Seed the Clouds
February 19, 2021
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November 13, 1946, a plane took off from the Schenectady County Airport with a rather unique payload—six pounds of dry ice. Its mission? To seed the clouds with solidified carbon dioxide, in hopes of creating enough condensation to cause precipitation.
Upon takeoff, Schaefer flew his single-propeller plane into a cumulus cloud and dumped the dry ice. Eyewitnesses on the ground said that the cloud seemed to explode. The subsequent snowfall was visible for forty miles. The GE Monogram had a little fun with Schaefer’s breakthrough: “Schaefer made it snow this afternoon over Pittsfield! Next week he walks on water.”
The science of seeding clouds may be a modern-day marvel, but the idea is as old as the prophet Elijah. After a famine that lasted three and a half years, Elijah seeded the clouds with a brave prayer.
Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel and bowed low to the ground and prayed with his face between his knees.
When was the last time you found yourself doubled over in prayer? The posture that Elijah assumes indicates profound humility and extreme intensity. He’s not just praying; he’s believing in God for a miracle. I have no issue with short blessings before meals. Why? I believe in eating food while it’s hot. That said, there are moments when you need to press in and pray through. You need to seed the clouds with contending prayer.
Simply put, sow today what you want to see tomorrow! Identify the daily rituals that have the highest return on investment and the daily habits that are high leverage points, and then prioritize them. Right at the top of the list? Don’t underestimate the power of a single brave prayer! Of course, that’s the tip of the iceberg.
The only ceiling on your intimacy with God and your impact on the world is daily spiritual disciplines. For me, winning the day starts with my daily Bible reading plan—that is the seedbed of faith. And I don’t just read through it; I meditate on it. Meditation is more than daydreaming; it’s cloud seeding! Reading gets us into God’s Word. Meditation gets God’s Word into us.
You can seed the clouds with something as simple as a smile. You can shift the atmosphere with your attitude. You can alter the trajectory of someone’s life with a small act of kindness. You seed the clouds with every sacrifice you make, every risk you take.
Seeding clouds is dreaming big by thinking long, and it starts with praying hard. Praying without planning is a waste of time, while planning without praying is a waste of energy. It’s also called the sin of presumption. The good news? The more you pray, the bigger you dream. And the bigger you dream, the more you have to pray!
Let me double back to Elijah one more time. At first, there was no visible evidence of God answering his prayer for rain. That is when most of us give up, but Elijah doubled down.
“Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked.
“There is nothing there,” he said.
Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.”
The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.”
The greatest tragedy in life is that prayers go unanswered because they go unasked. God won’t answer 100 percent of the prayers you don’t pray! While we’re on the subject, you won’t accomplish 100 percent of the goals you don’t set. But let me flip that script. Prayer is the way we write history before it happens! It’s the difference between letting things happen and making things happen. You’ve got to pray through to the breakthrough! If you want to win the day, you can’t wish upon a star. You have to seed the clouds with brave prayers!
Don’t underestimate the power of a single seed, a single prayer! It has the power to change anything, change everything. The same goes for the seeds of faith, hope, and love. Don’t worry about the outcomes; focus on inputs. We plant and water, but God gives the increase!
Don’t despise the day of small beginnings or clouds the size of a man’s hand. God can move mountains with a mustard seed of faith! What is your God-sized vision? What is your God-given passion? What are you waiting for?
Excerpted from Win the Day: 7 Daily Habits to Help You Stress Less & Accomplish More. Copyright © 2020 by Mark Batterson. Used by permission of Multnomah, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Mark Batterson serves as lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. NCC also owns and operates Ebenezers Coffeehouse, The Miracle Theatre, and the DC Dream Center. Mark holds a doctor of ministry degree from Regent University and is the New York Times bestselling author of 17 books, including The Circle Maker, Chase the Lion, and Whisper. Mark and his wife, Lora, have three children and live on Capitol Hill.