The Best Laid Plans…
Father, You are never in a hurry, yet never late. Help me to learn from Your poise, persistence, and peace.
Read ROMANS 15:23-33
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Your hand, O God, has guided your flock from age to age; your faithfulness is written on history’s open page” (E.H. Plumptre, 1821-1891).
Paul began his letter explaining that he had planned to visit Rome but had been prevented from doing so (Rom. 1:13). As a pioneer missionary, he went where Christ was not known, and the Roman church may have begun before he was converted, through those returning after Pentecost. Now he had a reason to go to Rome—he wanted their support for his onward journey to Spain—but first he had some other plans! He would first leave Cenchreae, the port for Corinth, taking a money gift to the Christians of Jerusalem. We know from Acts that he did get to Rome, but as a prisoner, after riots, imprisonment and shipwreck. There, he was able to proclaim the kingdom without hindrance (Acts 28:30,31). Did he ever get to Spain? Perhaps not, but maybe the soldiers heard the Gospel and were transferred to Spain for their next tour of duty!
We can learn some lessons from Paul’s approach to his plans. First, he did have a plan for the future. Second, he asked for prayer for these plans, being specific about the struggles and difficulties he expected to face. Third, he asked for practical support for his missionary journeys. Fourth, he wrote with love and gratitude to all those in Rome whom he knew, some personally.
We are probably aware of those who are making plans not unlike Paul’s: plans for full-time Christian service, for cross-cultural mission, for church planting, involving risk, travel and language learning. Of course, we pray with them, using their prayer letters. Do we pray as thoroughly for those whose plans are about work situations or family weddings, or about hospitality, the use of money, or buying a smaller house? And how do we pray about plans that simply don’t work out?
Try writing out your plans for the next few months. Pray through them and then ask someone to do the same and share your prayers.
Truly, Lord, my times are in Your hands: past, present and future times. Help me to trust You and follow You in all my ways.
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