Planting Prayers

Many Christian friends have shared how they employ the concept of Prayer Walking, where they pray and meditate as they stroll down a quiet nature trail or country road. Not farmers and ranchers. If we’re walking down a path, it’s usually on our way to get another chore done. Feeding, cleaning, repairing, etc., our days are usually one task after another. As we’re moving, our minds are most often focused on the next task. Most of my praying, contemplating, and meditating happens in the in-between. That’s when I take a break and relax in God’s beauty and nature surrounding me.

With the severe drought of this past year (since September 2021), my summer forage planting of perennial drought-tolerant Bermuda grass died not long after coming up beautifully. Having lost a significant investment, I was not planning to plant winter forage this year, opting to skip a year and get by with what grass we have. When hay topped $100/bale, I knew we were in for a very long winter. I had to feed hay starting in July, five months earlier than normal. Given I harvested less than 60 percent of what I usually get each year, a costly winter was ahead. As the months passed with little or no rain, I knew all the crops would have a poor yield. All I knew to do was trust God.

As August ended, the rains started. Not a lot, but we received more rain in one afternoon thunderstorm than we had gotten all summer. Suddenly, there was a ray of hope. Dry weeks continued through September, and I felt it dashed any chance of getting a winter planting for forage. With wheat seat more than quadrupling in price, I knew my last best chance was for more rain to get some soil moisture back. If God would only provide a few more inches, then I could plant ryegrass.

By mid-October, we had gotten a few showers, but I did not yet feel confident I could work the soil. The ground remained so hard that my heavy disc could only score the surface and not dig into and till the soil properly. More water was needed. With just under three inches of rain the last week of October, there was a chance.

Doing the Ground Work

Before I purchased seed, I had to satisfy myself by knowing there was at least a 50 percent chance that the ryegrass seed would germinate and sprout. For that to happen, I had to find enough moisture in the soil to prepare a proper seedbed. Able to push a shovel blade into the ground the previous day gave me some hope. The next morning, I found myself praying as I awoke. The day of decision had come. I could wait no longer and if I was going to see any harvest of usable forage during the winter months, I had to plant now. Rigging the disc after breakfast, I began to move into the west pasture. Lowering the disc, I prayed out loud.

Lord, this has to work. You know we don’t have enough hay
to last the winter, and You know I don’t have the money to
buy more. Please let there be enough moisture to get a good stand.

With my stock pond over six feet below normal, 35 percent inflation in feed costs, and hay 300 percent higher because of the drought, things are bleak. A bale of hay that was $35 last year, if available, is selling for up to $120 this year. Most farmers and ranchers cannot pay these prices. Having sold all the livestock except my bull and the proven root stock, the only option left was prayer. My faith reassured me that if our Cross-Dubya ranch remains aligned with God’s will, then He will see us through this difficult season.

Farmers and ranchers know that prayer is the most important ingredient when planting. #FaithWins #CrossDubya Click To Tweet

As the tractor began moving, the disc sank into the ground. It wasn’t long before I needed to grab a lower gear. A smile came across my face as I turned to see the disc easily loosening the top four inches of soil. Looking beyond my disc, I could see that soil moisture was at least that deep and hope gave way to victory. The pasture tilled better than I’ve seen it in the nine years we’ve been here. The results thrilled me. As Mr. John began going over the freshly tilled pasture with the drag harrow, I left to pick up seed and ready the next implement. The drag harrow’s tines break up the larger dirt clods tilled up by the disc, resulting in a smooth, level seedbed.

With expected hard rains arriving the next day, time was of the essence as we worked to accomplish the task together. I felt led to broadcast the seed and let the rains work them into the soil. This not only saved fuel, but time. The importance of loosening the soil and preparing a good seedbed is that, as the seed germinates, it won’t have to struggle to develop its root system below the ground. As I thought about that, I realized how important it is that Christians till the soil of their hearts now and again. Doing so helps control the weeds that crop up in our lives and provides a fertile planting ground for God’s Word.

