“The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” (Matthew 13:33 NIV)
That's it. That's all there is to this parable. Jesus doesn't give an explanation; he doesn't even tell what the end result is; we are left to listen to the Holy Spirit and figure out what it means to us. I’ve heard many different interpretations of this teeny tiny parable. When I read this passage, I thought about prayer. I believe that prayer is the yeast of the Kingdom in this world. In Paul's letter to the Thessalonians, he wrote: "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Jesus Christ." (1Thessalonians 5:16-17 NIV) And to the Ephesians he wrote: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people." (Ephesians 6:18, NIV) We are encouraged to pray for all the Lord's people: for our enemies, for our neighbors, for our friends, for our leaders… prayer is like yeast. As we pray for others, we help to spread the Kingdom. Every time that we say the Lord's Prayer we say, "Thy Kingdom Come." We are asking the Lord to be the yeast not only in our lives but in the lives of all people. We are asking for the Kingdom of God to be here and now and big and wonderful. We are asking for the yeast to spread and for all to discover the Kingdom that is within and to embrace it and to embrace the one King who reigns over the Kingdom, who reigns over all.
When I went to visit a friend on the other side of the country in Utah, I gave her a prayer shawl that I made. When I make a prayer shawl for someone I pray as I knit or crochet. Along with the shawl, I wrote a letter to my friend that included many of the prayers. Some of the prayers were for her, but many were for others – other people who have touched her life and people that she doesn’t even know. I knew that she would not want it to be "all about her" so I included others. Now, every time that she uses her shawl for warmth or comfort, she'll think about the prayers and she may even pray for those people.
The more people that we pray for, to be healed, comforted, guided or saved, the bigger the Kingdom grows. It grows within me as I pray for others because I'm letting go of the self-centeredness that squelches the growth of the Kingdom. The Kingdom grows as more and more people feel the power of my prayers and begin to pray themselves. When we can let go of our petty needs, and pray for the Kingdom to come and grow, we are moving into a new maturity in our faith. Prayers for the Kingdom do make us bigger on the inside.Read more at: www.refreshinghope.org