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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Pulling Weeds in Jesus' Name

Signs of spring are exploding in my part of the world right now. Out in my garden, the crocuses are spent, the daffodils have been up for a while, the quince bushes are thickly covered in orange, and new plants are poking up through the soil all around my house. Along with the weeds. Many weeds. Yes, it's spring now. And I have a lot of yard work to do.

Around my neighborhood, I see everyone's landscaping responding in like manner to these warmer days. My neighbors themselves are no exception as spring calls them outdoors. Short-sleeved kids are out on their bikes. Convertible tops are down as folks drive by. Lawn mowers are cranking up, droning along our street and in the distance.

Probably the most obvious sign of spring around my hacienda, however, is the noticeable increase in the numbers of walkers. It's time to get in shape, after all. Time to shed an extra dress size and tighten the belt a notch, I suppose. Swim suit season surely doth approach and nobody wants to get caught hanging on to that extra layer of winter hugging their midsection.

So, they power walk by my house alone or with their dogs, pushing strollers or followed by kids on bikes, with a spouse or a friend. If I'm out, they wave. And I wave back. As I pull weeds.

I recently heard about a group of silver-haired ladies who were on a mission to walk the neighborhoods of their whole city - one of the least churched cities in America, my sister's city, so I'm working from second-hand experience here. This army of grandma warriors walk different streets in their city each day armed with helmets, shields and swords of the spirit, praying for each house as they pass by. They pray, without knowing who lives in each home, for the residents therein; praying that if they do not know Jesus, they would be led straight to Him. Somehow. In a city with more dogs than Christians.

I don't know about y'all, but it's been my experience that hell itself is no match for a spirit-filled grandma! And to have a group of them decked out in the full armor of God, Ephesians 6 style, is a force to be reckoned with indeed. Unbelievers, beware!

On this side of heaven I may never know the full results of this ambulatory prayer team. But I do know there has been a rapid growth in the number of people attending evangelical Bible-believing churches in that city. One such church just opened a few weeks ago and had almost 700 people attend services there two Sundays past. After a few weeks. That's just......crazy! The church still has no offices, no child care, no Sunday Schools or youth programs, no permanent staff to speak of, other than the pastor. The building isn't even finished yet and they're already having to move to two services! Obviously, something is going on there. And that's just one church! There are others popping up with similar stories in that city. And people are meeting Jesus. Maybe some-(silver-haired)-body's prayers are being answered? Maybe?

When I think about what I want for myself - me, personally - my ultimate goal is to live my life according to God's will and get out alive. I want to get to heaven. And take as many people with me as I can. That pretty much sums it up.

When I think about my logistical neighbors and who they are - the power-walkers, the lawn rangers, the dirt diggers, their kids - I wonder if I truly want the same for them - if I truly take Christ's words to heart: "Love you neighbor as yourself." Do I want the same thing for them that I want for myself: heaven? Do I throw on my armor and attack my neighborhood in Jesus' name through prayer? Do I have a heart to see the unchurched, the lost in my community know my friend and savior, Jesus Christ?

I won't be power walking this spring, but maybe I can start by praying for those who walk or drive by my home as I take a stand against the devil's schemes with my fingers stuck in God's dirt, the belt of truth around my midsection, the breastplate of righteousness covering my grimy t-shirt, the gospel of peace over my beat-up gardening shoes, the helmet of salvation atop my ragged straw hat, the shield of faith and sword of the spirit in my gardening-gloved grasp.

While I pull weeds in Jesus' name.

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Blogger Amy said...

I love the vision of those grandmas marching down the street, praying as they go. What a great idea!

March 13, 2007 at 9:04 AM  
Blogger Darlene said...

I love the vision of those spirit-filled grandmas pounding the pavement like soldiers to war. You've given me an idea which is to pray a blessing over the street in front of my house, so that all who walk by will sense the presence of God. Really--I'm going to do it. In my last neighbourhood I walked and prayed for the children in each house. God really moved in those kids. I pray that He'll continue to move in the streets where those Grandma's walk.

March 13, 2007 at 9:49 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Carol-I think you and I must live in similair neighborhoods. I admit I get frustruated with my neighbors and do judge them. I thank you for pointing this out to me. I am going to consciously try to change this attitude and try to remember to pray for them as I see them walk by.


March 13, 2007 at 10:05 AM  
Blogger Laurel Wreath said...

Definitely a force to be reckended with. I love this story. And by the way if you run out of weeds, I have some extra =))

March 13, 2007 at 12:41 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

Will you come pull the weeds from me? I'm the one suffering from them! ;)

I love the story of the "walking grannies". That's power for ya!

Have a blessed day!

March 13, 2007 at 3:51 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Grandmas marching, that really made me smile. Thanks for a great post.

March 13, 2007 at 4:50 PM  
Anonymous Lynn Donovan said...

Amen... Carol, you go girl... I believe with every part of my soul our prayers, even for strangers, avail much....

I walk every morning and I pray, I pray, I pray. I love this story. Wonderful. :)

March 13, 2007 at 6:25 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

What a blessing--thank you for sharing this! I am challenged to pray for those around me, even those who are strangers.

March 13, 2007 at 9:52 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Carol--this is amazing. Yes, prayer works, and yes our community and our neighborhood is a ripe mission field for each of us. Thanks for the reminder.

March 14, 2007 at 7:02 AM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

Thanks for the reminder of how powerful prayer is and how it is EFFECTIVE - even if we do not know whom we are praying for....Can you come help me in my flower beds? :)

March 15, 2007 at 9:25 AM  
Anonymous eph2810 said...

I have heard something similar happening here in our city. People getting together and walking neighborhoods in Jesus' name. I should start doing it. I know that my friendly (or not so friendly) neighbors believe in god, but not in the GOD!
Thank you for the reminder that I have the power to pray for them...

March 16, 2007 at 1:42 AM  
Blogger janiswrites said...

"my ultimate goal is to live my life according to God's will and get out alive. I want to get to heaven. And take as many people with me as I can." I love this. This is my goal as well. Our neighborhood should be our first mission field, but I think that we often overlook it. Thanks for sharing! Blessings!

March 16, 2007 at 3:07 PM  
Blogger Elise said...

Really? Even with dirt under my fingernails and mud on my knees? I can "approach the throne of grace with confidence"? Thank you so much for the reminder, Carol.

March 18, 2007 at 5:05 PM  

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