Rudyard Kipling wrote that half a proper gardener’s work is done on his knees. A large part of this lowly work is due to weeds. Weeding is a humble and personal chore. I have to get down close to the earth, so I can see to pull the weed out by its roots. Or I may need to untangle the weed from a plant I want to save. As I do the tedious pulling, I also check on my garden’s condition, the health of plants, the arrival of seedlings. My face is right there close, and I can see into blossoms and smell the fragrances.

Since I hand-weed my garden, I know what’s in it. I’ve learned by experience and observation which seedling will become a weed and which is a volunteer marigold seedling, come to live among the lilies. Even though weeds grow fast and show up in every garden bed, I am in no hurry. The garden is one place where time seems stilled, where I can be relaxed even as I work.

Just as weeding keeps me involved and intimate with my garden, praying maintains my personal relationship with God. I bend my knees and bow my heart, and God allows me to grow in intimacy with Him. He invites me to enjoy the pleasure of His company. His holiness and love draw me to Him in humility, worship, and surrender. He puts His hand on my life and touches those “weeds” that hinder growth, either outright sin or just hindrances. And He instructs me to weed them out. I confess and repent, and ask for help, and the Lord assures me of His forgiveness, love, and constant presence. He strengthens my desire to maintain my newly weeded heart.

A newly weeded garden is a delightful sight. Two weeks ago, several friends helped us weed many garden beds and other areas on our hill to get it ready for a garden party. No weeds were left between the bricks on the path, no more weeds lurked among the liriope or around the garden fence. The whole hill (even behind the garage!) shone because of our friends’ gifts of hours of weeding. Yesterday I walked around the hill and saw how many weeds were already back and growing fast. So I will go into the garden today, and kneel as I weed, which is also the ideal posture for prayer.