Tag Archive: prayed


by DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

After eating the last of a delicious store-bought watermelon, I decided to do what we always did as kids: throw the seeds into the backyard. However, instead of haphazardly tossing them, I placed the seeds in a crudely dug hole in the flower garden at the end of the patio. Then, expecting no fruit except by chance, I patted dirt on top with the bottom of my shoe to cover the seeds. While on one of my furloughs, after weeks and months of traveling, I looked out the French doors and saw, growing at the end of the patio, a pale green vine with tiny yellow flowers on it. It was a mystery to me! Delighted to see any resemblance of flowers in my neglected garden, I gave it little thought. To my surprise, on my next furlough, I saw emerging from now dense vines, a beautiful green watermelon sitting neatly on the patio. I had forgotten sowing watermelon seeds there. To my delight, I reaped a magnificently tasty watermelon.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. (Proverbs 18:21) 

Have you ever deliberately said something and forgot about it? Words, thoughts, and actions are like forgotten planted seeds. The only problem is that all seeds do not reap good tasting fruit. I heard the story of a man always saying with a laugh, for about twenty years, “I’ll see you tomorrow if I don’t get killed by a train before midnight.” It was his running joke. One night around 11:30pm he decided to go to the store. As he approached the railroad crossing, the streetlights were out. He didn’t see the train coming. Two minutes before midnight, his car was hit by a train. His words were ill-fated seeds that produced deadly fruit.

Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same. (Job 4:8)

man in blue long sleeve shirt talking

Photo by Anthony Shkraba on Pexels.com

As Issacs’s sight grew dim, at his mother’s urging, Jacob disguised himself as Esau, his brother, and received the blessing meant for the eldest son from his father. He tricked his dying dad and stole his brother’s blessings (Genesis 27:35). Then, he ran for his life because, naturally, Esau was not pleased. He eventually fled to stay with his mother’s brother, Laban. While there, he worked for seven years to marry Rachel whom he loved; but the seed his actions planted began to bear fruit. At the urging of Laban, his older daughter, Leah, disguised herself as Rachel and tricked Jacob into marrying her instead of the love of his life. Like Esau was hurt and dismayed when he discovered the deception, Jacob was also. He spent the next thirteen years reaping the harvest of the seed he planted (Genesis 31:41).

For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts… (Mark 7:21)

Job was a godly man who avoided iniquity. One day the devil went to the LORD and made a bargain. He believed that he could get Job to curse God if he took his stuff. He wanted to get Job to plant an ill-fated seed with his mouth. So, in one day, Job’s cattle, camels, servants, and children were gone. Job did not curse God but fell on the ground and worshipped (Job 1:20). Then, the LORD gave the devil permission to afflict his body but not allowed to kill him. Though his wife urged him to do so, Job did not curse God (Job 2:9). However, while cursing his own birth, Job revealed the seed he had planted; “What I feared has happened.” Job never said, “I fear…;” he thought it. He sowed a seed with his thoughts. (Job 3:25)

Whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap. (Galatians 6:7-8)

Sowing and reaping is a consequential law written into creation (Genesis 1:11) which we don’t pay enough attention to. We go around with a mouth full, handful, and mind full of seeds. Whether we reap good or bad fruits depends upon the seeds we plant. Problem is, we are opening our mouths, hands, and minds haphazardly tossing seeds all over the place. Throughout our lives we go about planting seeds and forget about it, until it bears fruit. And then it is a mystery why the fruit is there. If it’s good fruit, we attribute to the grace of God. When its bitter fruit, some attribute to God’s plan to teach a lesson, which is what ‘church folk’ too often erroneously (James 1:13) say. Some things we do, say and think are habits we get from TV, friends, family, teachers, cultural traditions, etc. It is a lifestyle, like breathing. For example, “My back is killing me” or “Scared to death” or “I barely have enough to get by,” or “They won’t hire me because…” These are seeds best never spoken. Notice that Job never blamed his misfortune on God. The mystery of the fruit is all about the seeds sowed without thought or belief that it will produce fruit except by chance. It is the LORD God that gives harvest according to seeds sowed.

For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Galatians 6:8)

If we considered the law of the harvest, we would actively deliberately plant more seeds according to the fruit we want. When you get paid, like most people, you usually plant it into a Savings Account to collect interest. Nowadays the interest is exceedingly small. But look at what the LORD says about planting according to the Spirit; “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it (Malachi 3:10).” The LORD reveals that if you plant 10% of your money in Him, you will gain exceedingly great interest; more than you can hold.

