Planning Is Praying
If you’ll pray through the agenda, you’ll find that it’s a better meeting and generally a shorter meeting.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing all right today? Oh, I trust so. I’m feeling so great and happy in the Lord, grateful for another chance just to share with you from the Word of God.
We’re winding up our study in the book of Titus. We’ve had a good time with it, at least I think so. I hope you do too. Now, we’ve come down to these last few verses in the book where Paul gets into some personalia and you wonder what to make of it sometimes. Out of it there are some thoughts that have come to me which I like to share with you.
One is Paul made plans; it’s not unspiritual to plan. Second, Paul needed people and believed in providing for them. And third, Paul emphasized work, work to meet necessities and work to have a fruitful life. We’ll talk about that in the next broadcast or so. All right?
Now he said, “When I shall send Artemis unto thee or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis, for I have determined there to winter”. Paul did a lot of planning and he was quite methodical about it. If something didn’t work he tried something else. I’m turning the pages of my big Bible right now over to the 16th chapter of the book of Acts, “They went through all the cities and they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem, and so were the churches established.” So there was a routine, methodical covering of the bases, step-by-step, going back over the area where they had been evangelizing before, and helping the believers to grow, helping the church that is to be established. So it said, “The churches were established in the faith and increased in number daily”.
Now he said, “When they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden by the Holy Ghost to preach the Word in Asia, after they were come to Mysia they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit suffered them”, or allowed them “not, and they passing by Mysia came down to Troas, and a vision appeared to Paul in the night. There stood a man of Macedonia and prayed him saying, ‘Come over into Macedonia and help us’, and after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel onto them. So loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, next stayed in Neapolis and then to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia”, and you know the rest of the story.
Now, there’s one incident that showed Paul’s methodical approach to work. Number one, take care of the work that is yours that you started. He went to the different churches that had started as a result of his previous missionary journey. Number one, take care of the work that is yours and plan for it.
Spirituality doesn’t mean that you be haphazard in your approach to your responsibilities. I’ve met people who were so spiritual that they seemed to be no earthly good. Haven’t you? And they didn’t really attend to business. They didn’t, they would rather have a prayer meeting about something and then leave it undone, then to tackle a job and do their praying along with it. Paul took care of the responsibilities that were his. When he listed all the tribulations through which he had gone he said, “Beside all this I have the church, the care of all the churches, which falls on me daily”. So, he really faced his responsibly. There’s one thing, the basis for good planning is to face the responsibility and take care of it, routinely, methodically, faithfully.
Another thing that that characterized Paul was that he was seeking new doors into which he might enter, seeking new doors into which he might enter. They tried at Bithynia, no. They tried to Mysia, no. So finally they came to Troas and found out that God had His plans for them, but Paul was always seeking new doors to enter. How about you? Have you given any thought and prayer to this matter of new outreach of your life? Have you? Many of us drift along in the same old rut, you may know, doing the same old thing. Someone told me many years ago, there are two reasons why people in a church will not do anything new. One is, they’ll say, we tried it before and the other is, they’ll say, we never tried it before. Either reason is deemed sufficient for voting for inaction. Well, Paul was looking for new doors into which he might enter, you and I may very well do the same.
Constantly analyzing the business situation, people write books about it, the point that all of them make, it seems to me, is that the folk who succeed pay attention to the business they do have and look for innovative ways of getting new business. Wouldn’t you agree that that is at least an oversimplification of what most of the people are saying? The folk who succeed in our world pay attention to the responsibilities they do have, and second, they’re constantly looking for innovative ways to improve and to get new business. Well why not beloved, why not transfer those concepts into your own personal life? What are your present responsibilities? Well each one of us is different obviously, but you’ll know pretty well what your own workload is. Why not bring back that present workload to the Lord and say, God help me to do a better job with this.
