MAR 31, 2019: HEARING GOD’S WORD (MARK 4:1-20)

In Mark 4 Jesus gives a parable of the sower which teaches us about how we are to hear God’s Word. The parable teaches us how the powerful word that saves and sanctify people may be seemingly impotent—if the heart that hears is hardened. When we read the Bible or hear God’s word being preached, we need to pray the following prayers:

1. Father, protect us from the evil one.

The seeds that falls along the path are likened to the situation where “Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown” in the hearts of the hearer (Mark 4:15). Do you know that Satan is real and Satan does not want you to hear, delight in or submit to God’s word? Whenever you read the Bible, whenever you hear the word of God being preached, you are in the midst of a spiritual warfare. When the word does not make sense, you don’t even try to understand, but tell yourself, ‘Bible is too hard to understand.’ When you hear sermon, you judge the preacher and say, “he is boring,” or “what he is saying is irrelevant to me.” You may feel physically tired and sleep through the message. Or you may simply turn the switch off of your mind. You forget what was said, and you move on with your life. The Word of God has had no life-giving power upon your life. You sat through the sermon, but the word made no impact upon your soul. Well, you just allowed Satan to have his way. Church, we must pray against the schemes of the enemy. We must pray for ourselves and for one another for spiritual vigilance, so that when the word of God is read or preached, Satan will not take away the word being sown. We must pray for God’s protection over us from the enemy.

2. Father, break up our hardened hearts.

The seeds that falls on rocky ground are likened to hearers of God’s word who “immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away” (Mark 4:16-17). Many of you are in this category. You do hear a message and get enlightened and even feel convicted. You receive the word with joy, but then you have no spiritual depth or resilience. You have been churched for a long time. You have heard hundreds of sermons, but you have not grown in your love for the Lord or have not borne much fruit. Your heart has been hardened. Some of you have a diamond-hard heart. You must take heed to Hosea 10:12: “Break ups your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.” We must pray that for ourselves and for one another, that our hardened hearts will be broken and be ready to receive the word of God being preached. 

3. Father, clear up our half-hearted hearts.

The seeds that falls on the thorns are likened to hearers of God’s word that are being choked by “the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things.” (Mark 4:18). Aren’t many of us in this category? We are under so much pressure living in this world with many concerns, cares, temptations, struggling with lust and greed. We must be honest about how those things choke spiritual life out of us. And we must take heed to the following word from Jeremiah: “Break up your unplowed ground and do not sow among the thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord. Circumcise your hearts.” (Jeremiah 4:3). We must pray for the miracle of circumcision of our hearts so that the powerful word of God does not get choked. We must pray that God will clear up our half-hearted hearts. We must pray that God will give us a good heart that will receive God’s word humbly and wholeheartedly, so that the word of God will save, sanctify and beautify us.

This week’s Bible reading schedule:

Monday: Mark 6:1-29 Thursday: Mark 8:1-21
Tuesday: Mark 6:30-56 Friday: Mark 8:22-38
Wednesday: Mark 7 Saturday: Mark 9:1-29