Cultivating Encouragement through Prayer

The following post is by Gene Whitehead as part of the Life-Changing Scriptures for Writers Project.

“For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.” (Isaiah 61:11, ESV) 

Let’s be honest: there is so much weight in this world, things that weigh against our dreams, ideas, goals and certainly against our spirit. Discouragement comes often if it’s allowed to run unchecked, and this is usually where our motivation gets buried and even our faith can be challenged.

Yet here, Isaiah presents us with imagery that represents life and that brings hope. The prophet shares with us an illustration of new life, of life that is fruitful and abundant. Just like the vibrant, life abounding Eden at the time of creation, Isaiah’s example of a garden illustrates a full, bountiful life.

After a long, cold winter, the earth “brings forth its sprouts” as the soil warms in the land. This thawing land, much like our souls and minds, if cultivated, taken care of and watered is productive, causing “what is sown in it to sprout up.” What does this cultivation of our spirit look like? It begins with prayer, because a praying soul is a prepared soul. The soul that is in consistent prayer is one that is prepared for the Lord to sow within it ideas, encouragement, direction and the things of God that “sprout up” to an abundant life.

For you and I to overcome the unique challenges of a writer and to continually create, pray, worship and spend time in God’s word is the soil where the Lord will sow and where our imagination and words can be harnessed. This is where we are enabled to give the gifts of truth and life to our readers. By no means is it simple to continually pour our stories and our words out to others. You and I need to care for and nurture that which the Lord has given us so that, in giving through our writing to others, we aren’t drained of His presence in our work.

Additionally, the life that is being cultivated through consistent prayer is also being prepared for the sowing of the Word of the Lord, which always leads one to heartfelt worship. These are the ingredients that bring a fervency for truth that overcomes the obstacles and discouragements, and that bring fresh ideas, guidance and praise that “sprouts up” and cannot be contained!

Father God, we pray that you alone would continue to prepare the soil of our hearts and minds for the gifts that you have given us. Our prayer is that in you alone we may find encouragement and direction for the work you have given us, and that the words you give us to share would cultivate and prepare the hearts and minds of those who read them. Ultimately, we pray, Lord, for righteousness and praise for only you to sprout up among your people and before all of the nations!

Gene Whitehead works in cross-cultural ministries and serves long term overseas. He is currently enrolled in the Master of Ministry program through Bible University Nova Scotia and writes on his blog at, where his passion is helping readers view life and the world we live in through the lens of Scripture.

Life-Changing Scriptures for Writers is a project curated by Ed Cyzewski, Kelly Boyer Sagert, and Kelly Youngblood and is published on Fridays.

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One thought on “Cultivating Encouragement through Prayer

  1. Preparing our hearts to seek the LORD, through much prayer and Bible study, will not only encourage our hearts but also keep us from doing evil. (2 Chronicles 12:14;19:3). May the seeds sown by the LORD in our hearts find fertile ground.

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