Pray or Plan?


To pray or to plan?
 
The short answer is YES! 
 
When it comes down to doing life in today's rushed world, I think we can all agree that the better you plan, the better off you are. 
 
But what does that have to do with doing all of life through prayer?
 
Everything! Where do you think Jesus got his plans for the day? Since he was always looking to his Father, the plans for the day or the week had to come from his prayer times in the early morning. 
 
I have found this to be particularly liberating. Pray and let the plan(s) flow from your time with your Father. 
 
Here are some practical tips I have picked up through the years. 
 
1. One of my favorite prayer cards is simply labeled: "Myself: my commitment to God". The Scripture I use is Proverbs 16:3, "Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established." (See how the Bible promises that the plan(s) will flow from the commitment?) 
 
2. On the same card, I ask for wisdom. The Father loves it when we do this. It shows we see him for who he is and that pleases him. In fact, according to James 1, he loves to give wisdom when we ask for it. 
 
3. After committing our way (our day, our year, or our project) to the Lord and asking for wisdom, watch how the plans will come together. Something may come to you right then while you are praying. Or, you may pick up wisdom for your plan in a conversation with a friend, in a Bible passage you are reading, or in a sermon. One can never predict how the Spirit is going to weave the tapestry of the story. 
 
4. Once you have a plan down on paper, set about to faithfully execute it. Sometimes, faithful execution is the hardest part. But this is all part of the prayer story you are in. Note the areas where you need repentance and pray for help. Note things you learn and jot them down as you go through the plan. Note areas where it occurs to you that you need more obedience from your heart. Personally, I find it is in this part that I ask for more and more faith. Your prayer card(s) will help you here. 
 
5. Be adaptable. It's okay to adjust the plan as long as you are praying about it and seeking the Spirit's lead. Remember, in being adaptable to changing circumstances, you are fully engaging the story of what the Spirit is doing IN you, not just through you. 
 
6. Enjoy the fruit! Yes, don't forget to enjoy the whole story as much as possible. You have committed your work unto the Lord and he is blessing because he loves it! Love it with him.
 
7. Lastly, every so often, just look at the card and recall the story. You cannot help but thank God. That is genuine and often robust worship. 
 
Don't forget our Father loves to put you in situations where you are in over your head. You have the plan, but you don't have the expertise or the money or the personnel or....well, you get the picture. 
 
He is watching and listening to see if you will just sit there and worry or if you will excitedly ask big things of him. Ask away, thinking all the while, "I can't wait to see what the Father is going to do with this." 
 
Happy praying,
 
Bob Allums 
Director of seeJesus Seminars: A Praying Life

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