Planting Seeds of Faith

Setting all the levers to the desired broadcast rate, about 35 lbs. of seed per acre, I began filling the bin to start planting. God had other plans. As we were emptying sacks of seed into the spreader, the size of the seed distracted me. To give you a comparison, there are approximately 100,000 yellow mustard seeds (Matthew 17:20) per pound. A pound of ryegrass contains approximately 227,000 seeds. My back-of-the-envelope calculation said that in the west pasture alone, I would plant over 170 million seeds. I thought, boy does that require a lot of faith, Lord.

Immediately, 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 came to mind. As Paul wrote: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.” God reminded my soul that He is the Lord of the harvest (Matthew 9:38).

Humbled, my heart changed from let’s get this done to my harvest is so much more than winter forage for Your glory, Lord. I thought about all the harvests God brings in my life each day. The love I receive from family. The income received resulting from my labor. I receive an endless stream of blessings, ranging from encouragement to physical safety daily. I realized how the Lord of the harvest is bringing forth fruit in my life each day that I follow His path.

As Christians, our job is to sow the seeds of faith. God brings the harvest. One day soon, we will see the fruits of our labor. #WhiteFields #SowingAndReaping Click To Tweet

We Plant Every Day

With a mindset of praise, I began slinging the seed out across the pasture. Turning to ensure all was working properly, I watched hundreds of seeds flying in every direction. Driving along, I found myself Prayer Planting. If my friends can take a prayer walk, I reasoned I could prayer plant. I thought to myself, with each seed goes a prayer. Besides praying that God would bless each seed being planted with growth, I found myself immersed in a mixture of praise and petition.

There were moments of praise for all that God has done, is doing, and will do in my life. I also found myself with tears flowing as I poured my heart out to Him for friends and loved ones. Each day, prayer requests assail us for a myriad of problems that beset this worldly existence. Health issues, financial strains, social and cultural changes, and the challenges or spiritual battles we face each day leaves many of us physically exhausted and spiritually drained.

As I prayed for my family and friends, I received a wonderful heart hug from God that reassures me He is listening, and He is with me. When overwhelmed with God’s presence in your life, the world melts away as His embrace immerses you in His love. My Prayer Planting bombarded heaven with millions of seeds of faith that I pray God will bring to harvest in His time.

As I was working across my field, God reminded me that we plant seeds of faith in others’ lives each day. We do so through our faithful service to Him. #PlantingSeedsOfFaith Click To Tweet

As the rains fell the next day, God since blessed us with a mixture of foggy mornings and high humidity (adding moisture to the pastures). He’s also brought several sunny days, fostering good germination. What harvest will God bring to my winter forage planting? Only God knows. The harvest of gratitude and longing to grow closer to Him will, I pray, bring an even greater harvest for His kingdom.

While some of you may not till and plant vast fields and pastures, let’s remind ourselves of the real harvest. It is found in the fields of humanity that God has already planted and prepared for us. Let us consider Jesus’ words in Matthew 9:35-38.

God’s blessings,

Signature

 

I want to extend my congratulations to Mrs. Edwina Cowgill for winning the author-signed copy of Hidden Manna on a Country Road, by Ms. Sarah Geringer, in last week’s post. I’ll be shipping that to her this week. A special thank you to everyone who regularly reads, comments, and shares my blog posts. I am overwhelmed by your kindness and encouragement for my writing.

 

Please join me this Thursday evening at 9:30 Eastern as host Coach Mark Prasek and I take a trip Around the Cross-Dubya on PJNET TV. We discuss this week’s blog post, offer insight about the lessons learned, and enjoy the fellowship of friends in the live chat room.

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58 thoughts on “Planting Prayers

  1. J.D., this is a beautiful and powerful reminder to us all – to plant seeds wherever we go and then pray, pray, pray for them to take. Friend, you are so much more than a rancher. I thank God for your tender heart and for the lessons you and Mr. John continue to teach us through the words you share. Praying for the Lord to bring a harvest greater than your expectations!

