Is it Wrong to Ask God to Bless Your Plans?

Sometimes it is said that we shouldn’t make our own plans and then ask for God to bless them; we should ask God what his plans are, and align ours with his.

Now, this is good advice if this is meant at the high level — that is, if the definition of “God’s plans” here is “God’s moral will revealed in Scripture.” God’s plan for us, in this sense, is that we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with him (Micah 6:8; Matthew 23:23). That’s our mission in life.

God also gets more specific: in marriage, we are to marry only another believer. In our jobs, we are to have full integrity and work with enthusiasm and skill as unto the Lord. In our giving, we are to be generous.

In this sense, we are to seek God’s plans, not our own. That is, God has defined our ultimate priorities in life. We are to seek what he has revealed for us, rather than just coming up with whatever we want to do.

Now, within this framework, there are many areas that God’s word does not address specifically. Should you seek to have another child or not? Should your company add those 3 new positions? Should you buy this house or that one? What major should you chose, and what are your overall objectives for your career?

In this realm, as long as our ultimate aims are governed by and stem from God’s moral will, we are to make plans. And, the teaching of the Scripture is that we don’t look for some specific sub-plans that God has for us. Rather, he wants us, indeed, to make our own plans (with Scriptural wisdom and prayer) and seek to accomplish them.

More than that, the teaching of the Scriptures is that, in the main, we should look for God to bless our plans. Our plans will change and adapt, because God is ultimately sovereign. But it is striking that, when addressing the subject of godly planning, the Bible emphasizes not only that the success of our plans is subject to God (Proverbs 16:9), but that, when we plan in dependence on him, God seeks to bless what we do. He doesn’t say “you should have done this or that — that’s what my plan was.” Instead, he says: “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established” (Proverbs 16:3).

Commit your work to the Lord — don’t be godless in your work and planning — and your plans will be established.

Likewise, Psalm 37:4 tells us: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Whose desires will he give you? Yours.

Too often as Christians we almost paralyze ourselves by thinking that our desires and plans don’t mean anything — that God plans on defeating our godly plans time and again because he has some other plan for us different than what we sought to do.

The emphasis of the Bible, though, is that God wants you making plans, he wants you doing this in reliance on him, and he wants these plans to reflect his ultimately priorities (glorify him, love others, seek justice). If you are doing that, the Scriptures indicate that you should look for God to work with you in your plans. He surely will adjust and improve them, but your plans will be established — that is, when he changes them, he will change them for the better.

  • Loren Pinilis

    This is a very powerful post. This is so needed now because so many are confused about these issues.

    Whenever I discuss this, I like to emphasize the process of possessing a renewed mind (Romans 12:2). We begin to reach the point where our plans and his plans really become one. But the important point is not that we are passive and hope for God to pour wisdom into our hearts. We also don’t stress out and look for signs and feelings that basically are a Christian version of divination.
    The key is not that we focus on his plans – but his methods for us to find a plan. By seeking wisdom in the ways that he has shown us biblically, we arrive at his plans.

    I think the most difficult part of that is often getting our own egos and sinful desires out of the way. Focusing on him as true happiness and living for him is how we commit our ways to him as in Proverbs 16. With our selfish egos out of the way, our renewed minds will see the wise plan, and the Lord will bless our plans.

  • Chris Gagner

    In the end, it always comes down to the heart of the matter. What is at the heart of your plans? Are your plans moral, good, and glorifying to God? or are the plans self-centered and sinful at heart?

  • Matt

    Loren: Really good point on emphasizing the renewed mind and well said all together.

    Chris and Loren: Excellent. God does not bless selfish ambition. We are to seek his honor and the good of others before our own; we are servants and are to put others first, not ourselves. If we are ambitious in _that_ way — for his glory and others’ good — God very much approves.