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DAY 24

Praying and Planning

[5 minutes]
Mindsetter Moment: What plans do you have for today? What about this week, or next month? Are you working on a big project or preparing for a move? Take a moment to commit those plans to the Lord this morning, as we begin our devotional time.

[15 minutes]
Scripture reading:

Job 12:1-15:35
1 Corinthians 15:29-58
Psalm 39:1-13
Proverbs 21:30-31

Devotional thought
There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord. The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord. Proverbs 21:30-31

Benjamin Franklin said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” In light of the context, it seems as though the author of Proverbs would probably agree. There are many proverbs about the value of proper planning. However, planning can only take us so far. As is noted in the oft-quoted and aptly-phrased poem excerpt, “The best-laid plans of men and mice often go awry.”

There is a gap that exists between our best-laid plans and the actual outcome. We can wear ourselves quite thin trying to span that space through our own wisdom, in our own strength, or with our own backup plans. We imagine every possible scenario and try to prepare accordingly. Unfortunately, when things still go awry, we are just left with more gray hairs and worry lines.

What applies to me?
What if we filled the gap between hoped-for outcomes with faith instead of anxiety? What if we trusted God for the outcome we need rather than the one we have decided we want? What if failing to pray is planning to fail? Sometimes it can be scary to let God into the gap because we are afraid that his ideal outcome will be different than ours.

The stoic philosopher, Hecato, was credited with the phrase “cease to hope and you will cease to fear.” Some of us cram the gap between plan and reality with our fears about what could go wrong. Others of us fill the gap with our hopes of a specific outcome. Both want and worry are different sides to the same coin called anxiety.

For many of us, freedom from anxiety starts with recognition of where our responsibility ends and God’s begins. A whole new level of freedom lies on the other side of the need to control people, outcomes, or the future. Although the best-laid plans of men and mice go awry, God’s plans never do.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

[10 minutes]
Write it out: Write out at least one big “plan” you have for the future. It could be to get a college degree, get married, buy a house, or all of those!

Pray it out: Now it’s time to commit your plans to prayer. Ask for God to help you with all the details. Psalm 37:23 says, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” He will help make your plans a reality as you commit them to Him.

Live it out: Make plans this week for your life, but better still, make time to commit those plans to the Lord in prayer.