I Plant, You Water

Picture the Sunday morning sermon as a man heaving great handfuls of seed onto the ground. Would it not be foolish for that sower to look behind him after thirty minutes’ work and fret because he saw no corn, no wheat? It may happen! God gives the growth and God can do anything he pleases. But it is normal for seed to be sown, then watered, before there is growth.

This is a plea for your whole-hearted partnership in the ministry of harvesting. Along with your own personal sowing of the seed of the Word, would you all covenant with me to water the seed of Sunday morning with prayer? I’ll bet there are hundreds of you who pray for the services and sermons to come. I feel it and I thank you. But, if you are like me, you may tend to forget to pray for a sermon that is past. But that is like watering the ground before you sow and then, after the seed is in, not watering any more.

Sunday afternoon and evening and Monday morning pray with me like this: “O God of harvest, we plant and water but you alone give the growth. You have commanded that we pray that the Word ‘speed on and triumph’ (2 Thessalonians 3:1). So we know our prayer for harvest is right and pleasing in your sight. Please, Father, cause the seed sown in Sunday’s message and in the Sunday School classes to take root. O give life, Father, in dry and barren hearts. Cultivate the desert of unbelief into the garden of faith. Let the little sprout of faith push, push, push up through the granite of pride until it splits it wide and shoots up to the sky. Build a scarecrow in every heart to keep demonic birds away who sit like vultures on the path, consuming sermon leftovers. God, don’t let your Word return empty! Give the unbelievers who heard the Word no rest until they find their rest in you. O God of harvest, draw many to the Savior at Bethlehem. In his beautiful name, Amen.”

Jonathan Edwards preached for years before the cumulative effect of the glorious Word exploded in revival in New England, 200 years ago. We must not grow weary in well-doing. God will honor the long-distance preacher and the long-distance pray-er. O don’t lose heart. The Spirit is stirring at Bethlehem. I believe conversion is happening. People are being transformed by the renewal of their minds in the Word. Many visitors are coming and listening. People feel there is something infinite at stake in our services. The choir of heavenly angels is tuning up for great rejoicing. I plead with you: Water the Word! Water the Word with prayer! No church can remain fruitless if it soaks the Word in fervent, hungry prayer week after week.

This Sunday the Word will be sweet to the taste: “Jesus is Precious Because He Removes Our Guilt.” O how I look forward to this message. Nothing lies closer to my heart than the good news that I am forgiven forever. Bring your friends and relatives who need a word of grace. And pray, pray, pray for harvest in 1982. Even as you read this line someone is being gripped by last Sunday’s message. Take 60 seconds right now to water that seed.

Your partner in the field,

Pastor John

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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org