Farmer Fred and Farmer Frederick each year held a friendly competition to determine who could grow the largest pumpkins.
Both farmers placed ads in the local newspaper to promote their prolific pumpkin production. They also competed to see who could place the largest and most exciting ads.
Since the friendly rivalry had begun three decades earlier, Farmer Fred enjoyed a two-to-one edge over Farmer Frederick for the largest pumpkin.
One evening, Farmer Frederick invited Farmer Fred and his wife, Frances, to his home to enjoy a dinner of barbecue chicken, baked potatoes, green beans, and homemade rolls. For dessert, Farmer Frederick’s wife, Francine, whipped up a couple of dreamy, creamy pumpkin pies. Frances made some homemade macaroni salad for the meal.
“Say, what has been the secret to your domination of our annual pumpkin growing contest?,” asked Farmer Frederick. “Are you using a secret fertilizer or something?”
“No, I use the same fertilizer you use,” said Farmer Fred.
“Do you use any unusual techniques?,” asked Farmer Frederick.
“Let me ask you a question,” said Farmer Fred. “Do you pray and ask God to help your pumpkins to grow into really big ones?”
“I guess I do pray a little at the beginning of each day,” said Farmer Frederick. “Probably just a couple of minutes every day. What about you? Do you pray to the Lord that He will help you to have a super crop of gigantic pumpkins?”
“Of course, I do,” replied Farmer Fred. “But first, I pray for my family and friends, my Christian brothers and sisters, as well as all the world’s poor people. And I pray that all those who don’t know Jesus as their savior will have an opportunity to hear about the awesome love He has for them. I probably spend about an hour in prayer, then I’ll pray for a few minutes for my pumpkins to thrive.”
“Sounds to me like you do a lot of praying,” said Farmer Frederick.
“Prayer to a loving heavenly father is one of the most powerful tools we have in this life,” observed Farmer Fred. “But quite often, we neglect using the tool and it starts getting rusty.”
“Don’t you think you might be praying too much?,” asked Farmer Frederick. “As much as you say you pray, it sounds a lot like work to me.”
“If prayer is approached from a proper perspective, it is, indeed, hard work,” said Farmer Fred. “But this kind of hard work is just as important a tool in raising gigantic pumpkins as any other tool in the farmer’s toolbox!”
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