After you have prayed you can do more that praying but it is pointless to do something and then add prayer as an afterthought. But often praying isn’t enough. Prayer should give birth to smart planning. And by not planning we often remain ridden with good intentions that simply define our fruitless lives.
This is a common downfall in many real-life situations. We make many mistakes in our professional career, in our relationships and in our financial investments by failing to follow-up our decisions and ideas with a decisive and clear plan.
Planning often feels like hard work or dull work – and therefore seems best ignored. It’s probably exciting for a band to be inspired with a new melody/poetry but probably much more demanding and less exciting to write the music, make the arrangements, practice and tediously re-record until the song ‘feels’ right.
This can be an even graver mistake in the spiritual realm. Because our relationship with God has a supernatural, almost mystical dimension, we tend to regard planning as somehow less spiritual.
Yet if you read the Pauline language of the New Testament, he seems to suggest that the Gospel demands a working of our theology in smart decisions and smart actions.
If we are to recount ALL the information that we have absorbed over the years both in education and in our spiritual formation – how different should we live?! Planning in itself can become a permanent pit stop – so just because we planned doesn’t mean we have succeeded. But it is a necessary phase in God’s process of transformation.
How to be best plan for transformation? Here are some tips:
- Prepare your mind, heart and will beforehand. The more receptive you are – the clearer you will hear the message.
- Listen carefully – trying to focus with your full attention, avoiding distractions. The sharper your mind – the more receptive can you heart be too.
- Write things down. Highlight. That will help you imprint in your memory what you have heard.
- Turn to prayer straight after you received the info – thanking God for speaking to you and asking Him to show you how you can best respond.
- Try to sum-up the message you have heard – twitter style.
- Ask yourself – what does this mean for me?
- Ask yourself – what is negative in my life that God wants to change?
- Ask yourself – what is positive and is missing that God could give me?
- Ask yourself – what can I do, using my God-given gifts as response?
- Ask yourself – what can I give financially, to respond to that need?
- Ask yourself – is someone I know, better equipped to answer that need?
- All the above questions can be re-mixed for a small group or even a church.
- Write down that decision/plan – again twitter style (short & sharp).
- Tell someone else – for accountability – about your plan and ask them to ask you about it in a few days/weeks.
As I inferred in my previous post – this isn’t about a man made program of self-improvement. Planning is simply a great tool that the Spirit of God can use you to bring about a grace driven transformation in the life of a disciple.