Prayer Focus: Germany

Bible Reading: Proverbs 17-20

Scripture

Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 18:21)

 The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters,
but one who has insight draws them out. (Proverbs 20:5)

 Plans are established by seeking advice;
so if you wage war, obtain guidance. (Proverbs 20:18)

 A person’s steps are directed by the Lord.
How then can anyone understand their own way? (Proverbs 20:24)

Observation

Recently a dear friend of mine asked me to “listen” to the Holy Spirit with her. She had direction she was seeking on some specific matters and needed discernment on what she should do. She wasn’t asking my advice on what she should do, rather, she wanted to hear from God and get confirmation of what He said through trusted others who’d be praying and listening too.

 Immediately, three verses came to mind. I dismissed them as me being afraid of silence and assumed that I’d just supplied them from my own memory, and went on listening…

 …To silence. I had no word of wisdom to repeat back to her beyond what scripture had already provided, and I felt like I’d let her down.  Maybe even over my head in waters too deep for me.

 Then, when I went to prepare today’s devotion, I see those same verse are in today’s reading! I got chills! This was confirmation to me and I immediately wrote her back to tell her what I now felt was surely the thing He wanted me to say to her. Though I couldn’t unpack it’s meaning for her in her particular circumstance, I am confident that God will use it.

Application

But what does it mean for you and me? How do we get the answers we are looking for?

 The Holy Spirit has been known to actively guide people down roads that defy the logic of the moment; Him being able to see things we can’t further down the road from where we stand at the crossroads. He has specific plans that require us to be in a certain place at the right time. (My interpretation of Prov. 20:24)

 Conversely, sometimes He remains quiet while we cast for answers, content to make good on whatever we choose. I believe in these instances he’s more interested in guiding our hearts and responses to the world around us wherever we are than in the individual plans we make. (This my interpretation of Prov. 18:21)

 Our human (sinful) nature wants to have control. God created us and knows that we struggle with these things; He understands that we need plans, intentional actions that produce predictable results in the patterns of our lives. He knows that this tendency leads us to marginalize His involvement. It is why He gave us His Spirit – to override it and take the static verse in the Gospel, and transform it into a living conversation between Him and us.

 The question then becomes… what are the purposes of your heart? Can you articulate them? Have you sought wisdom, counsel, and patience? Prov. 20:5 says that “one who has insight will draw them out”.

 If you can’t articulate it on your own, find someone who will help you talk through what’s going on in your heart. Jesus sent the Spirit for just this purpose. 1st Cor. 2:10 – 13 says “these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a persons thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.”

Prayer

Lord, thank you for sending your Spirit to intercede on my behalf. Thank you for providing a way to search out your will for my every day circumstances. I now ask you for the courage to follow your leading outside of my comfort zone.

Amen.

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