  2. Amen. J.D., your messages always remind me to thank God for His provisions. Prayer is the open door to communication and relationship with the Father. I am thankful to be able to pray to Him in all circumstances. He is listening. Have a blessed day! 🙂

  3. Even though most of us are not making decisions like yours, each day we must decide whether to nurture a grateful spirit. Some days it’s tough, even though we know the Scriptures and have plenty of evidence that we’ve been cared for in the past. So much enters into that choice each morning, and you’ve given us such a clear picture of your thought process, J.D. Thanks for being a role model!

    1. Yes ma’am. I sometimes think that prayer is like a catalyst for the seeds we sow in faith. It’s like adding fertilizer to those tender young sprouts that enables them to plant vigorous roots deeper into the soil. You paint wonderful word pictures ma’am.

  4. Wow JD, things are getting rough for farmers, especially. May the Lord lead and guide you through these difficult times. He is our help jn times of trouble. There is a time and season for everything. You’ve planted. Now let’s pray you’ll have a rich harvest time!!

    1. Gracie mille Sra. Sheila. Times are getting “tough” for everyone I think my friend. I pray daily that God can use me in some small way to help others come to depend upon Him more in their lives. Thank you ma’am.

  5. Praying for your harvest my friend.

    I love doing pray walks especially when I’m on the mission field. It allows God to hug the entire area as only He can. And we are all blessed as we watch Him grow the harvest of souls. Thanks for sharing

    1. I love that thought of touring with God around where you are working. Never thought about it, but I do find myself talking to Him in lots of places around the ranch. I think that’s what He wants us to do, isn’t it? To recognize that He is in our everywhere. Great thoughts Ms. Yvonne. Thank you.

  6. I love the way you highlight how some things never change. Some pictures never fade, some lessons never get old, and some truths endure through every cultural convulsion that comes along. Thank you for doing that again, my friend–especially on a morning when things didn’t turn out like we expected. Your reminder that there are lots of vital things that we have no personal control over, like the weather, the economy, and the availability of resources we used to be able count on. More years have passed than I care to recount since I had anything to do with pulling a disc, but you made what it felt like and what it meant as fresh as if it was yesterday and put it in a spiritual frame I needed to see today. I also loved the reminder that life is a process of moving from one task to another, and that we can, and must, be engaged in sowing “seeds” in the midst of our daily chores and routines.

    Many of us prayed for you and your neighbors as you endured the awful drought last summer, and we continue those prayers as you face in today’s daunting economic challenges. We rejoice with you in the encouraging testimony that God came through with just enough to keep you going. What an encouragement to know that He provided what you needed to endure until things began to change. We’re in the midst of a spiritual and moral drought in this country and many, no doubt, were trusting that the redeeming moisture we need would be coming through a political downpour. That was obviously not God’s plan, but He will come through in His own way and His own time. Meanwhile, He’ll give those of us who trust Him what we need to hang on until conditions change. May God bless you for scattering seeds that travel so far from the Cross-Dubya. Diane and I love the harvest those seeds are producing all the way to Middle Tennessee.

    1. I can see you in my minds eye now Mr. Ron. Patiently lifting the disc as you make turning rows. Side-sitting the seat to make sure you have good overlap and everything is tracking. Can you smell that freshly turned soil my friend? Is there anything better? You make a great point sir; there are a great many things that we cannot control. It is in understanding this that we come to recognize that the only real thing we can control is ourselves. How we react to disappointing results, continuing discourse and ever-increasing debauchery as we watch this world around us implode. We can only rely upon our faith and the enduring truth of God’s Word. His promises remind us that the end-game is Him. The board is His. And every move made upon it is allowed and controlled by Him. I look most forward to that final move and I pray daily for my ability to endure to that end. And yes, He is a just enough, just-in-time God isn’t He my friend? We would all do well to remember that He supplies all we need. Always appreciate your encouraging words sir. You make me always want to try harder. 🙂 Thank you!

