This morning I opened my Bible to the Parable of the soils. It is a very well know parable, but one that I too often just glance at and never really think about. Today a couple things got my attention which produced a very specific prayer for me based on these verses from Jesus. My thoughts on the parable went something like this. We see two ultimate categories of people in the Parable: those who produce fruit and stay with the word, and those who fall away. The people who fall away have a number of different reasons as to why they do: Satan takes it (the word) away; trouble and persecution caused them to waiver and fall away, or the cares of the world and wealth pulled them away. On the flip side we see those who hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop. Looking at these specific ways that Jesus describes believers and unbelievers left me with some very pointed prayers. We can directly pray against the 3 soils that are unfruitful. The prayers might go something like this:
- Soil number 1: Lord protect me from the attacks of the devil, don’t let your word fall to ground (1 Samuel 3:19), but may it instead be the stream that waters my soul and yields fruit in Your season (Psalm 1).
- Soil number 2: Lord may the troubles of this world, that are sure to come, only increase my trust in you as I see all the more how faithful you are. May persecution strengthen my resolve to glorify you in everything, and may the joy I find in you be the strength that keeps me coming to the well of living water!
- Soil number 3: Lord may the blessings that I receive from you on this earth no matter how few or how great be used to glorify you. May I never get so comfortable that I think I don’t need you anymore. May I steward your earthly gifts in a way that brings attention and Glory to You and not myself.
I think we should also pray for the last group, the seed that fell on the good soil and yielded fruit. It is interesting to note that there are no options associated with this last soil. The person who accepts the word…produced fruit. There are not people who accept the word and then sit back and relax. Just like Matthew 3:10 tells us: “The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” We have many options when it comes to the first group. But it’s do or die if we are to live by the spirit.
Finally I think we can close with a prayer that combines all of the observations from this parable. It will go something like this:
“Lord I thank you that you have given us eyes to see and ears to hear the command in your word. I pray that as we continue seeking to trust you our lives would be marked by fruit. I pray that the troubles we daily face, the continued attacks of the devil and the comforts of living in America would not hinder our love and devotion to you, but that they would create a longing for true joy in communion with you. Let us live out our faith in actions that point to you and let our fruit be real and our devotion be to you alone.”