, it is new leaf buds. But for the majority of those trees, there are definitely new leaves sprouting.
I’m so glad I never gave up on those saplings!
This all reminds me of prayer. So often we pray about something once. Maybe twice. Or maybe even we fervently pray for a week, a month, even a year. But nothing happens. It is so human to give up praying to “accept” that God hasn’t chosen to answer our prayer.
What if I had stopped watering those saplings? I would now have 16 dead saplings on my property. But I didn’t give up, and as a result, I now have 17 new trees.
It is the same with prayer. If we stop praying, we stop “watering” the problems with “living water”. What would happen if we just continue on? Perhaps, just perhaps, we will at some point begin to see new life in our “dead” situations! Maybe we will begin to see salvation for our lost family members! Maybe we will stop suffering from so many illnesses! Maybe…
Aren’t we told to “constantly pray” (1 Thess 5:17)?
Aren’t we told to keep on praying about our situations and to never stop? Remember the story of the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8)? “And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unrighteous judge says! Won’t God give justice to his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he delay long to help them? I tell you, he will give them justice speedily.'” (Luke 18:6-8)
Remember the persistence of the Syrophoenician woman whose daughter was possessed by a demon (Matt 15:21-28)? After pestering Jesus, didn’t Jesus say to her, “Woman, your faith is great! Let what you want be done for you” (Matt 15:28a)? Aren’t we then told, “And her daughter was healed from that hour” (Matt 15:28B)?
I don’t know what it is that seems “dead” in your lives, but whatever it is, never stop applying the “living water” of prayer. You never know when you go out to inspect that area of your life, when you will find signs of new life in your situation. Never stop praying!
Anybody want about 30 more saplings? They are living out in my patch of weeds as I type!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.