Prayers: Seeds Sowers Sow
Prayers: Seeds Sowers Sow
Prayers: Seeds Sowers Sow
The word “prayer” is a common word all over the world. The word spans through all religions and disciplines all over the world. Sometimes the word could be used in relation to when people are talking among themselves, when someone is requesting for something from another person, this would be called prayer by people listening to the person asking.
After men were sent packing from the garden of Eden, has this word, prayer, been in use, although not directly then, for it is being referred to as sacrifice. Albeit, it is sure that the sacrifice been offered then were not directed to the person offering it, it is being directed to a deity, a superior being, whom the person offering the sacrifices would be looking forward to, to answer him or do something for him. In the same wise is it that when someone is requesting of something from another person, whether someone older than him or not in age, at that point in time the person praying another person to grant him something is lower to the person in that aspect, because assuming the person has the thing he wouldn’t be requesting that the person gives him another except the person is greedy.
The word, prayer, therefore, has a subject and a principal so to say, inferior and superior. The superior or the principal is the person being requested something from, the person being looked forward to, to grant him what is in his hands or custody.
The word prayer is mentioned 114 times while the word “pray” is could be read 313 times in King James Version of the bible. The Old Testament of the bible is written in Hebrew while the New Testament is written in Greek. Herein, will I show us some of the words defined as prayer and pray in both testaments.
The common Hebrew word translated as prayer is “תּפלּה”, tephillâh, (pronounced as tef-il-law') which means intercession, supplication, singing hymn
In the book of Nehemiah 4:9, Psalm 72:15 and some other books of the Old Testament we can find this word “פּלל”, pâlal, (phonetical spelling is paw-lal') which means intercede, intreat, being used for prayer.
A different Hebrew word could be found in the book of Job 15:4, Psalm 64:1 translated as prayer and the word is “שׂיחה”, śı̂ychâh (pronunciation see-khaw'), which could also imply to devotion, meditation. While “עתר”, ‛âthar, (pronunciation aw-thar') which means intercede, intreat is being translated as prayer in the book of Job 22:27.
Prophet Isaiah 26:16, while talking about the use praying to other gods apart from Yahweh uses another Hebrew word for prayer is “לחשׁ”, lachash, (pronunciation lakh'-ash). This word is used in the negative sense and it implies private prayer suggestive of incantation, an amulet, charmed, enchantment. These words are essentially directed to other gods but not to Yahweh.
Daniel while talking to God about his people uses “חלה”, châlâh, (pronunciation khaw-law') which means make supplication, beseech as if by a person in pain. (Dan 9:13)
Let us see some of the Greek words used for prayer in the New Testament. We know that Jesus and the apostles emphasizes the need for prayer in the New Testament and the commonest Greek word use for prayer in that Testament is “προσευχή”, proseuchē (pronunciation pros-yoo-khay') earnestly pray.
Jesus while talking about those who pray long prayers in the temple and other places for show off, says,
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.” (Mat 23:14)
The Greek word used for prayer here is “προσεύχομαι”, proseuchomai, (phonetical spelling is pros-yoo'-khom-ahee), which implies supplication, worship.
It will also be discovered that in the gospel according to saint Luke 1 verse 13, and some other new testament books, another word that is used for prayer is “δέησις”, deēsis, (pronounced as deh'-ay-sis) and this word is defined as petition, request, supplication.
“Enteuxis, “ἔντευξις”, (phonetic spelling is ent'-yook-sis) which means intercession, supplication is the word use for prayer in the 1 Timothy 4:5. And Apostle James in verse 15 of chapter 5 uses “εὐχή”, euchē, (pronounced as yoo-khay') which means petition, votive obligation as the word for prayer in the book.
On another note however, the word “pray” could be found 313 places King James Version of the bible with some of the words used for “prayer” used for “pray” in the Holy Writ. Be that as it may we found on some occasions that different words are being employed for “pray”.
