Enlarging Our Spiritual Gardens

One of the most rewarding times for a praying grandmother is to have a spiritual conversation with a grandchild. A couple of weeks ago, I found myself in the midst of one of those conversations with my seventeen year old granddaughter, Devon. I asked Devon to close her eyes and tell me, “How does your spiritual garden grow?” After lengthy thought, her response was that her spiritual garden was filled with perfectly groomed hedges as far as she could see and they formed a maze in the center. Taken back by her answer, I began to share with her the visual picture of my spiritual garden…row after row of colorful wild and domestic flowers with square parcels of vegetable plants off to the right-hand side. The vegetable plants were heavy-laden with multicolored produce ready to be harvested. I became perplexed at the differences between our gardens; however, after careful thought I began enumerating the differences in our personalities and gifting – Devon is artistic, enthusiastic, structured, and playful, myself…very earthy, organized, and productive.

Our conversation continued by challenging one another to look to the furthest corners of our spiritual gardens and see if we could find any areas that were unkept and needed some tender loving care. Often in the past, while in my prayer closet, God had taken me to these areas and had shown me where my gardening tools were needed to remove the unwanted spiritual weeds – unforgiveness, fear, bitterness for example – that had overtaken an area. Experience has taught me that it’s easy to focus on the areas of our spiritual garden that we have already put the time and energy in to “clean-up”; yet conveniently ignore the “over-grown” areas. We need to ask ourselves, “What better time to have a conversation with God about those areas of spiritual woundedness,than when we are walking with Him in our spiritual garden?”  Hearing His heart coming through His Word:

“He heals the brokenhearted”(Psalms 147:3 NIV).

“…the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort…”(2 Corinthians 1:3 NIV).

“The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer…”Psalms 18:2 (NIV).

“who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from

the pit and crowns you with love and compassion”(Psalms 103:3-4 NIV).

Doing the work within our spiritual garden on a daily basis leads to enlargement!  We are quick to ask for enlargement in the physical realm; yet, desiring a thriving, flourishing, robust growth in the spiritual realm is often overlooked. There needs to be balance in our lives – body, soul, and spirit – to grow in the physical, we need to also grow in the spiritual. The soil in our enlargement plot needs to be cultivated with our spiritual hoe, prayer and God’s Word, to break up the dry ground and to loosen the roots of the spiritual weeds that need to be removed. At this point, fertilizer which is God’s Wisdom and Truth is mixed into the ground to enrich the soil promoting thriving, healthy plants. Lastly, the Living Water, Jesus Christ, is sprinkled onto the soil to carry God’s richest benefits deep below the surface so that the new plants can flourish and produce fruit.

The conversation that day ended with a renewed awareness, for both grandmother and granddaughter, of the work that is required from us when we ask God for enlargement in our lives. 1 Chronicles 4:10 contains Jabez’s simple prayer for enlargement,“Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request” (NIV).

Now allow me to share a balanced prayer for enlargement – body, soul, and spirit – that the Lord showed me to pray for my family many years ago.

Father, bless us, bless us indeed! Enlarge our territories and our boundaries, our opportunities and our responsibilities, our relationships and our finances. But keep Your hand of protection upon us, Lord, your grace and mercy ever be present in our lives, Your favor going before us in all that we shall do. That You will guard and keep us from the enemy, and that we will not place our hand into iniquity. For Father, we would never want to grieve You, Lord, we would never want to grieve ourselves, and we would never want to grieve, harm, or hurt another.

It’s in Jesus’ Name that we pray. Amen

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