Godly Planning Begins with Prayer

We must plan biblically in order to steward faithfully. That is the big idea in this series of blog posts on planning. God has given us all we have - our time, talents, treasures, resources, job, opportunities, families - all of it is a gift from him (Jas. 1:17). It is our job then as his people and as recipients of his gifts, to faithfully steward what he has given us - this begins with planning.

If our gifts come from God, and if our stewardship is aimed at obeying and pleasing God, then our planning, likewise, must start with and be centered around God. As we seek to make plans, we need to first seek God; this means that Godly planning must begin with prayer.

Proverbs 16:3
[3] Commit your work to the LORD,
and your plans will be established. (ESV)

As God’s people, we can’t plan independently of God. Our family, finances, friendships, community, activities - all areas of life must be brought first to God, pursuing his will and wisdom, and planning with the aim of his glory.

This sounds simple enough, but we must be careful here because we Christians can be quite crafty in figuring out ways make our plans look God-centered, when they are in fact self-centered. We are often so good at this, that we even deceive ourselves.

Here are a few traps to watch out for:

  • Treating God like the Building Permit department: We craft our plans, architect our life, determine course and make important decisions, then bring the decisions to God and ask him to issue us blessing, permission, and provision.
  • Divorcing spiritual from practical: We include God in the “spiritual” parts of life, but leave him out in the “practical” parts (how we invest our money or make our budget, where we work, where we live or move to, how we manage our calendar, etc.)
  • Seeking God in Crisis: We come to God in adversity, when we need help, but forget about him in prosperity, when things are going well.
  • Treating God like a Genie: We utter a few half-hearted prayers for guidance, then proceed to map our own route.
  • Treating God like Santa Clause: Making a pitch to God to get it on his radar, expressing our heart felt desire and longing - “If I get my request on his radar, and he knows how much I want it, then maybe he’ll give it to me.”
  • Making deals with God: Once I get what I’m after, I’ll re-prioritize my time, priorities, and dollars. I’ll pray more, read scripture more, give more, attend church more, etc.
  • Treating God like cheerleader: We make a plan or decision, then “pray about it”, and God always seems to agree with us. In this trap, God functions like a cheerleader, to affirm us and encourage us forward in the plans we’ve made.

What we need to understand is that there is a difference between ritual and relationship. In all of the above traps, we are treating God like a distant deity, and prayer like a ritual we need to perform to obtain what we want. Asking God to approve our already-made plans is different than making our requests known to heavenly Father who knows us, cares for us, and loves us. The Christian makes his plans under God and brings and entrusts his plans to God in the context of a Father-son relationship with God.

Here are a few questions to ask and pray through as we seek God in our planning:

  • Will this plan glorify you? Is it in line with the Scriptures?
  • What are my heart motivations in this plan? Search my heart, help me to see what I may not see.
  • Will I thrive spiritually if I do this? Will my family thrive spiritually?
  • What does my family think about this plan? What does my church family think? Lord, give me humility to consider their feedback and work through it in prayer.
  • Will this plan contribute to building your Kingdom?

Godly planning seeks God first, includes humility to adjust if needed, and entrusts the plan completely to. We can do this with total confidence because he is our Father, and His plans are ultimately the best plans.

Let us, as Christ so often did, bring our plans before The Father and commit them to him. May we seek, ask, and trust Him in all of our planning, remembering that he is our Father, and His plans are Ultimatley the best plans.

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