Years ago I lived in an orchard on River Road here in Chico.
We were renting a house there and really enjoyed seeing how agriculture works up close and personal. When you live in an orchard you learn to close your windows when the shakers come during harvest, not to stand or walk downwind from the sprayers, and to be leery of the dreaded “walnut rustlers” (people who would come in the middle of the night to steal nuts off the ground).
I began to pray for a specific block of almonds and pray while walking around the orchard. Many call it “prayer walking” when you specifically set out to pray for land, neighbors, people nearby or other specific things. It helps me to focus when I am walking and have a visual of what I am praying for. My prayer was that the Lord would double the harvest, and that felt like an audacious prayer. I didn’t directly benefit from a higher yield, I just wanted to see the owner be blessed.
When the harvest was brought in I was asking constantly about what the numbers looked like that year. Finally I confessed that I had been praying for the harvest and that’s why I was asking. The next week, after the numbers were in, the owner knocked on my door and asked to come in. As we sat at the kitchen table over a cup of coffee, he said he was amazed because the yield was WAY up that year. I could hardly contain myself. The Lord heard these crazy prayers that I had prayed and had come and blessed the land!
Fast forward 17 years to this past week when a farmer friend of mine mentioned to me that he feared that the frost last month may have destroyed 50% of his crop. A deep sadness and grief grew in my stomach, and I kept thinking this was a theft of good crops by the enemy of our soul. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy…” The Holy Spirit was compelling me to fight back, and I knew that my prayer walking days were about to restart in orchards again.
I had the joy of prayer walking in two almond orchards this past week. My prayers were for rain, no frost, bees to pollinate more than normal and for dead nuts on the tree to come back to life. We recognize that Jesus is the Lord over life and death, and that we are asking for the miraculous to happen. Dead crops don’t come back to life without God intervening. That’s why it’s such a great prayer to pray! I am believing that God is going to resurrect crops and then increase the harvest this fall. It’s an audacious prayer that only can be answered by God.
Are you willing to pray for our friends who have almond trees this year? Are you willing to look a little silly by asking those friends if you can go and pray for their almond crop by walking around the perimeter of their orchards? Are you willing to ask God for something that only He can do?
These nuts represent the livelihood of our friends. If half your paycheck was in danger of going away, would you pray for your company to thrive? You bet you would. This may be what love looks like with our farming friends. I am praying that an increased harvest will be brought in with great joy in the early fall.
I think this parallels what God is trying to do in our city as well. In praying for this harvest, I believe that the Lord is inviting us to pray for the spiritual harvest of people coming to faith in Jesus Christ. With Franklin Graham coming for a crusade on June 3rd, and churches like Neighborhood preaching through the book of Acts, I think the Lord is highlighting sharing the gospel with others and spreading the good news that will lead to a harvest of souls.
On Monday April 9th at Evangelical Free Church here in Chico, there will be a citywide prayer meeting that will focus on this. The Billy Graham Association will be hosting this time at 7pm. I think it’s going to be a dynamic time of worship and prayer. Would you consider attending?
So, the mission impossible (cue the music) in front of us is to pray for a physical harvest (because we have a crop resurrection), and a spiritual harvest (because Jesus died to give us life to the fullest and save people who are dead in their sins).
Let’s go after impossible things together and see what God will do!