To start today let’s look at what the Apostle Paul writes to the church in I Corinthians 3: 7-9:
“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.”
As leaders we have been working together to compile a list of people that we will intentionally take some time in our cell groups to pray for in the coming months. We have created 3 lists. one for the Men, Women, and Youth and your cell leader has that list in hand. As we begin this season of intentional prayer I would like to share about Planting, Watering, & Reaping.
Planting – Here in Missouri, we have begun the planting season. We see field after field being prepared for the planting that will eventually become the harvest. Without planting there will simply be no harvest. As we pray together, we are also preparing the field to receive the spiritual seed, which is the Word of God, that will eventually lead to a Kingdom harvest. In prayer, we will be working together to sow spiritual seed into spiritual ground. Our heart is to begin praying the Wod of God into the lives of every person that the Lord has laid upon our hearts. You may even have some other names and our intention was not to leave anyone out but to get a place to start in all of our groups. Some of the people we will be praying for may already have a relationship with the Lord, and some may not have any form of a relationship with the Lord. That does not really matter, what matters is that through the Holy Spirit the Lord has placed these names on our hearts, and has asked us to plant spiritual seed into their lives through prayer. We can assume that there is a reason the Lord put these people on our hearts, and so with confidence, we can plant spiritual seed through prayer. As we pray for the Lord’s conversion, the Lord’s healing, the Lord’s deliverance, the Lord’s peace, etc., we pray scripture which is always in line with the will of the Father. So, whether you are a leader or an individual in the church who loves the Lord, please begin to prepare your heart with the Word of God so that we can effectively pray the Word of God into every life represented on our lists. Remember, planting is praying the Word of God over these people’s lives and when we do that we plant spiritual seed into spiritual ground.
Watering – After we have planted the spiritual seed we then begin to water the seed. If you place a seed in the ground, and it never receives water the seed will simply die in the ground. Without water the seed will eventually not germinate and it will die. Through continual and persistent prayer we water the spiritual seed that has been planted. I am praying that each of our cell groups will catch a vision for consistent and persistent prayer for others. No matter where these people on our lists are individually in their walk with the Lord, it is clearly evident through the Word, the Lord is desiring each of them to continually grow and mature in their faith. Some may have no faith at all and need conversion, others may have a modicum of faith that is barely sustaining them in their walk, and others may have a large faith and yet still need to be encouraged to move forward in their walk with Jesus. As we join together to continually and persistently water the spiritual seed that has been planted through prayer God’s attention is drawn, and we will see things begin to happen in their lives. I go back several years ago when we had our first men’s cell. In that cell, we created a list similar to what we have shared here of about 30 men. As a group we committed to pray for these men every time we were together. We prayed in concert of prayer, some of us may have prayed for certain men on the list, and some of us may have prayed for others. However, the key was that every time we were together we took time at the end of our meeting, placed a chair in the center of the room, and we prayed for the men on our list. What happened after that I believe was a faith building miracle. As we continued to pray, even when we were not seeing any fruit, over about a 2-3 year span we saw 100% of the men that we were praying for come through the doors of CCM, and be affected by the ministry of CCM in a positive way. Some of them are still with us, and some have moved on to other things, but the point is that we saw 100% of the 30 men who we were praying for be impacted for the Kingdom in some manner. This is the kind of miracle that I am believing we can each experience as we join together to water the seeds.
Reaping – I want to draw attention to these words in our scripture, “The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor”. Look at the first part, as we plant and as we water we each have one purpose. That purpose is to prepare the spiritual realm for a miracle in someone else’s life. You see, the purpose of intercessory prayer is not so that I will receive something, but so that someone else will receive something. So, as we plant and water in prayer we are working together for one purpose, a miracle in the life of someone else. Then, the scripture tells us that “each will be rewarded according to his own labor.” In other words, I can’t receive a harvest without first putting in the labor. No farmer can receive a crop without first planting and watering the seed. I believe that this reward as described by Paul is just another sign that the Lord is paying attention to what we are doing in this life, and where we are spending our time. How many of us expect to go to someone else’s garden, and reap a harvest from that garden freely without any work or labor. None of us! How many of us expect to reap a harvest in the Kingdom of God without work or labor. Many of us! This kind of thinking is a product of the modern day “hyper-grace” doctrine of, I get everything in Jesus and it costs me nothing. Yes, I receive the free gift of eternity when I am converted to being a follower of Jesus, praise the Lord. But, I do not grow and mature in my faith without some sacrificial labor being involved. We will be allowed to reap a harvest that coincides directly with the sacrificial prayer labor we bring to the garden.
Finally, let’s look at the key to this all. God is the one who does all the work we are the workers in the field. Some take this thought, and jump too far. They say to themselves well, if God is the one who does all the work why should I have to do anything. They do this so that they can dismiss themselves from any responsibility, again this is hyper-grace thinking. The simple truth is, we don’t have to do anything, however, as followers of Jesus, we should desire to do something. Every true believer in Jesus Christ, should desire to see others come to Christ, they should desire to see others get healed, they should desire to see others grow and mature in their faith. We as followers of Jesus should desire this so much that we will be willing to be workers in the field for the Lord, and leave the final results of the field up to the Lord. This is what happens every spring with every farmer you know. They do the work, prepare the soil, plant the seed, and then leave the results up to the Lord. This is what we will be rewarded for in the end, not the final results of the field which is up to the Lord, but whether or not we were willing to be workers in the field as He has called us to work.
My prayer, my hope, and my expectation is that each cell group will take the lists that the cell leaders have helped to compile, and begin using them every time they get together. If each group will take just take a few minutes at the beginning or end of the meeting, and begin to pray the Word of God over these people lives in concert of prayer we will see amazing things happen. Trust the Lord and allow the Holy Spirit to show us how to pray for each person as we pray in concert of prayer. Be consistent, be persistent, don’t stop, just keep praying and believing in faith even if you don’t see immediate results. Wait upon the Lord in faith, and keep a sharp eye out to see what the Lord will do. We are called to be workers in the field alongside the Lord and yet the Lord is the one who does most of the work. He asks us be his fellow workers in the field and to Plant, Water, and Reap. I want to thank you in advance as you pray and take seriously the call to be workers in the Lord’s field through prayer that will eventually produce a harvest of souls for the King.
Just One More Soul!