If you listen obediently to the commandments that I am commanding you today, love God, your God, and serve him with everything you have within you, he’ll take charge of sending the rain at the right time, both autumn and spring rains, so that you’ll be able to harvest your grain, your grapes, your olives. He’ll make sure there’s plenty of grass for your animals. You’ll have plenty to eat.
Deuteronomy 11:13-15 (MSG)
Throughout the brief period that my husband and I lived on the plains of North Dakota, we visited many churches as ambassadors of the Bible camp we worked for. We met so many wonderful people, drank a lot of great coffee in church fellowship halls, and saw God’s glory across the wide expanse of North Dakota sky.
During one particular church visit that autumn, we were sitting in a wooden pew toward the front of the sanctuary. It had been a lovely service that included several favorite hymns, a robust “greeting of your neighbor,” and was now concluding with the prayers. As the pastor led us, he prayed a few sentences about one topic (our church liturgy calls this a prayer petition) and the congregation responded to each with, “Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.” None of this liturgy was new to me. However, my ears perked up when he began a petition focused on the harvest.
He prayed for the right amount of rain — that neither flooding nor drought would damage the local fields. He prayed for daylight to last longer so the farmers could accomplish as much work as possible during the swift daytime hours. He prayed for a healthy harvest, a fruitful return on years of hard work and backbreaking labor.
Praying for the harvest was new to me, as I’d been born and raised in the suburbs. As I peeked around at those praying around me, it gripped my heart to see their faces upturned and clenched, their hands tightly folded, and their heads nodding in agreement with the petition.
The whole prayer experience only lasted about three minutes and occurred more than ten years ago now, yet I’ve never forgotten it. Each year when harvest season arrives, I pray for farmers — for the sun to shine, the rain to fall appropriately, the labor of their hands to be prosperous, and for a rich reward for all their work.
We may not all be farmers, but we can certainly pray for an abundant, beautiful harvest in our own lives. Isn’t that what we hope for — in our mothering, family, marriages and friendships? Proof of the hard work we’ve done, the care and attention we’ve lavished, and the focus and determination it took along the way?
Every farmer knows the result isn’t entirely up to them. They can love and care for their fields, and still, the crops can be wiped out by a flood, drought, insect infestation, or other act of nature. Every mother knows this too — that she can pour her whole heart into raising her kids and they still may not turn out the way she had hoped. Nature takes its course and we can simply nurture the results.
Whatever the harvest may yield, God promises to care for us and for those we love. To provide all that we truly need. And to send the rain at the right time.
Lord, help me trust the harvest. You hold it in Your hands, and they are more than capable of producing a fruitful crop. Bless the farmers in this season of stress and labor. Amen.
- Do you trust God to provide all that you truly need? Why or why not?
- What are you harvesting in your life, in your marriage, in your work, and/or in your children?
Carve out the stem section of a mini-pumpkin (you can use a large drill bit or a carving knife.). Insert an electric taper candle in the hole, and voilà! You have a beautiful and non-flammable harvest time decoration. I like to use several different pumpkins and gourds, placing them in the center of my dining room table and using both taper and tealight-sized electric candles.
This is one of twenty-five autumn devotions found in Anna E. Rendell’s book, Pumpkin Spice for Your Soul: 25 Devotions for Autumn. As one who finds glory and beauty especially during autumn days, Anna’s book includes twenty-five days worth of inspiration sure to help you embrace and soak up the season too. Each day brings you Scripture, devotions, prayer, reflection questions to ponder throughout your day, and an “extra shot” — inspiring quotes, recipes, and fun autumn ideas — like espresso for your soul! You’ll also find lined pages for your own autumn reflections, nine of Anna’s favorite autumn recipes, and and a bonus devotion for the start of Advent.
Also, brand new this year — listen to Seven Days of Pumpkin Spice for Your Soul, as read by Anna! Stream each episode and give yourself a moment as Anna reads seven full excerpts from the book.
It’s Anna’s prayer that the pause found on the pages of this book would provide you a moment of peace. A break in the hustle. A chance to savor this fleeting and favored season. . . and we’re giving away FIVE copies! To enter, just leave a comment telling us what you love about autumn or how you’ve experienced a harvest season.
Then, join Anna and Becky Keife tomorrow, September 22, at 11:00am central for a conversation about autumn, God’s goodness, and Pumpkin Spice for Your Soul.