Some of the Hebrew words translated for pray in the book of the beginnings (Genesis) are “נא”, nâ', (pronounced as naw) which implies to beseech (Gen 12:13). In Genesis 20:7, pâlal, “פּלל”, (pronounced as paw-lal') is the word for pray there. And this word means intercede, intreat. In Genesis 23:13 “לוּ לא לוּא”, lû' lû' lû, (phonetic spelling is loo, loo, loo) which means I pray thee, it’s a wish. While the brethren of Joseph were talking to Joseph on the need to overlook their past misdeeds and do not vent his anger on them after the demise of their father, the word they used for pray (beseech) while talking to him is, 'ân'â 'ânnâh, “אנּה אנּא”, (awn'-naw, awn'-naw, as it is being pronounced (Gen. 50:17)).
Some other Hebrew words employed for pray in other Old Testament books are “צלא”, tselâ' (pronounced as tsel-aw') (Ezr 6:10 ) which is used in the sense of bowing to pray. In the book of psalms 55:17, “שׂיח”, śı̂yach, (phonetic spelling is see'-akh), which means to commune, declare, muse, meditate. While shâ'al shâ'êl, “שׁאל שׁאל”, (pronounced as shaw-al', shaw-ale') meaning to inquire, demand, request, desire is used for pray in the book of psalms 122:6
In Zechariah 8:21 “חלה”, châlâh, (pronounced as khaw-law' (also used for prayer)) is the word used translated as pray here.
In the New Testament, “προσεύχομαι”, which if Romanized is proseuchomai, (pronounced as pros-yoo'-khom-ahee) meaning supplicate, worship is the commonest Greek word translated as “pray”.
Another word that is translated as pray is “δέομαι”, deomai, (phonetic spelling is deh'-om-ahee) (Mat 9:38); “παρακαλέω”, Romanized as parakaleō, (pronounced as par-ak-al-eh'-o (Mat 26:53)) and “δέομαι”, Romanized as deomai, (pronounced as deh'-om-ahee (Luk 10:2)); erōtaō, “ἐρωτάω”, (pronounced as er-o-tah'-o) is the wored used in Luke 14:18 and euchomai, “εὔχομαι”, (pronounced as yoo'-khom-ahee) is used for pray in the 2 Corinthians 13:7 all of these words mean to beg, petition, beseech, intreat and pray to God.
The term seed could be found mentioned in 280 places while its plural word, seeds, are mentioned in 5 places in the King James Version of the bible.
Seed is “זרע” in Hebrew word, but when it is Romanized it becomes zera‛, (pronounced as zeh'-rah) which means fruit, plant, child
In the book of Joel 1:17 perûdâh “פּרדה”, (pronounced as per-oo-daw') is the wored used for seed which means separated or kernel.
In the New Testament which is written in Greek, the word seed are “σπείρω”, speirō (pronounced as spi'-ro) and “σπόρος” which if Romanized is sporos, with this phonetic spelling, spor'-os, which means scatter, sow.
However, the word used for mustard seed as found in the book of the gospels apart from gospel according to saint John is “σίναπι”, its Romanized form is sinapi, sin'-ap-ee. (Mat 17:20; Mar 4:31; Luk 13:19)
When the bible talks about the plural form of the word seed which is seeds, the word used are different in Hebrew and Greek. In Hebrew the word used for seeds is kil'ayim, “כּלאים”, (pronounced as kil-ah'-yim) which means heterogeneities, divers or mingled seeds. In Greek however, the word used is “σπέρμα”, sperma, (pronounced as sper'-mah) which means offspring, something sown, seed which includes male sperm.
We cannot talk about seeds without talking about the sower. Sower is someone who plants the seeds or scatters the seeds over the ground for growing. Eight (8) places could the word sower be found in the King James Version of the bible. The Romanized spelling of the Hebrew word is related to seed, but they are different because sower has alphabet “a”, while seed has alphabet “e”. the word zâra‛, “זרע”, (pronounced as zaw-rah') is the Hebrew word for sower which implies disseminate, plant, fructify.