I’ve often said, “Pray about your job”, and it will be far less boring and far more challenging if you pray about your job. Even if you’re doing something routine, I’ve told you years ago about one of my church members who operated an automatic machine in a factory. Eight hours a day, she fed a roll of wire into one end of that automatic machine and out the other end of it came millions of tiny, tiny cap screws that were used in the manufacture of timepieces and during the war years of fuses that would work in the various types of ammunition. So in one end of the machine a roll of steel wire, out the other in tiny millions and millions of tiny cap screws that were used in various types of machinery. I said to her one day, “Mary, don’t you get bored?”, and she said, “Oh no”, she said, “I often look up and say, Lord Jesus I’m doing this for You”. Isn’t that great? You pray about your job and it will be far less boring and far more challenging. “Commit thy work unto the Lord and thy thoughts shall be established”, said the wise man. “Commit thy work under the Lord and thy thoughts shall be established”. You try that.
So Paul took care of his responsibilities. He did. He took his job seriously, and then he was always looking for new doors into which he might enter, and then I think he had just a common sense view of working with the given facts. He said, Now, I think the best place for me to spend the winter is Nicopolus. “I’ve determined there”, said he, “to winter”.
One of the biographers of Hudson Taylor, I think it was our brother Frost, now with the Lord for a good many years, remarked that when Hudson Taylor came to this country and was about to embark upon a trip across the North American continent, the US and Canada, in the interest of getting missionary volunteers, as well as funds for the missionary effort, this other brother met him and knowing what a spiritual giant Hudson Taylor was, he expected that they would be involved in an extended prayer meeting to get divine guidance in constructing this itinerary. Well, they got together and Hudson Taylor said, Have you got a railroad timetable and a map?” Well he said, “Yes I can get one”. He said, “Get a railroad timetable and a map”. So the brother brought it, now he said, “Let’s pray”, and he just, he prayed, “Now Lord, you know where you want us to go and we want you did to guide us, Amen”. A very short prayer and then he said, “Open the map and let’s look at the timetable”, and he went on with reference to the undisputed facts lying before them on the map and in the railroad schedules, and constructed their itinerary. Many a time I’ve met people who would far rather pray and in an extended fashion than take the trouble to look at the map. Don’t you know folk like that?
Paul made plans. He took his job seriously. He routinely covered the responsibilities that were his. He was always seeking new doors into which he might enter, for the glory of God, and he worked with the facts. Beloved, there is nothing unspiritual in planning. God actually takes you at your word when you make your plans. Do you know that? “Ask Me concerning My sons and concerning the works My hands command, ye Me, I know the thoughts that I think toward you, thoughts of good and not of evil, to give you a desired end”. Whose desire? Well His of course, but yours also. “Delight thyself in the Lord and He shall give thee”, what’s the rest of the verse, do you know it? “Delight thyself also in the Lord and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart”. Make God your focus and your delight and you’ll find Him intervening on your behalf again and again and again. It’s not unspiritual to plan, but take God into your planning.
I often said to our young men and Youth for Christ, when I was president for a good many years of that organization, “Pray your way through the agenda of a committee meeting or a business meeting before you ever start”. If you’ll pray through the agenda, you’ll find that it’s a better meeting and generally a shorter meeting. There will be fewer aimless speeches and more action taken as the Spirit of God guides. Pray your way through the agenda of a meeting. Pray your way through the schedule of the day. “Pray your way through the day”, I used to tell our young people at the college. Pray when you wake up, pray before you meet your first friend or acquaintance in the morning, pray before your first class something other than to let them call up me Lord, you know, pray to be a blessing to people as you’re in social groups, pray before you go on a date, pray before you make a decision, pray before you purchase something, or sell something, pray before you take a job or quit one, pray your way through the day and when the day’s finished, you can turn out a pocket full of memories and say, Jesus you led me all the way, thank you. You can drift off to dreamless sleep, secure in the knowledge that God has been working with you and your plans. It’s not unspiritual to plan, but take God into your planning.
Dear Father today, make us good planners because we are good prayers, I ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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