If you’re a gardener, you probably have a stash of seeds tucked away.
I certainly do. I have a special bin in a cupboard where I store all my seed packets:
Envelopes containing seeds I’ve harvested over the years from plants in my garden. Seeds that friends have collected from their own gardens and then passed on to me, along with handwritten notes about the plants.
Packets of seeds I’ve bought the Botanic Garden’s seed fairs that look intriguing: seeds of rare plants, unusual colours of better known plants, or hard-to-find heirloom varieties of vegetables or flowers.
I have a veritable treasure trove of seeds in my cupboard!
There’s only one problem:
Those seeds are doing me absolutely no good sitting in a bin on a shelf.
I may take the packets out from time to time and look rapturously at the photos on the front. I might imagine how nice it would be to grow such gorgeous flowers or unusual veggies.
But until I put those seeds in the ground, all they are is wishful thinking and pretty pictures.
If I don’t take a step of faith and plant my seeds, I’ll never get a harvest.
Similarly, we sometimes leave our dreams and desires on a shelf, so to speak.
We might take them out from time to time and turn them over in our mind, imagining what it would be like if our desires were fulfilled. We’d think for a while about how wonderful it would be if those dreams came to pass in our lives.
But then we’d figure that they would probably never come true, so there’s no point wishing. We’d sigh and put our dreams back in the bin, snapping the lid shut securely.
James 4:2 tells us that this is the wrong approach. This Scripture teaches us that:
“You don’t have the things you want, because you don’t pray for them.”
The simplest version says, “You have not because you ask not.”
In a nutshell, unprayed-for desires are like unplanted seeds. They’re doing you no good sitting on a shelf in your heart. Nothing will ever come of them until you take a step of faith and bring those requests to God.
Why do we refrain from asking God to grant us things?
Perhaps we’re afraid He’ll say no. And that is a distinct possibility. James 4:3 says,
“And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.”
So one of the keys to prayer is asking in accordance with God’s will, not our own. If we ask amiss, we shouldn’t expect God to grant our requests. In the same way, not all the seeds we plant in the garden will germinate.
“And this is the confidence that we have before Him: If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” (1 John 5:14)
Another element is to wait for God’s timing: His answer may be “Yes, but not yet.” We’re often in a hurry to get our prayers answered, but God knows when the time is right. It’s the same in the garden: it takes some seeds much longer to sprout than others, but it’s always worth the wait.
When placing our requests before God, we also need to make sure we’re obeying what He has said in Scripture. Likewise, we need to follow certain procedures when planting seeds if we want them to grow.
“And we will receive from Him whatever we ask, because we keep His commandments and do what is pleasing in His sight.” (1 John 3:22)
In the Bible, some very big prayers were answered because people had the courage to plant their seeds in the fertile soil of faith in God. People were healed of illnesses, the blind received their sight, some rose from the dead, and the sun even stood still.
All in response to prayer.
In the garden, we have not when we plant not.
And in life, we have not because we ask not.
Why not put your faith in God and try asking?
You might be amazed at what sprouts up!
© 2021 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.