by: Steve Fawcett
Welcome to day 18 of our 4 week prayer adventure.
I love this story about George Washington Carver who is considered one of the greatest scientific minds of the twentieth century. Around the turn of the twentieth century,the agricultural economy of the South was suffering as the boll weevil devastated cotton crops. The soil was being depleted of nutrients because farmers planted cotton year in and year out. It was George Washington Carver who introduced the concept of crop rotation. He encouraged farmers to plant peanuts and they did. The strategy revived the soil, but farmers were frustrated because there was no market for peanuts. Their abundant peanut crop rotted in warehouses. When they complained to Carver, he did what he had always done. Carver prayed about it.
Carver routinely got up at 4 AM, walked through the woods, and asked God to reveal the mysteries of nature. He prayed Job 12:7-8: Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will teach you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you. Carver literally asked God to reveal the mysteries of nature. And God did.
In Carver’s own words:
I said, “Lord, why did you make the universe?”
The Lord replied, “Ask for something more in proportion to that little mind of yours.”
“Then why did you make the earth, Lord?” I asked.
“Your little mind still wants to know far too much,” replied God.
“Why did you make man, Lord?” I asked.
“Far too much. Far too much. Ask again,” replied God.
“Explain to me why you made plants, Lord,” I asked.
“Your little mind still wants to know far too much.”
So I meekly asked, “Lord, why did you make the peanut?”
And the Lord said, “For the modest proportions of your mind, I will grant you the mystery of the peanut. Take it inside your laboratory and separate it into water, fats, oils, gums, resins, sugars, starches and amino acids. Then recombine these under my three laws of compatibility, temperature and pressure. Then you will know why I made the peanut.”
On January 20, 1921, George Washington Carver testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on behalf of the United Peanut Association of America. The chairman, Joseph Fordney of Michigan, told him he had ten minutes. An hour and forty minutes later, the committee told George Washington Carver he could come back anytime he wanted. Carver mesmerized the committee by demonstrating dozens of uses for the peanut. In the end Carver discovered more than three hundred uses for the peanut. Or maybe more accurately, the Lord revealed more than three hundred uses. They included everything from glue to shaving cream to soap to insecticide to cosmetics to wood stains to fertilizer to linoleum to worcestershire sauce.
So the next time you shave or put on makeup, the next time you stain the deck or fertilize your garden, the next time you enjoy a good old-fashioned PBJ, remember that all of those things trace back to a man who had a habit of prayer at 4 AM. They weren’t good ideas. They were God ideas. His praying led to dreaming. And his dreaming led to worcestershire sauce!
In an interesting sidenote, Dr. Timothy Tennent, the President of Asbury Theological Seminary, makes a fascinating connection between the Coronavrius and the time preceding Easter. The word 'Corona' has its origin in Latin and it means crown. So, the virus is called Corona because when viewed under a microscope it actually looks like a thorny crown.
When you read the Gospel accounts of the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion, the Roman soldiers mockingly placed a thorny crown on Jesus because of the accusation that He claimed to be the King of the Jews! The thorny 'corona' on Jesus’ head was symbolic of His self-denial and sacrifice. It offers a dramatic picture of Jesus the true King who embraces our brokenness. While our world today is obsessed with the thorny crown virus, as Christians let us be focused on our Savior who wore a crown of thorns to give us eternal life!
Also, permit me to share 5 practical ideas one could try in their own prayer life.
1. Take a nature walk and praise God for who He is.
2. Drive or walk around your neighborhood and pray for your neighbors.
3. Create a prayer room or place in your home.
4. Memorize scriptures on prayer.
5. Do a Bible study on prayer.