The commonest Greek word use for seed as stated above is the one used for sower in the New Testament and it is “σπείρω” speirō, (pronounced as spi'-ro), which means to scatter, sow.
The sower in the context of this discuss is the person offering the prayers, either to Yahweh, deities, or to some other persons (older or younger) in the case of a person asking another person for a favor or some other things.
- Earlier: We shall recall that one of the most ancient works of man is farming (agriculture) as demonstrated by Cain and Abel in the bible. Those children of the first man, Adam and Eve were farmers, one is animal-husbandry while the other was crop farmer.
“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.
“And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.” (Gen. 4:1-2)
This work, farming, continues till date, although there are several innovations into the work. What I shall be dwelling on is not the animal husbandry section of agriculture, but I will be focusing on crop farmers. In pressing home this topic, I will want us to recall the followings about sowers all over the world to be true.
Points to Note
1. Put Body Under Control/Restrictions: Sowers ensure that they put their bodies under control in view of the next planting season. Anyone who fails to discipline himself/herself would not be a good farmer or sower because such a one would eat up all the seeds which he or she ought to sow. A farmer disciplines himself not to eat all the seeds and would reserve some for the next planting season.
“And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.” (Jdg 6:11)
Gideon was gathering the fruits together here, obviously to keep part of it for the next planting season and from their enemies.
2. Preserved The Seeds: the farmers know that destroyed seeds, seeds without life in it could not be planted because if they are planted they would not germinate, thus, farmers would protect the seeds from being destroyed by pests and other ants.
“Wilt thou believe him, that he will bring home thy seed, and gather it into thy barn?” (Job 39:12)
“The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered.” (Joe 1:17)
It is seeds that have lives in them that would germinate, but those without lives in them would be rotten inside the soil and destroyed. Farmers would not want that; thus they will protect the seeds and keep them at safe places and if need be add some preservative chemicals.
3. Study and Follow Time: farmers study time. Jesus says, “now learn a parable of the fig tree; when his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:” (Mat. 24:32)
Farmers study the time of the year before they start planting, they will plant at the time when they know the weather will be conducive for the germination and growth of the planted seeds.
“He answered and said unto them, when it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.
“And in the morning, it will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” (Mat. 16:2-3)
“And he said also to the people, when ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, thsere cometh a shower; and so it is.
“And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, there will be heat; and it cometh to pass.
“Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?” (Luk 12:54-56)
Although things are changing now with the use of technology and science that allow for researches into different things in the world, but this does not stop farmers, most especially farmers in the rural areas who are living with little or no knowledge about the technology from studying and following the time before planting their seeds.
4. Plant in Hope: farmers plant their seeds with the hope of tomorrow in view.
“In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.” (Ecc 11:6)
Hope is what one looks forward to, what one expects and desires to happen, it is not what one has seen, as the bible says, “…but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?” (Rom 8:24)
In Hebrew bible here are some of the words used for hope; “תּקוה”, tiqvâh, (pronounced as tik-vaw'); “מּקוא מקוה מקוהo” when Romanized it becomes miqveh miqvêh miqvê', (pronounced as mik-veh', mik-vay', mik-vay') and “תּוחלת” when Romanized it becomes tôcheleth, (pronounced as to-kheh'-leth). And in greek word, the following words are found associated with hope; “ἐλπίς”, its Romanized form is elpis (pronounced as el-pece') and “ἐλπίζω”, its Romanized form is elpizō (pronounced as el-pid'-zo). All these words mean which means expectation, confidence, waited for.
Farmers plant their seeds in confidence, and patiently expecting the fruits that would come forth from what have been sown.
5. Leave Their Comfort Zones: farmers leave their homes which provides comfort for them to the rural areas or wilderness to plant their seeds. A farmer who wishes to sow inside his room would have to destroy so many things before that could be done.
