Proverbs 16:3 says to “commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” This is God’s invitation for us to transfer our ideas, plans, and wants to Him so that He can make our plans firm.
This is also the essence of OCF’s Pray-Discover-Obey model, which emphasizes prayer first, planning second, and obedient action third.
But PDO is not a “secret process unique to OCF,” as OCF CEO/Executive Director Scott Fisher points out. In fact, it came into OCF when we were called Officers’ Christian Union, and at that time PDO was known as Pray & Plan.
“PDO is simply the model we see demonstrated in Scripture. When we look in Scripture at the times God used someone to do something we would consider extraordinary, the event is prefaced by God speaking to the individual, and after the person heard what He said, they obeyed,” said Scott. “Then, God brought the extraordinary into their ordinary lives. He wants to do the same in my life…in your life.”
While OCF small groups and local leaders are often encouraged to use a PDO at various times, such as determining details about starting a new group or when to split into another group, PDO is an extremely useful framework for walking an individual, couple, or family through prayerful, deliberate consideration before they take action.
For Hous Waring and his family, they conducted a PDO every January 1 while their kids were at home.
“The whole family knew we were going to do it, and it was something that was looked forward to because it was an opportunity for everyone to come with expectations, to pitch them to the family, to see if that was something that would stick in a sense, and something we would prioritize or do.”
For example, spiritual growth and hospitality were often PDO topics for the Waring family each new year.
“Are we going to memorize verses this year? Are we going to do that at the table together? Is everybody going to do it on their own?” said Hous, who is OCF’s Central Regional Coordinator. “How do we open up our meal table more? We had so much buy-in from the family because our children got to tell us what they were thinking and what was important.”
Scott added that while we can, and should, enter into a PDO when seeking guidance or direction on a particular subject, we also see in Scripture the components of a PDO are actually vital to maintaining daily, healthy fellowship with God.
“The PDO framework enables us in practical steps to abide in Him (John 15:5) and to renew our minds so that we may discern what is the will of God (Romans 12:2),” he said. “We pray (acknowledging from the beginning our dependence upon God, that we are inadequate apart from Him for any good work, and that often His ways are not our ways), we discover (through studying the Word, more prayer, the promptings of the Holy Spirit and the counsel of others) and then we submit and obey.”
Find more information about OCF’s Pray-Discover-Obey model online at ocfusa.org/pdo.