The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue belong to Him.Proverbs 16:1 ESV
Like many Proverbs, I never understood this one. What could the plans of my heart have to do with my answers belonging to God? It was like a riddle that eluded my grasp.
The New Living Translation states it like this: “We can make our own plans, but the LORD gives the right answer.”
Two years ago, the founder of Alaska Christian Women’s Ministry and I were in a planning meeting together. She suddenly announced that she needed more bloggers to write for ACWM’s new website. She asked if any of us liked to write. Without a hesitation, my mouth opened and said, “Yes!” Then my brain kicked in: “Wait! I don’t write for people. I used to journal, but no one ever read an of it. And that was years ago! What did you just say, Carol??
I honestly believe God opened my mouth before my rational mind could object. Writing for ACWM has been a blessing both unexpected and profound. Blogging helped heal my heart from our family’s bout with a brain tumor. It has redeemed the pain and agony of that year, while revealing God to me in ways I never expected.
Could this be an application of Proverbs 16:1? Could God have put that answer on my tongue?
Recently, many of us have been part of a 21-day prayer group. We have committed to fast and pray for the things God put on our hearts. One day last week, I read “Day 7” from Mark Batterson’s book, Draw the Circle. He talked about acting in faith as we pray in faith, just as Noah did while building the ark. After I closed the book, I began to pray. Suddenly an audacious request jumped out of my mouth. The request had never even been a thought in my head before. I actually stopped praying to ask, “What did I just say? Where did that come from?” Sound familiar?
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.Romans 8:26 ESV
Because I am human, the Holy Spirit directs my prayers. Much of the time, I am not aware of what He is praying in my behalf. This time, He seemed to put the words in my mouth…just like when I said “yes” to writing.
So, what do I do with this God-sized dream?
This dream is humanly impossible. Yet, there I was seeking God with all my heart when He put it there.
Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heartPsalm 37:4 ESV
I have a several options.
- I can ignore it. After all, I didn’t ask for it.
- I can pray for it and passively see if God makes it happen.
- I can pray for it while actively seeking it.
The third option seems to match most with what we see in the Bible. In Mark 16:20 (AMP), the apostles got the confirming miracles after they preached the Gospel. In Mark 10, Jesus promised hundredfold rewards to those who left loved ones for the sake of the Gospel. He gave them the rewards after they left home, not before. When the Israelites were in the desert, God provided water from a rock after Moses struck it. When it was time to enter the Promised Land, the Jordan River parted after the priests put their feet in the water.
And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.Joshua 3:13
Over and over, we see the faith-action coming before the miracles and the blessings. When we ask for things that glorify God, He blesses our small steps of faith. Our tiny mustard-seed faith sprouts and takes root. God waters it until it becomes the realization of the mighty dream He placed in our hearts.
Mark Batterson wrote, “We’ll never see God part the Jordan River if our feet are firmly planted on dry ground. But if we step into the river, God will part it.” (Draw the Circle, page 51)
Does this mean that we can ask for and claim anything? No. These bold prayers and brave actions of faith are for the God-sized dreams…the dreams too audacious for us to invent on our own. They are for the desires that He gave us. They are for the words that He puts in our mouths when we seek Him with our whole hearts.
Let’s put feet to our God-sized dreams. Let’s keep praying. Let’s keep pushing forward in faith. God alone knows the timing of His answer, but it won’t materialize if we don’t ask and step out in faith.
If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.John 14:14 ESV