Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is like a man who scatters seeds on the ground. He sleeps at night and is awake during the day. The seeds sprout and grow, although the man doesn’t know how. The ground produces grain by itself. First the green blade appears, then the head, then the head full of grain. [Mark 4:26-27 (GW)]
After their recent visit to the oncologist, a friend asked me to pray for her father. His cancer is terminal and she asked me to pray that he will come to know God. He’s been sitting on the fence for quite some time and his time for fence sitting is rapidly running out. As I added him to my prayer list, I wondered, “Can we pray someone to God?”
While farmers can plant, water, hoe and fertilize, it is up to the seed whether or not it ever will germinate. Jesus told several parables about sowing seed and gathering the harvest. In none of them, however, does the farmer turn that seed into a sprout. All we can do is prepare the way by planting His word. We can bring to light the Son, but it is up to the seed to seek the Son’s light.
In the end, the harvest comes through God’s provision, not man’s efforts. If we could pray people to God, our churches would be full and all would be well with the world! It’s been said that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. Unfortunately, because of that pesky free will thing, the same goes for man and the living water offered by Jesus. While we can’t pray people to God, we can continue to share the Good News and ask God to reveal Himself to those for whom we pray. The rest is up to them; the choice is theirs and theirs alone.
A man came to evangelist Alexander Wooten and asked, using the biblical phrase, “What must I do to be saved?” Wooten said, “It’s too late.” The man was shocked. “It’s too late? You mean I can’t do anything?” Wooten said, “It’s too late. It’s already been done for you. The only thing left for you to do is to believe that it’s done.