I had read the words many times. Indeed, I had pondered them and mulled them over in my mind for days. What did the Psalmist mean when he said, “Those who sow in tears . . . he will surely come back with shouts of joy carrying his sheaves with him”? Why the tears?

Then it came to me. I remembered walking through an African village and seeing the grain bins empty. The people were starving, and they had planted the seeds for a new harvest. If those seeds did not come up, many of the villagers, including children, would die of starvation. It became very clear to me that the village farmer planted his seeds in tears because he knew it would mean the difference between life and death. No doubt he would call to God in desperation asking, yea, even begging for God to bring showers of rain on the parched ground so the seed would grow and produce fruit.

Oklahoma is parched ground. Our state continues in spiritual decline. We are less Christian today than we have ever been in our history. Large segments of our people have never had the seed of the Gospel personally planted in their hearts. The seed will not grow if it is not sown. If it is not sown with tears of desperation, the showers of blessings may not come.

On March 8 and 9, we are asking Oklahoma Baptists to pray across Oklahoma. On March 8, we will prayer walk our neighborhoods and drive down our country lanes, praying over houses and the people who live in them. On March 9, we are asking our churches to spend concentrated time in prayer for the seeds that will be sown on March 15 as we seek to plant the seeds of the Gospel in 1.2 million homes in Oklahoma.

Praying across Oklahoma is a vital part of our effort to sow down our state with the Gospel. I am asking God to break my heart and yours for the lost in our state. I desire for Him to break our hearts over the Christless eternity awaiting those who are behind the doors to which we will distribute the Gospel. May that reality bring us to tears.

I am afraid we try to reap spiritual harvest where we have not sown. I am also assured that the great need before us is a prayer-bathed effort of seed sowing. Prayer and sowing go hand in hand.

I hope you and your church will take a new look at your community. Stop and consider the houses you pass every day where lost people live. After we live somewhere for a while, we tend to see just houses, not families. Some of us have lived in the same community for years and think we know nearly everyone. But I challenge you to stop and consider each house you pass. Breathe a prayer over the people behind the closed door. Ask God to draw them to Himself.

While March 8 and 9 have been set aside as days of prayer for the seed sowing effort, we must go beyond a one-time prayer emphasis. We must develop a constant effort of prayer for the lost in our Sunday Schools and church services. Our worship should resound with weeping and tears over the lost and then tears and shouts of joy when they are saved.

How long has it been since your Sunday School class or church service had consistent and regular prayer for lost people by name? I propose that if we pray specifically, God will answer specifically.

I remind you of the promise. When we sow in tears, we will reap with joyful shouts. So it is time to weep and pray. Then we will reap and shout.