Now, suppose that same principle is deliberately applied to words, thoughts, and deeds. What is it that is good and prosperous that you want? What benefits the kingdom and fulfills the will of God and brings Him glory? Say it and meditate on it. Sow positive righteous seeds in words, actions, and thoughts. Some plant good seeds without thought but imagine what a greater harvest could be had if seeds were deliberately sowed according to desired harvest.

A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. (Proverbs 18:20)

In the gym, as athletes worked out, I’d hear the trainers saying, “You can do it!” and they do it; they meet their goal. If sowing to the flesh reaps good, how much more will sowing to the Spirit reap? Let the Holy Spirit be your trainer or coach and sow the words of the LORD, not words of the devil or the flesh. Instead of saying, “I can’t” which produce inability; sow the Word, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me (Philippians 4:13)which will produce abundant ability and the benefits thereof.

Think before you say it. Self-pity words produce depression. Angry words produce a wicked brew. Frighten words reap fear. Witty words reap laughter. Kind words reap kindness. Encouraging words reaps encouragement. Positive words produce positive outcomes.

Certainly, some of us have already sowed bad seeds. After the LORD confronted him, Job confessed and immediately repented. Then, he sowed a different seed: he prayed for his friends. As a result, he reaped a doubly good harvest; “And the LORD restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed, the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before (Job 42:10).It is not too late to reap a good harvest. Repent, and change seeds (1John 1:9).

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth and said, “Let there be…” and it was, and it was all ‘good’ (Genesis 1:1-25). God made us in His image; so, when we say, “Let there be…” and it is, is it all good?

If not, could it be something we said?

That’s Today’s Single Focus

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

D.J. Martin  (SingleFocus Ministry®)

I used to attend a church where, when it was time to pray, one particular deacon prayed for an extremely long time. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people fell asleep while he prayed. Seriously, he was long-winded when he prayed. I’ve heard people say, “If we ever needed prayer before, we sure do need it now.” Well, that has never been truer then it is today! Matter of fact, I think we would welcome that praying deacon right about now. Just the other day, I read about a 5-year-old child bowing their head to say ‘Grace’ over their lunch, which was their habit at mealtime, and a teacher told them that they were not allowed to pray. Huh? Like I said; “If we ever needed prayer, we sure do need it now.”

Daniel faced a similar challenge during the reign of King Darius. (Daniel 6) The king set over the regions 120 princes, and over them, he appointed three presidents. Daniel was one of those three presidents. Then, Darius planned to appoint one man over all the regional leaders, including the presidents. Daniel, a man of integrity, was highly favored, by the king, for the job. The jealous leaders didn’t like that. Therefore, they searched for something to discredit Daniel but, could find nothing. So, they decided to use Daniel’s faithfulness to God against him. (Daniel 6:5) Three times a day Daniel opened his window facing toward Jerusalem and prayed to the Lord, God of Israel.

Darius conquered many nations, and though he did not worship the God of Israel, he allowed the people to continue to practice their religions. The jealous princes and presidents went to Darius and persuaded him to sign a decree which would outlaw prayer. For thirty days no one could pray to anyone except to Darius. Violators would be put down into the lion’s den. After Daniel saw that Darius signed the decree, he went to his chambers; opened the window towards Jerusalem (which was his habit), got on his knees and prayed, and gave thanks to the God of Israel three times a day. (Daniel 6:10)

Believing that this would eliminate Daniel from Darius’ favor, the princes hurried to tell the king of Daniel’s violation of the law. Darius, regretting that he had outlawed prayer, tried to think of a way around it but, reluctantly, he had to have Daniel put into the lion’s den. However, after fasting and not sleeping all night, the king hurried to the lion’s den early the next morning and in anguish called, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, is your God, whom you faithfully serve, able to deliver you from the lions?” To the delight of the king, Daniel answered,  “O King… My God sent His angel, and shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me…” (Daniel 6:12-22)

Darius had Daniel pulled up from the den, and there were no scares or injury found upon him. Afterward, the king (angry at their ploy) commanded that those men who had accused Daniel, be cast into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives. Then, King Darius wrote unto all the people, nations, and languages, which he had conquered; “Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel; for He is the living God, and steadfast forever, and His kingdom shall not be destroyed, and His dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivers and rescues, and He works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, Who has also delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.” (Daniel 6:23-27)

Look at this. After Daniel prayed; the king fasted for Daniel’s safety, Daniel escaped harm from the lions, and the king glorified the living God throughout the nations. Wow! Imagine what would have happened had Daniel not been persistently praying when they outlawed prayer. I think that Daniel went to his knees in prayer after Darius signed the decree because, “if they ever needed prayer, they sure did need it” then: when they outlawed prayer.