  7. Thank you, J. D., for reminding us that we are all God’s farmers and ranchers, spreading the seeds of His kingdom with every interaction we may have with others. I love the idea of prayer planting, too. We have been so endlessly blessed in our lives, and we should be mindful of those blessings with every breath we take.
    Blessings, my friend, and may you have a bountiful winter crop!

    1. Indeed we are Ms. Martha. Some of us, like you, sow into your families with loving care. Others, sow across the globe in far-off missions fields (how scary that must be), and others sow across the vast blogosphere of the Internet. Wherever our mission field, I pray we all continue to sow much and reap a great reward for His kingdom. God’s blessings ma’am.

  8. Love the idea of planting prayers as you scattered your seeds. I’m so inspired by your faith walk and the way you perceive God’s truths through your daily chores. It’s been a hard season or two for you, and yet you remain thankful because you are firmly rooted in your faith.

    Continued prayers for you and the Cross W!

    1. Thank you Ms. Candyce. I think the crucible of trials we face is what tempers our faith and makes us stronger my friend. We don’t necessarily like having to keep being put back into that furnace, but it’s in knowing that we grow stronger with each trial we endure and learn from that keeps us coming back for more I think. God’s blessings gentle lady.

  9. I appreciated this entire post so much, but my favorite statement is: “When overwhelmed with God’s presence in your life, the world melts away as His embrace immerses you in His love.” Amen! Thank you for expressing the message God gave you so all of us can benefit.

    1. Aren’t those moments the absolute best Ms. Emily? When we fall exhausted into God’s arms. As He holds us and tenderly wipes our brow, we can feel His indwelling presence filling us up from our core. Yes! We will rise to fight the next battle Lord, the victory is already won! 😀

  10. What perfect timing God has! Not only in your planting and reaping but also in your posts! We received news today, that actually we were expecting, yet, I couldn’t help but be disappointed. As I read your post, I knew that what we were expecting was not God’s best for us–He has something much better. I believe you will have an abundant crop!

  11. As I was reading your message, I felt the nudge of our Father saying, “See, hear, and listen–this rancher is figuring out who is in control–what about you, farmer girl?” Your message touched me deeply, my friend, a much needed reminder that I need to fully trust our Father in all things. Thank you, sir.

    1. Humbled sweet friend. I think back upon the various trials you have faced in these past few years, and I am emboldened to see the strong, vibrant Christian woman who has emerged from these trials (some much more difficult than I have yet faced) and I am encouraged by your steadfast faith and willingness to stand strong as a Warrior for Christ my friend. Thank you for being the shining light of encouragement to so many of us. God’s blessings.

    1. Thank you Ms. Barbara. Believe it or not, we’re already starting to see the grasses emerge, and more rain is coming in the next few days. We’re not out of the drought by a long way, but God keeps steadfastly reminding us that He has not forsaken or forgotten us. There’s a reason we live in God’s country.

    1. Aww… thank you Ms. Barbara. I pray to one day get to share the Cross-Dubya with you and your husband as you come for a visit one day. I can see that motorcycle coming down our long gravel drive now. 🙂 God’s blessings ma’am.

  12. “I realized how important it is that Christians till the soil of their hearts now and again. Doing so helps control the weeds that crop up in our lives and provides a fertile planting ground for God’s Word …
    And with each seed, a prayer. ”
    Prayer is everything, my friend. Thank you for sharing the reality of how hard your daily tasks are and how it leads you to a deeper faith in the Lord of the harvest.

    1. How very kind. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment Ms. Mary. It means the world to know that I can share this life of faith with so many who do the very same with me. What a blessing!

  13. Enjoyed your words as always, J.D. Your spiritual insight when it comes to analogies on the ranch are so inspirational. I’m thankful for your rain and hopes of harvest. And I pray to the Lord of the harvest of men and women’s souls to use me wherever He desires.

  14. Once again you paint a beautiful picture showing us your perseverance in daily tasks with application of messages of motivation and encouragement. The first to remind us to continue to plant and water in obedience. The second to remind us God gives the increase -not us-and not to be discouraged- just faithful. Thank you.

  15. As you share the testimony of your challenges, you’re sharing God’s blessings with all of us. I learn so much from your ranching/farming descriptions. Praying for the Lord’s provision and a good harvest.

    1. Thank you Ms. Dottie. As I was writing this, I couldn’t help but think of all the toil and effort you put into your beautiful gardens around your home ma’am. I pictured you talking with God and praying over each seed or plant as you worked. Love that big floppy hat you wear. 🙂

  16. Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Beautiful! Warmed my heart this morning as I’m sitting in quiet time praying and reflecting! Love and miss you, Uncle Jim, Auntie Di, and all your blessed ones at the ranch!
    Love, hugs, and prayers!
    Kim

  17. I’ve never been much of a gardener, much less a farmer, J.D., but with what little I’ve done, I’m always impressed with how the job of production of food must be faith-filled. As you expressed, you’re acutely unable to control most of the elements of production. You plant and hope and pray. Your experience gives you unique insight. I’m grateful you shared.

    1. I suspect you’ve planted a great many seeds in your lifetime Ms. Annie. Seeds of faith my sweet friend. Oh, the harvest to be revealed one day from your faithful service ma’am. God’s blessings.

  18. Thanks for another inspirational message to help us grow in our faith! I love the idea of prayer planting! My great-grandfather was also a cattle farmer in Ky as well as a tobacco grower. He prayed all the time, like you, and his farm was the most beautiful and blessed with bounty in all the county. Prayer changes things, and it changes us! May the Lord bless your work and bring you the harvest you and your animals need. I’ll be in continual prayer for rain and for you to walk in God’s reassurance and peace. Blessings, brother JD.

    1. I think most farmers and ranchers do Ms. Karen. The “smart ones” recognize that there is very little we can control, but we can be faithful to pray and labor. The rest, as they say, is up to God. I sometimes think that is why when we were a more agrarian people, we seemed much closer to God; it’s because we know we have to rely upon Him. God’s blessings ma’am.

    1. So very true Ms. Nancy. Often, we think of sowing as solely a “good thing”. In reality, many most likely sow bad seeds (or seed upon bad ground) more than good. I think of the Parable of the Sower (Mattew 13:1-23) and how it applies to my life daily.

  19. There are so many things I love about this post! Prayer walking, prayer planting, trusting and praising along the way.
    I join you in praising God for the harvest and look forward to reading about it in a future post, and seeing pictures.
    Thank you for inspiration.
    God bless you abundantly, my friend.

    1. Thank you Ms. Connie. You and your Mr. Guy have walked that west pasture, so I know you understand better than most. I too stand in faith, praying and believing that He will bring the increase His cattle need. God’s blessings ma’am.

  20. Prayer planting, prayer walking. I used to do prayer pipeting! As I sat under a biological hood at work and used a pipet to mix or transfer cells, nutrients, or media, I would often pray. I am often humored at how my prayers are lifted up at the most unexpected times, but God is always ready to receive.
    I enjoy learning not only about your techniques and vast farming/ranching methods but how your brain works and checks in with your heart to get a spiritual read. Thanks for sharing and excuse my tardy response.

    1. “Prayer pipeting”, I love it! I sometimes forget you were a scientist in your professional life. I always think of you as a wonderfully talented organist, beautiful and loving wife to my friend (who I pray I’ll get to meet one day this side of heaven) Mr. Parky, and a devoted daughter. I’m with you in how God must be humored at some of the places and predicaments He finds us in when we pray. Thank you for all your encouraging words sweet friend.

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