Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | July 1, 2013

July 1, 2013 “Prayer, Preparation, and Planning”

“They put their heads together and decided to fight against Jerusalem and create as much trouble as they could. We countered with prayer to God and set a round-the-clock guard against them.” (Nehemiah 4: 8-9)

Good Morning Chosen of God!

Have you ever considered that prayer, like many worthwhile endeavors, involves preparation and planning. Over the years, I have conducted many weddings. Early on in my ministry, at my first pastorate, in fact, I remember sitting in my office one morning when I heard a knock on my door. It was a young couple desiring to get married. I began to gather some information from them to get to know a bit about them and asked them if they had set a  date for the wedding. They said, “Well, if at all possible, we were hoping that you could do it today.”  I counseled them against such hasty action, but they were insistent that they wanted it done that day. I informed them that I could not in good conscience officiate, but if they were insistent on being married that day, I would contact the local mayor, who had the legal authority to perform such a union, and I would stand as a witness for them. This was on a Saturday. I called the mayor, who was looking forward to enjoying a college football game, and he, with no small amount of consternation, agreed to perform this union. I never again saw this couple, but the likelihood that they are still together as husband and wife is minimal. I could be wrong, but I don’t think so. This is a classic example of poor planning. Poor planning often results in a poor outcome.

Nehemiah knew how to plan for a positive outcome. The walls of Jerusalem were being rebuilt, much to the chagrin of neighboring cities who were quite happy when Jerusalem posed no threat to them. But with word of the rebuilding of the walls, they began plotting as to how to stop this threat. But, as we read, Nehemiah and the Israelites countered with prayer and vigilance.  Nehemiah was wise. He constantly combined prayer with preparation and planning. Nehemiah and his people trusted in God, but also realized they needed to take action as well. They kept vigilant watch over their city. Often in our prayer life, we expect God to take care of everything, without any participation on our part other than making our prayer requests. We should always seek God’s directives in making these prayer requests realities. By doing so, we demonstrate our obedience and our seriousness by combining preparation and planning with our prayers. Through it all, despite further trials, the walls were rebuilt and “the whole assembly said ‘Amen’ and praised the Lord.” Let’s pray!

Immortal God!  In times of need we turn to You in prayer, for you are strong and mighty to save. We also give ourselves willingly to your service. We have been given the mind of Christ. May we use that great gift faithfully in your service as we plan and prepare for that which you desire to accomplish through us through the power of prayer. Remind us again that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Amen!

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