I am a planner by nature. I like to have a plan, even if I don’t stick to it. If the plan goes off track, I plan some more. James had some words of wisdom for the planners of the world.
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15 (NIV)
I find myself praying for someone, and my intentions are good and it starts out well. I say, Lord, I pray for so-and-so, and that you will give them courage and strength…” So I’ve started well. What comes next is where things go a bit awry. I find my thoughts wandering to the land of suggestions for God. I pray for my co-worker who is under a great deal of stress. I pray for some type of resolution on her part (how to get back on track, how to ease her stress). The next thing I know, I am thinking very hard about how this can be accomplished, as if God doesn’t know what is going on and how to resolve the problem! God doesn’t need my suggestions on how to work I’m pretty sure.
In fact, I may even be working against what God is trying to do. Is He trying to bring in the lost lamb? Maybe the lamb has to wander into danger before coming back into the fold. I know for a fact in some situations, people have to suffer before they acknowledge their need for God.
What if we simplify our prayers? What if we give God “permission” to work His way? And when I say “permission,” I mean submission on our part, acknowledging His ways are much greater than our ways. God is hands on, so we need to be a bit more hands off unless He gives us a specific task. Do we think God forgets?
God is the ultimate planner. He planned our lives before the creation of the world. It is hard to fathom this marathon plan as viewed through the lens of our limitations. That is where faith comes in. Surrender your plans to God; allow Him to work in His timing and His ways.
I particularly like the way that the New Living Translation renders Proverbs 3:6. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:6 (NLT)
Dear Lord, forgive me for the times I have sought Your will, only to take control again of the thing I ask You to handle. Help me to let go fully and to trust You completely. In the precious and mighty name of Jesus Christ, the Lord. Amen.