When Need Becomes Supply

by Peter Black

Have you ever considered that the practice of picking up on the needs of others and praying for them, or receiving a burden to intercede in prayer for a situation – whether an individual’s need, a ministry, or natural disaster, or for whole nations – may be a form of gleaning? Prayer, like gleaning, can be hard work and seem at times to result in little effect for the degree of effort and time that goes into it. Oh, but it can be rewarding too.

Ruth’s privilege of gleaning in the fields of Boaz provided for her need and that of her dear mother-in-law Naomi (Ref. Ruth Chapter 2). The young widow was evidently unaware that the workers had been instructed to drop “handfuls of purpose” (cp. versions with the KJV /AV, esp. vv 15-18), to provide for Naomi and herself a more bountiful provision than it otherwise would have been.

Ordinarily we wouldn’t think of need as being the same thing as supply. Yet, perhaps for those of us engaged in the ministry of prayer and intercession, the Lord drops others’ needs before us day by day, bringing them to our attention and into our line of vision. And then, as we pick them up, like gleaned handfuls and offer them up before the throne of grace in prayer, He ‘alchemizes’ them into His bountiful supply.

In this way need becomes opportunity, and opportunity, taken in accordance with the wisdom and will of God, has potential to result in His supply or solution and provision.

Maybe this idea stretches the analogy (of gleaning, and handfuls dropped on purpose) a little far to make a point. I am sure, however, that the thought has merit, for as diligent intercessors we are participants – co-labourers – together with God in His kingdom purpose. We are benefitted in the process, for while seeking to secure blessing for others, we too, are blessed.

Proverbs 11:25 (NIV): “A generous [person] will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” That surely goes for being engaged in ministry under the cover of prayer!