While praying for something doesn't mean one will get every little thing asked for at exactly the time expected, noted author and Gospel minister Gloria Copeland said Christians sometimes have to be like farmers planting crops: "You have to sow it, water it and wait for it to grow." Copeland wrote the New York Times best-seller, "God's Master Plan for Your Life," as well as "God's Will for You," "Walk With God," "God's Will Is Prosperity, Hidden Treasures" and "To Know Him."
Copeland also is known for producing Believer's Voice of Victory in 1985, Praise the Lord in 1973 and The Rally in 2010. She also hosts "Believer's Voice of Victory" television broadcast, with her husband, Kenneth Copeland.
Instead of sowing a physical seed in the ground, Copeland said Christian's must sow a spiritual one, which requires a four-step process:
- Sow the Seed.
Sow the seed of love, faith, finances -- whatever it is for which one is believing. For example, if believing for financial debts to be paid, sow a financial gift to help ease someone else's financial debt. If believing for a family of one's own, then sow time into another family by offering to babysit or assist with some need in their home.
- Stay Focused on the Word.
After sowing the seed, it's time to keep one's eyes and heart focused on what God's Word says about it. Find scriptures relating to the need.
- Speak the Word.
Water the seed by speaking the Word over it. The Word of God will go to work on the seed and give it the nourishment it needs to grow.
- Continue to Stand Strong.
When doubts come to mind that communicate, "This isn't going to happen. I'll never have my prayers answered," continue to stand. Continue to speak the Word over the seed. The Word of God will do two things during this time: Continue to work on the seed and weed out the negative thoughts from one's mind.
While waiting for an answer to prayer, don't give up, reminds Copeland. "Be diligent to patiently watch, wait, and use the Word as your water and cultivator. Soon, you'll begin to see some movement. You'll begin to see growth. And finally, you will receive your harvest-your answered prayer!"
However, Copeland said don't dig up the seed!
As suggested in Genesis 8:22, "While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease," she said the process takes times. "For the sake of illustration, separate those two words-seedtime and harvest-into three words...seed, time and harvest...because no harvest is immediate."
"It takes your faith in the Word working on that seed, processing it. You put it into the ground and patiently wait. You don't go dig it up to see if it's still there," said Copeland. "No, faith knows it's still in the ground, and patience waits for it to come to maturity."
Copeland cites Jesus' parable in Luke 8:15, He said of the man who sowed into good ground, "on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience."
"It may help you realize that it's just a matter of time before your harvest-your answer to prayer-comes. Your job, at this point, is to plant your seed into good ground, to keep it watered with the Word, to let the Word keep out the doubt, and then to patiently wait until it's harvest time," she said.
"Your answer to prayer is that the crop (your harvest!) will come exactly when it's needed. God knows when the right time is...and when you need it, it will be there!"