Think it is bad now? Imagine what it would be like if we had ever stopped praying. Then, imagine what it will be like because we never stopped praying.

“…I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud; and He shall hear my voice.” Psalm 55:16-17

Don’t stop praying.

Pray without ceasing… 1Thessalonians 5:17

That’s Today’s Single Focus

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

D.J. Martin  (SingleFocus Ministry®)

What outrageous times we live in! There are places where tyrants dictate how many boys or girls they can have. And then there are places where people delight in shedding the blood of innocent babies to the tune of over 60 million. I don’t know how that compares to the number killed by Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. (Exodus 1:15-22) The irony is that there are wives desperate to have children. Some of them are trying to adopt, and some are on fertility diets. Some are working out and taking vitamins. Some women are soliciting surrogates or going to fertilization specialist. And of course, there are those who are reading their Bibles, and weeping and praying.

I don’t know how long you’ve been waiting and praying. No doubt, you’re thinking, “What is this silence from heaven?” Even though you may not have conceived yet, the words of the three Hebrew men put into the fiery furnace remains true; “…our God whom we serve is able…” (Daniel 3:17)

Take a look at what Hannah did when the LORD shut up her womb. (1 Samuel 1:1-28; 2:1-10) Though she wanted children, her husband’s other wife, who was very fertile, mocked and harassed her. Hannah and her husband were devout worshippers. They were good people. Consistently, they went to the “house of the LORD,” where Hannah prayed for a child. Year after year, though she prayed, she was verbally tormented by the other wife.

As unremitting harassment and anxiety brought her to tears, Hannah relentlessly prayed. On one of their usual visits to the “house of the LORD,” she wept and prayed intensely. She prayed quietly and desperately; only God could hear her. However, when the priest, Eli, saw her moving her lips with no sound, he thought her drunk from drinking too much wine.

Notice in verse 11 of 1Samuel 1, when Hannah prayed, her request was no longer about the embarrassment or her pride. This time, her request became about the glory of God. “O’ Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of me, your handmaid, and remember me, and give me a man-child, then I will give him unto You LORD all the days of his life…”

After explaining that she was not drunk but praying, Eli, not knowing her prayer request, blessed Hannah saying, “Go in peace and may God grant the request you asked of Him.” (1Samuel 1:17) Then, Hannah left the “house of the LORD” with a different attitude. She was not anxious anymore. (Philippians 4:6-7) She wasn’t pregnant but, she left feeling very good. (1Samuel 1:18)

What happened? Eli was a confirmation to Hannah that God heard her prayer. Hasn’t that happened to you? After you’ve prayed in secret to God about something, someone from your church or the pastor says something relevant to your prayer. Then, your anxiety disappears, and suddenly peace comes over you.

In timely fashion, the LORD opened her womb and blessed Hannah so that she conceived a boy name, Samuel (1Samuel 1:20). She kept her vow, and when he was only a child, she left Samuel with Eli to serve in the “house of the LORD.” (1Samuel 1:24) But, praise God; that is not how the story ends. Hannah praised the LORD and declared His goodness and power. (1Samuel 2:1-10) Then, Eli blessed and prayed for Hannah and her husband that they have more children. (1Samuel 2:20) God answered that prayer and opened her womb again and again. Hannah had three more sons and two daughters.

Perhaps you can identify with Hannah. Could be the culture is tormenting you. Could be it is pride that makes you anxious. It could be that having a child or children is the sincere desire of your heart, so you are praying. I’m not going to tell you what I think the lesson is in Hannah’s prayer or her testimony. I want you to do that. Study the story for yourself.  Let the Holy Spirit minister to you.

However, I will point out the glaring or most obvious:

  1. Though her womb was shut, she persistently prayed to the LORD
  2. She received confirmation that the LORD heard her prayer
  3. After prayer and that confirmation, she had an inexplicable peace
  4. At His sovereign timing, the LORD answered her request and opened her womb
  5. She gave the LORD thanks

Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Be encouraged. Don’t give up. Don’t stop praying.

“Go in peace; and the God of Israel grant you your petition that you have asked of Him”  1Samuel 1:17

That’s Today’s Single Focus

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED