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Prayer & Planning for the New Year – Part Two

Recap from last week:  Why prepare for 2014?

Because God is the God of second chances and new beginnings: “Don’t hold onto the former things… I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, don’t you perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19). Thus we must PRAY to “attune” to God, to work with him in dependence on his power in what he’s doing in our lives. But we must also PLAN – it’s your responsibility, or else others/life will set your agenda and make you overly busy! Live life, live 2014, intentionally from conviction. To do that we need a deeper planning framework

A Seven Step LIFE Planning Framework

1. PRAYER: Begin your planning process with prayer. Answers “the WHO?” question. The most important questions in life are not what? and how?, but who? and why? Who (or what) you worship is whom you ultimately trust, depend on, and give power to in your life. Prayer is worship of, and working with, GOD. We call all our people to bathe this year in prayer with a special focus on prayer for the month of January. We call our church to FAST and pray for 20-26 January: for a) your new year, b) our church, and c) for our nation.

2. PURPOSE: Decide your life-purpose before God in prayer. Purpose is both your life mission and vision. MISSION: “WHO am I?” Gives identity and reason for existence, your sense of “being.” It’s a short sharp statement. What is yours? VISION: “WHERE am I going?” Gives direction and motivation. A future-oriented picture of your “becoming.” How about  a 2020 vision? It’s a longer statement with the key points. What is yours?

3. PRINCIPLES: Clarify your basic life principles. These are your core convictions and values. Answers the question WHY am I doing what I’m doing? WHY am I pursuing this or that?” Gives your foundation, and acts like a filter for you to evaluate what comes along: ask, will this help me fulfill my mission and achieve my vision? List your five or six core life values.

4. PRIORITIES: What you do first before (prior to) other things – the few key things you must do to embody your mission. Answers the question “WHAT must I do?” or “Is what I’m doing achieving my vision? In a way that expresses my core values?” Priorities are your goals – both long term and year by year. What are your long-term goals (related to your 2020 vision?) In keeping with them, what are your few achievable goals for 2014? List them.

5. PRACTICES: Practices are our skills and strategies needed to achieve our priorities and goals. It answers the question, HOW am I going to do what I need to do to achieve my vision?” Giving us disciplines and exercises that we commit to in order realize our goals. For each goal you need one or two practices… what are they?

6. PERSONNEL: These are the people who journey with you in your life mission and vision – your “community”. Answers the question WITH WHOM am I doing what I’m doing?” There are always THREE levels of personnel in our lives: 1. Who leads you? (God-given leaders?) 2. Who are your companions in the journey? 3. Who are you helping/mentoring/leading in their journey, as you journey with your life?

7. PROGRAMS: Programs are the basic structures of daily and weekly life. Answers the question, “THROUGH WHICH structures/programs do I do what I’m doing?” Gives your times and places of meetings, when and how you do your basic disciplines, in pursuing your strategies, to achieve your vision, to embody your life mission. Record them.

So, how about taking a Saturday morning or afternoon – it will take you a couple of hours of quality time spent with God – to do this exercise? Once you’ve done it, then you can simply update and adjust it year by year. You can apply this framework and do the exercise not only for your own life, but for your job, your ministry… and we do it as a church.

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