It is sad that in America today, many Christians are praying for crop failures. If we live our life seeking pleasure from things that are against the Word of God, and then we pray that the consequences of those actions will not happen, we are praying for a crop failure.
One author has said, “Many people sow wild oats Monday through Saturday and then go to church on Sunday and pray for a crop failure.” That is a sad truth that I observe in the modern-day church. It happens in our time spent. Many of us spend far more money on violent and sexual media entertainment than we do on Christian giving, and then we pray that sexual temptation would not be in front of us. We eat junk food, sugar, and soft drinks every day and pray for help with our weight loss and diets. We pray to know God more, but do not spend the time learning who He is by his word.
Galatians 6:7-11 says, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” Think about those verses as we prepare to pray.
We have afflictions in our life and we are to seek prayer. Remember that James talks a lot about prayer near the end of his epistle (James 5:13-18). We must seek prayer from friends, but we also need to evaluate if our affliction is caused by some sin in our life. If we are honest, we find that occasionally our choices have led to our afflictions. I don’t want to be like Job’s friends who accuse Job of sin resulting in his pain and suffering, but there are far to many times when the suffering in our life is directly caused by the stupid things we do.
Chip Ingram identifies four reasons for suffering: One of those is merely because we’re in a fallen world. In a fallen world, bad things sometimes happen to good people for no good reason at all. Sometimes we suffer for doing the right thing! In the last few months, laws have been coming down hard on whistleblowers that are actually trying to do the right thing and save people from corruption! To be more spiritual about it, we suffer for doing right when we are ridiculed for talking about God’s law, or even more so when we lose our business or freedom because we work our conscience in our pluralistic age. The third reason we suffer, and Job fit this reason, is spiritual warfare. Sometimes we get caught in the crossfire of angels and demons and suffer as a result. The final reason Chip Ingram gives for our suffering is the foolish choices we make. We cannot discount that we may have done something we should not have, so we should strive to understand if the result our problems. If so, we cannot pray away the crops we have sown, we must dig them up and start again. As Augustine said, “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.“
When calamity hits our life the first thing we should be doing is seeing if it because of something we did. If so, we need to start with repenting and resting in the grace of God. Remember that James says to confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed (James 5:16). Prayer is a must, but we cannot pray for a crop failure when we have sown our wild oats.