Monday, 01 February 2021 15:55
Planning & PrayerWritten by Jeron Parkins
What’s the relationship between making plans and prayer? Do we pray for God to tell us exactly what to do before we start doing ministry? Do we wait till he gives us a blueprint or a roadmap before we attempt to serve people or do ministry or start a new work? Or do we make plans and set them in motion all the while prayerfully asking God to bless them?
What’s true is that God has already told us much of his will in the Bible. He’s told us that he wants us to glorify him. He has told us he wants us to be holy. He’s told us to make disciples. He has told us to do ministry and serve one another in love. He’s told us to share the good news. He’s told us to worship and to fellowship. He’s told us how he wants us to live in regards to what is right and wrong.
What’s also true is that God gave individuals in the Bible clear and specific directions in accomplishing certain tasks. He told Noah to build and ark and gave him a blueprint. He called Abram to leave his people and to go to the place where he would he would show him. He called Moses and Israel to build a tabernacle and gave specific directions.
But is it God’s normal method to give us specific details about how he wants us to make disciples or start a ministry? For instance, maybe you have been considering starting a Bible Study or a Community Group, or maybe you are thinking of starting a business. Maybe you think you could be a good host or be used by God to provide a product that blesses people’s lives. Do we wait until there is a definite sign or confirmation, or do we move forward in faith and start the group?
Fact: God is a personal God. He can speak to us at any time.
Fact: God is working in our world. He is working in our community. He is working in the lives of people.
Fact: God calls us to pray. He wants us to be dependent upon him. He wants us to ask what we should do.
Question: Do we really want to know what God wants? Are we really committed to doing his will? We shouldn’t ask God for direction if we have no intention of doing what he says. When we pray we should be willing to do what God says.
Question: Are we listening? Are we close to God? It’s hard to hear God’s voice if we aren’t listening. If we aren’t drawing near to God, spending time in his presence, how can we hear? Seeking the will of God requires time and relationship.
Question: How does God speak? God speaks to us primarily through the Bible by the Holy Spirit. God’s truth and God’s will in the scriptures are confirmed by the Spirit to us. God speaks to us in prayer. When we pray we are having an encounter with God. If while in prayer or in studying the Bible we come to believe God is telling us to do something specific, we should take it seriously. First we verify our sense of what God says by measuring it against Scripture (if it’s contrary to the scriptures we are not hearing the voice of God), and by running it through the filter of the church (if mature Christians who know us don’t encourage us in it, we should question if we heard from God). Same with circumstances that seem to be a message from God – run it through the filter of the Word and the Church.
Question: Is our purpose to glorify God? Are we wanting to please him or is what we are doing more about us and our glory? If it isn’t about loving God and loving others we probably need to circle back to our motives and our purpose.
My general thinking is this:
- We shouldn’t come up with our plans and then after we’ve made up our minds, baptize our plans in prayer and believe that our plans “have to succeed” because we’ve prayed over them. If we try to use prayer as a magic spell to guarantee the success of our plans, we are misusing prayer. We can’t force God to do what we want by “praying harder” or by fasting or trying harder. Such legalistic thinking is bound to disappoint and frustrate.
- God has told us in the Bible what he wants and he’s given us general boundaries that we can operate in. For instance we don’t have to ask the Lord if we should share the gospel. We don’t have to ask God whether he wants us to study the Bible. We don’t have to ask God if it’s ok to marry a Christian. We don’t have to ask God if its ok to help people in their problems. He’s given us a green light in these things. He has called us to glorify him and serve him and gives us a lot of freedom to do so (within the boundaries of holiness and love).
- However, when we have an idea for doing something that the Bible has told us is ok, (like leading a Bible study or starting a business or marrying a Christian) we should pray first. While we have the freedom to do such things, maybe God has something else in mind? We can do a lot of good things, but perhaps God has something specific in mind? Maybe he is working in a certain way or in a certain place and he wants you to join him there, instead of what you have in mind? Pray and submit yourself and your plans and desires to God and ask his permission, his direction, and then listen.
- Most of the time God doesn’t give us a blueprint or a roadmap for the next few years. Most of the time God leaves the specifics up to us to figure out. So after praying, if we don’t sense God saying no or God doesn’t give us specific direction otherwise, we should start that ministry or business for God’s glory, we should make plans that we think are appropriate and meaningful and we should ask God to guide our steps for his glory. Planning and prayer should go together. We are to step out in faith in Jesus’ name and make plans and take action. But we should do so prayerfully, asking God to show us what is best, asking him to keep us on the right path.
Here’s some of what’s happening at Living Water in the near future…
SATURDAY MASK ONLY SERVICE at 6:00 p.m.
SUNDAY at 9:00 a.m. NURSERY
SUNDAY at 10:45 a.m. NURSERY, CHILDREN’S MINISTRY, and TEEN STUDY
It’s a great time to start a new Community Group! Please call Pastor Bo if you are interested. It’s also a great time to join a Community Group! Please see the Community Group Board in the hallway. We all need a community of brothers and sisters who love us and who are there for us in our time of need. We all need a community of faith that encourages one another to keep walking with Jesus even when things get hard. We all need an outlet to serve others and exercise our gifts. Don’t stay isolated in 2021! Get connected!
ANNUAL CHURCH BUSINESS MEETING March 7
This year might be a little different but our fiscal year ends February 28 and so we will gather (likely both in person and virtually) March 7th to pass a new budget and elect new church officers. Please be in prayer for ministry leaders as they prepare new year budget requests and for the Facility and Finance Team as they work with Pastor Greg and the Elder Board to put a final budget proposal together by mid – February. A Nominating Committee will be formed soon to make nominations for various elected positions, to be voted on at the March 7 meeting.
EASTER SERVICES April 4
I’m so excited about Easter this year! I’m praying it will mark a turning point in our world. Please start praying about who you will invite to Easter Worship Services on April 4th at 8:15, 9:30 or 11:00 am.
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL June 28-July 2
GUATEMALA MISSION TRIP June 26-July 3
Summer 2021 Guatemala trip. We are scheduled for June 26-July 3, 2021. Cost is approximately $1,300.
REIGN YOUTH GROUP MISSIONS WEEK July 11-16
EAGLE LAKE DAY CAMP July 19-23
Early registration for Eagle Lake is open now and ends January 31st. Families get $25 off if they register before January 31. Please contact Pastor Bo for more information. There will be an organizational meeting sometime in January for those interested in serving on the local staff team.
GLOBAL LEADERSHIP SUMMMIT August 5-6
Thanks for reading!
Thanks for serving the Lord!
Published in General Church News