"Father, what do You want to talk to us about today? Help us to have ears to hear and eyes to see what You would have for us this day. For You alone, our souls wait hushed. Amen." Today’s Scripture is from
Jeremiah 29:10-14a (The Message) This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on Me, when you come and pray to Me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for Me, you’ll find Me. Yes, when you get serious about finding Me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed!”
This section from Jeremiah is a very popular section of Scripture found on Greeting Cards and Plaques in Christian Book Stores – especially for Graduations. Usually only verse 11 is quoted:
“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.” (NIV)
But read further – into verses 12-14 …
“Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord….
This past weekend, the author of Why Pray and founder of Mission India, John DeVries and his lovely wife, Adelaide visited Point of Grace. They shared testimony after testimony about Prayer and the miraculous ways God answered those prayers.
I found myself "envious" in a way. I think I "play" with prayer. I convicted by the encouragement of praying to God first – before making plans - in order to hear and understand from God where He is guiding us, instead of making plans and THEN consulting God and asking Him to “bless” our plans.
Oh, haven’t we all done that? We have made decisions in our life and then tacked on a prayer for God to bless the plan. Or, we have had a meeting or even a Bible Study and at the end have said something to the effect of, “well, let’s close in a quick word of prayer.” I am so sorry for these times, Lord.
He shared stories of Church Planters in India who had tirelessly worked for years – only to see no results. Then, they changed their strategy – and prayed for the people in a village first – which then resulted in miraculous souls turning to the One True God!
Or, as this passage in Jeremiah says - I see how I have given God only a part of my heart in regard to prayer – how I will pray half-heartedly, or for a day or so. I am not sure I truly know what it feels like to seek Him with ALL MY HEART. I am grateful for His mercy and Grace and how He has forgiven me for these times.
So, this passage in Jeremiah confirms to me what I learned this weekend from John DeVries’ testimonies about prayer in his own life. These verses are such an encouragement -- "He knows what He is doing - He has it all planned out - plans to prosper me - not to harm me!" HE knows the plans HE has for me --- it doesn’t say that I will get to know the plans ahead of time!
And then it says to call upon Him – to pray to Him and He will listen to me! That when I seek Him I will indeed find Him when I seek Him with all my heart. He will be found by me! I may not know what the future holds – but I do know that if I will humble myself and call upon Him, I will find Him – no matter what the future entails.
So instead of me laying out before Him my future – “here God, I am going to do this and that and please bless my plans” I come to Him as a child to a father and say, “Dad, I don’t know what the plan is. But I want You. I am seeking You. And I know You are listening. So, wherever You want to take me today is just fine with me! I give You my whole heart – I give You all my plans and hopes and dreams – because You have promised that you have plans to give me a future and a Hope! And that is good enough for me. Besides, I am tired of driving! I think I will just climb into Your lap and let You take the wheel!"
How about you? Can you remember times in your life when you made plans and then asked God to bless them? How did that turn out for you?
Or can you remember times when you surrendered your future to God – sought Him out in prayer with your whole heart and let Him take the reins? How did that turn out?