An English minister, Leslie Stokes, once told the following parable:
Once upon a time there was a tree – a lovely tree, shapely, strong, and stately. However, appearances cannot always be trusted. Inwardly, the tree knew that its massive strength was beginning to wane. When the wind was strong it felt itself shaking ominously. It heard suspicious creaks and groans in its wood. The tree attempted to compensate for this weakness by growing another branch or two. IT then looked stronger and safer than ever.
When the next gale blew, however, there was a terrific snapping of roots, and but for the support of a friendly neighboring tree, the stately tree would have crashed to the ground.
Over time, the tree recovered from its shock and began to re-anchor its roots, albeit its shape had been altered and it now leaned slightly. It looked at its neighbor with curiosity, wondering how it had withstood the storm. The tree asked, “How is it that you not only stood your ground but were able to help me?”
The neighboring tree replied, “That’s easy to answer. When you were busy growing new branches, I was growing deeper roots.”
Prayer causes our roots to grow, strengthening us, so that our branches are able to support others and produce fruits.
Epaphras who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. ~ Colossians 4:12