Pray Discover & Obey
Seeking God in personal, family and ministry decisions
The purpose of Pray, Discover and Obey is to help you make important decisions with the confidence that God has revealed His direction and that He will give you the discernment, strength and courage to carry out His plans.
Prayer and study of the Bible are the fundamental means God uses to unite our hearts with His - and with His purposes. As we make decisions for our individual lives, for our families, and for Christian ministry activities, the Pray, Discover and Obey process helps us draw close to God, discover His direction for us, and obey Him.
John White, after studying the book of Nehemiah, concluded the following:
Prayer is where planning starts. Our first goal in prayer is not to get a steamhead of power but to find out what God wants. Planning that arises from and is the product of prayer is far superior to planning that is merely "backed by" prayer. The plan that is God's plan, revealed by him to those who wait on him, is a plan that cannot fail. If the plan is not of God in the first place, no amount of prayer wil make it count for eternity. It may "work". That is, it may achieve the goals the organizers are aiming at. But if the goals are not God's goals, of what value is it that they were achieved efficiently? - John White, Excellence in Leadership, pp. 40-41
The discussion that follows uses the example of an OCF leadership team seeking God's direction for local ministries of outreach and service. Remember, however, that this process also can be adapted for personal, professional and family decision-making.
Pray -- Desiring God's Will
The purpose of this phase is to help each participant, and the group as a whole, draw close to God.
You may wish to incorporate fasting into either the preparation for a Pray, Discover and Obey event, during the event, or both. A fast that is dedicated to the Lord will help all participants focus more clearly on the Lord Jesus Christ and perceive His glory more readily.
Plan ahead to provide sufficient time for prayer as well as for the discovery phase of your team meeting. The prayer phase should include the following key elements: worship, thanksgiving, confession and repentance, and petition.
- Worship may include singing and reading Scripture passages of praise as well as silent and vocal praise and adoration. For example, you can read and meditate on Psalm 105 and use it to proclaim God's mighty deeds.
- Thanksgiving should be a time when participants feel and express their gratefulness and joy for the presence of the Lord Jesus in their hearts. It is an opportunity to share the godly joy Paul exhorts us to express in Ephesians 5:18-21
- Confession and Repentance should include a time for individuals to examine their hearts silently as well as a time for collective repentance. Psalm 51 is one of many biblical passages that can be used for personal meditation during this time.
- Petition may involve praying for others (intercession) as well as requests for God to direct the future activities of the ministry team. The group also should pray for the men and women who will be the focus of future ministry efforts. Provide ample time to ask the Lord to meet with you and to reveal the opportunities for ministry that He is calling you to take advantage of.
Discover -- Discerning God's Will
The purpose of this phase is to discern what God wants you to do in a specific situation and to prepare the plans necessary to accomplish the mission.
In discovery, you seek to identify the opportunities to serve God where you are and to understand how to carry out his assigned mission for you within this set of opportunities.
The discovery phase addresses the following key elements:
- Identify the opportunities for outreach and service in your military community.
- Ask God to show you which of these he wants you to pursue.
- Search the Scriptures for mission confirmation and direction. Use God's Word to test the validity of the goals you are setting and the means you will use to reach those goals.
- Make plans to pursue the opportunity God gives you. Here are two essential steps:
Identify Appropriate Actions and Assign Responsibilities. Determine the major tasks that must be accomplished, and the person or persons who will be responsible for each one.
Plan to Develop a Prayer Support Base. The intercessory prayers of others for your efforts are as essential to victory in spiritual warfare as the air interdiction, naval gunfire, and artillery fires are to success on the physical battlefield.
Obey -- Doing God's Will
The purpose of this phase is to accomplish the mission God has given you and to be open to His leading as you carry out your plans.
Envision the obedience phase as a pathway God has prepared for you to follow so that you can persevere, overcome obstacles, and arrive at His destination for you. Let's call it "The Pathway to Obedience" and outline it as follows.
The Pathway to Obedience
- Continue to worship.
- Deal with hindrances early.
- Develop the prayer support base.
- Help others be obedient.
- Execute the rest of the plan
- Give thanks.
- Evaluate what you have done.
It's important that you continue to use the Pray, Discover and Obey process. Use it regularly to keep your ministry subordinate to God's desires for it. Use it for specific events you plan -- such as new Bible studies, prayer breakfasts, picnics, luncheons, local conferences, days or half-days of prayer, etc.
You will also want to use the process in making family decisions. And don't overlook its value as a means of making personal and professional goals and plans.
Pray and Obey can be used anywhere God assigns you in the Armed Forces. It will keep you in touch with your eternal Commander-in-Chief. By His grace, it will help to bring revival and renewal in your life and in the lives of those who serve Christ with you. God will use your faithful obedience to His will to draw others into the kingdom of Jesus Christ and to glorify the name of His Son. He is able!