My mom owns just one baseball card. You probably haven’t heard of Jose Pagan, but his baseball card reminds me that prayers are effective.
Sometimes I feel like what I am doing is a waste, like it isn’t really serving a purpose. Sometimes I feel like my prayers aren’t really making a difference, and that no good will EVER come of some situations. I pray for friends to become Christians, but after 10 years, they still haven’t made up their minds to follow Christ.
Recently, I read a passage in the Bible that made me stop and think. In John 4:35-38, Jesus says: "Do you think the work of harvesting will not begin until the summer ends four months from now? Look around you! Vast fields are ripening all around us and are ready now for the harvest. The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! You know the saying, ‘One person plants and someone else harvests.’ And it’s true. I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and you will gather the harvest."
Sometimes God allows us to harvest, but most of the time we are just planting seeds. Every action that we do for the Kingdom is a seed that will bear fruit. No good deed or prayer is ever wasted. You may not see the fruit of your actions until you get to heaven, but what you do is never for nothing.
But back to the baseball card. My mom told me that when she was a little girl, she would pray every night before bed that her favorite local baseball player, Jose Pagan, would come to know the Lord. Years and years later, when she was grown-up, she read a feature in a newspaper that mentioned the fact that Jose Pagan had become a Christian. Could it be that the prayers of a little girl in the ’50s affected this man’s eternal life?
I love this story because I sincerely believe that just by praying, my mom planted a seed that bore fruit. I can’t prove that her prayers made the difference in Jose Pagan’s life, but I do believe that her prayers had an impact on the eternity of that little-known major league baseball player. My mom didn’t "harvest," but she did eventually see the fruit of her labor.
This story gives me hope that my prayers make a lasting difference, no matter how small, no matter how insignificant, no matter how wildly hopeless the situation appears to my human perspective. Because of this story, I know that my prayers matter. I know that anything done for the Kingdom of God is never for nothing.
You may never see the impact of your actions in this life, but imagine what you will learn when you get to heaven. Think about when my mom gets to heaven. Jose Pagan will be there, and when he sees her he will know that she prayed for him—and that her prayers made a difference.
"The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much." —James 5:16[Heather Mann is a Calif-Oregonian who now resides in Houston, Texas.]