The Longer Your To-Do List, the Better Your Prayer Life
In the last couple days, I’ve told two people the same thing, “My new role as leader of a nonprofit ministry has strengthened my prayer life.” I’d like to explain why. Perhaps you share my disease and will benefit from this prayerscription.
First, let’s diagnose:
* Do you wake up each morning with a dizzying to-do list?
* Do you work on it tirelessly yet barely make a dent?
* Do your knees wobble when thinking of all you’re not getting done in a day?
* Do you have trouble focusing?
* I said, do you have trouble FOCUSING?! Uh-oh. You’re worse than I thought.
Because I lead a father-and-son Bible study ministry, where the need for what we do is so high, it is easy to find ways to spend my time. Any given work day, I can justify chasing various rabbits:
* Meet with donors, pastors, fathers, volunteers, and influencers
* Build study guides, talks, processes, web pages, e-books, and blog posts
* Engage partners, reporters, consortiums, associations, and organizers
* Focus on sales, products, capacity, strategy, budgets, or operations
There’s more, but you understand. You have a similar list, maybe longer. You wake up each day with all of it on your mind all at once. So much opportunity, so little time.
Can I get a witness?!
At this point, we have essentially two ways to order our thoughts:
Door #1: We can plan for the day, then pray and ask God to bless it (decent)
Door #2: We can pray for the day, then ask God to reveal the plan (amazing)
I’m learning to pray first, plan second. I believe God gave me a mind, and He wants me to use it. I know He is in the midst of my thinking, weighing, sorting, and sifting. Yet, I also know He wants me to pray and allow Him to guide my choices.
When I consult with all-knowing and all-seeing heavenly Father first, He takes the task list and arranges, prioritizes, removes, adds and edits with amazing precision. He shows me His plan for my day, he doesn’t just rubber stamp my version of it.
Each morning, I pray something like this, “Father, you’ve given me a great opportunity and a fun role. I get to help fathers connect with their sons. Within this giant pile of projects, there are a few You want me to focus on today. Help me not to only work on those I enjoy, but also the ones which simply need to get done. Help me see those clearly and pick them confidently.”
Then, once I’ve chosen – His hand guiding mine – I can rest easy knowing today’s tasks deserve my full attention. Tomorrow’s will still be in the pile in the morning.