Mama Prayed My Crops Would Fail

Reflections from the Radio

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Mama prayed. Two of the most potent words in the English language.

Biblical Examples

In the Bible we see examples of Mama Prayed with Hannah (1 Samuel 1-2), Elizabeth (Luke 1:41-45), and Mary (Luke 1:46-55).

We also find in Scripture the examples of women who tried to use their own ingenuity rather than pray. Think of Sarai (Genesis 16:1-2), Rachel (Genesis 30:3-5), and Leah (Genesis 30:9-10). Their plans may have added children to their families, but the resulting consequences have not always been ideal.

The Lonesome Fugitive

In 1967 Merle Haggard released an album titled I’m a Lonesome Fugitive. The title song tells the story of a lonely man on the run from the law. It includes this key line which revealed that the fugitive’s mama prayed.

I raised a lot of Cain back in my younger days,
While Mama used to pray my crops would fail.
–Merle Haggard

With an interesting biblically-based reference, this lonely man acknowledges that his youth was spent raising Cain or living in a manner that was displeasing to God. The opposite expression would be raising Abel or raising Seth. Both of these men were God fearers. Somehow we have developed a phrase about Eve’s raising a boy who would spend his life on the run.

For Haggard this lonesome fugitive recognized that his wild side was thwarted by one thing – Mama Prayed. Mothers who spend time on their knees before the heavenly Father may very well be the only road block on their child’s journey down the wrong path. It may also be the only open gate for a prodigal child to return home from his wondering ways.

A Prayer Model for Mamas

Notice that the fugitive’s mom did not merely pray for his son to be healthy, happy, and successful. She specifically prayed that those crops of wild oats would not grow to fruition nor be harvested. Too often I hear parents say that they would be satisfied if their children are healthy and happy. Others are satisfied if their kids are successful. The fugitive’s mom would have none of that. She did not want her son to be a successful farmer of wild oats. She would rather he experience famine.

Perhaps what children need most is the Father’s discipline that makes them sorrow. Would not it be better for your child if they experienced godly sorrow leading to repentance? Would it not be preferable for your child to find idols unfulfilling and find that only Jesus truly satisfies their soul?

Once Mama determines what is eternally best for their child, she can effectively pray for that child. If you have a wayward child, I hope you will long for and pray for that child to find joy in the Lord Jesus. All other requests pale in significance to this one.


I’m a Lonesome Fugitive Lyrics

Down every road there’s always one more city
I’m on the run, the highway is my home
I raised a lot of Cain back in my younger days
While Mama used to pray my crops would fail
I’m a hunted fugitive with just two ways:
Outrun the law or spend my life in jail

I’d like to settle down but they won’t let me
A fugitive must be a rolling stone
Down every road there’s always one more city
I’m on the run, the highway is my home

I’m lonely but I can’t afford the luxury
Of having one I love to come along
She’d only slow me down and they’d catch up with me
For he who travels fastest goes alone

I’d like to settle down but they won’t let me
A fugitive must be a rolling stone
Down every road there’s always one more city
I’m on the run, the highway is my home

I’m on the run, the highway is my home

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