January 17, 2023
Successful People Establish Goals
Nehemiah - “The king asked, ‘Well, how can I help you?’ With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied, ‘If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.’” (Nehemiah 2:4-5)
Nehemiah had a specific goal in mind - Rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem. God loves it when we make big plans. In fact, making big plans honors God. Making big plans communicates to the world, “This is not what I can do but it’s what I'm expecting God to do.” In communicating his plans, Nehemiah said, “I want to rebuild the wall around the whole city of Jerusalem.” It is important to note that up to this point, there’s no record that Nehemiah had ever built a wall. More than likely, he had never built anything. Nehemiah wasn’t a carpenter or a contractor, he was a cupbearer. But Nehemiah had a big goal that required big plans and big prayers to a big God.
Goal-setting is crucial for successful planning and accomplishment. Having goals places targets in front of us. It gives us direction in our lives, families, careers, and ministries. Someone once said, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” Goals help us know if we’re aiming in the right direction.
When establishing our goals, we should ask ourselves the following questions:
What do I want to be?
What do I want to do?
What do I want to have?
When we are establishing our goals, we should strive to avoid these common errors:
Setting our goals too low
Trying to accomplish our goals too quickly
One person who understood goal setting was Evangelist Dwight Lyman Moody. He was born on the family farm in Northfield, Massachusetts on February 5, 1837. His formal education ended after the fifth grade. He moved to Boston and became a shoe salesman in his uncle’s store. When Dwight was 18, he accepted Christ as his Lord and devoted his life to serving Him. One year later, he moved to Chicago to begin his own shoe business. As he achieved success in business, Moody also launched a ministry reaching out to the children of Chicago. Over time, this ministry became the Illinois Street Church (now the Moody Church) and D.L. Moody was called as its pastor. In addition to becoming a pastor and a great international evangelist, this same man whose formal education ended in the fifth grade founded the Northfield Seminary for Young Ladies, the Mount Hermon School for Boys, and the Chicago Evangelization Society which is now known as the Moody Bible Institute. He once said, “If God is your partner, make no little plans.” If anyone could make that quote, it was him.
If we’re directed by the Lord to do so, we need to set such big goals in our lives that God has to bail us out in order for us to accomplish them. Someone once said, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.” It is easy to see that both Nehemiah and D.L. Moody would both agree with that statement.
FOLLOW UP ACTIVITY
Before you pray today, ask yourself this question: Are the goals I’ve set for myself too small? If your answer is yes, begin praying about whether you should reevaluate your goals. If you are leading your family through the prayer and fasting emphasis, guide each person to ask themselves the same question. Then, lead your family to pray for each other as they consider their own personal goals.
PRAYER FOR TODAY
Lord, help me to honor You by only making big plans.
Today is Day Ten of the Prayer and Fasting emphasis. As you pray and fast today, ask God to help you reevaluate the goals you have set for your personal life. To request a prayer partner or to download our prayer and fasting guide, see celebrationchurch.org/prayerfasting