6. Monitor What Has Been Sown: The farmer would continue to monitor what he has sown, to know the progress of its growth and if he needs to add some other things to it, make some changes to the germinated seeds or replant the seeds in case some do not germinate.
7. Do Not Allow Health Challenges to Hinder Him: sometimes some farmers would not be in perfect health to go to the field or farm to go and plant the seeds but because they know that if they do not do that at that time, they may not be able to sow the seeds again, thus, they will give it all it takes to go to the farm to go and plant those seeds. The farmer at this stage bears in mind the future, he knows that the future is vast than the present.
8. Takes Care of His Health: a farmer knows that no one could adequately monitor his farm like himself, as such he will take care of his health because he knows that if he breaks down all his labor may be in vain.
9. Examine Critically The Seeds: Before a sower sows the seed in his farm he would examine critically those seeds and would remove from among them those that are bad, those that will not germinate when sown. Farmers do not just plant any seed, they plant those with lives in them, those who are viable.
10. Seek For Good Soil: for the labor of a farmer not to be in vain, he would look for good soil to plant on. A farmer would not plant on rocky place because he knows that the sown seeds would barely germinate there and those that eventually germinated on such areas would soon die off as Jesus said in his parable of the sower.
“And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
“And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
“Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
“And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
“And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
“But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.” (Mat 13:3-8)
Although in some cases one could found all the kinds of soil Jesus said here on a plot of land, but the farmer would look for the kind of soil with minimal obstacles, mountains to plant on and that is why some farmers involve the use of some geologists before embarking on planting their seeds.
11. Cautiously Remove the Weeds: farmers remove the weeds to allow for the nutrients in the soil to satisfy the germinated seedlings planted. Although at the initial stage of planting as Jesus said in his parable, the weeds may not be separated from the germinated seedlings, because they are at the leafy stage, they are yet growing up and at this time the germinated plants could barely be separated from the weeds because they resemble, but after a while their distinctions would have shown and the plants could be separated from the weeds.
“Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, the kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
“But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
“But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
“So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
“He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
“But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
“Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” (Mat 13: 24-30)
You will see in verse 26 of Matthew 13 as above that Jesus said, “but when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.” At this stage both of the good seed and the weeds (or tares) resemble themselves such that they cannot be differentiated by their leaves, they are at the leafy stage and that was the reason the farmer cautioned his members of staff not to remove the tares at that stage because if they do, they shall discover that they have done more harm than good, they would have removed nearly (if not) all of the good seeds too. To avoid this the farmer asks them to give both the good seeds and the tares time.
Based on the above brief explanation, we shall see that when both weeds and the good seeds have grown to certain stage, the farmers would start to weed out those weeds lest it affects the growth and the productivity of the good seeds because if the farmers fail to do this, the seeds would be crowded out by the weeds they would be deprived of the needful nutrients needed for their growth making the farmers to labor in vain.
12. Patiently Wait For Harvest: The farmers after doing all these and more, would patiently be waiting for the time of harvest, he would not be examining the progress of the growth of the planted seeds by looking at the roots, or looking at the fruits at their flowering stages to see if cross fertilization or self-fertilization has been done on the flowers of the fruits. Any attempts by the farmer to do this would result in negative output because what they do would pollute and bring about distortion to the process of the fruit formation. Farmers learn to patiently wait for the fruit development after when he would start harvesting.
“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.” (Jas 5:7)
Harmonizing This With Prayer
It is no indisputable that the prayer we also pray is likened unto the explanations given on sowers above. Some of the prayers we pray if not all would pass through some of the things like this before we receive answers to those things we have asked of God.
It is therefore important for you and I to bear this in mind while praying and requesting something from God. In as much as we sometimes look expectantly anxious that God answers us some of our petitions this may not happen as at when we expect it to happen and during this time, instead of being sullen, sad, we should bear this topic in mind, that “my prayer is a sown seed and I would need to patiently wait for the harvest time”.
© 2019 OLUSEGUN