January 15, 2023
Successful People Think Things Through
Nehemiah - “Early the following spring, in the month of Nisan, during the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes’ reign, I was serving the king his wine. I had never before appeared sad in his presence. So the king asked me, ‘Why are you looking so sad? You don’t look sick to me. You must be deeply troubled.’ Then I was terrified, but I replied, ‘Long live the king! How can I not be sad? For the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.’ The king asked, ‘Well, how can I help you?’” (Nehemiah 2:1-4)
Nehemiah had been praying and thinking about the situation in Jerusalem for four months. Since God had given him this burden, he had been waiting for something to happen. Now, finally, something was happening and Nehemiah was prepared for it. He was prepared because he had been planning, thinking, and dreaming about what could happen in Jerusalem. We know this because when the king asked how he could help, Nehemiah knew exactly how to respond.
It’s good stewardship to plan. Successful leaders make time for thinking and careful consideration. Howard Hendricks once said, “Nothing is more profitable than serious thinking, and nothing is more demanding.” We learn in Proverbs that “The wise man looks ahead. The fool attempts to fool himself and won’t face facts.” (Proverbs 14:8) In other words, it’s smart to spend time thinking about our lives, our hopes, and our dreams.
How much time do you spend thinking about your life, your career, or the situations in your life? We all need to spend time thinking about these areas and asking ourselves the following questions:
Where am I in my life, family, career, or ministry?
Where do I want to be in my life, family, career, or ministry?
How can I get to where I want to be in my life, family, career, or ministry?
These are the types of questions Nehemiah asked himself as he prayed. He spent time thinking through the situation in Jerusalem. He spent time praying but he also spent time planning. When we plan and pray regarding our lives, families, careers, ministries, or situations, the Lord will often give us increasing vision in each of these areas.
FOLLOW UP ACTIVITY
After your prayer time today, ask yourself the three questions bolded above from today’s devotion. Write down your answers then pray over them once again. If you're leading your family through the prayer and fasting emphasis, ask the same questions but focus them on your family life.
PRAYER FOR TODAY
Lord, as I pray, help me spend time thinking about where I am in my life and to make plans that correspond with my prayers. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
Today is Day Eight of our Prayer and Fasting emphasis. After your prayer time today, spend time thinking about and considering the plans the Lord would have you make as a result of your requests. To request a prayer partner or to download our prayer and fasting guide, see celebrationchurch.org/prayerfasting