Holy Spirit Planning

by Morris Ruddick on May 29, 2012


© Morris E. Ruddick


“The sons of Issachar, who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.” 1 Chronicles 12:32 NKJV

After David was made King uniting Israel, the various communities came together, each serving their unique function that benefited the common good. The sons of Issachar operated as the planners. They understood the times and knew what to do.

Planning is the systematic employment of wisdom to map out the best steps, or strategies, to maximize the benefit of the process for the one(s) involved and the end-result for the broader community.

A planning mind-set sets leaders apart from followers. In Exodus 18:20 Moses’ father-in-law outlined the basic tenets for the dynamic in which leaders nurture and build a community; with a foundation of the principles and precepts; followed by outlining the path in which they must walk; before giving them the work that they must do.

Good planning maps out the pathway. It is a mark of good stewardship. Planning engenders the discipline and maturity needed within community. When employed in conjunction with wise stewardship, planning is the means by which we fulfill the mandate, to rule over the work of His hands.

Anointed Planning
Anointed planning means the Holy Spirit is uniquely involved. Proactive Holy Spirit planning has been a distinguishing characteristic of those we refer to as the heroes of faith. It incorporates an ongoing big-picture response that embraces the model; of being God-centered, entrepreneurial and community-focused. It is the means to the end of employing righteous power within a community-building setting.

In this context, the Lord serves a central, interactive role in the planning process. Anointed planning pivots on faith-responses to God’s guidance. As outlined in Proverbs 3:5,6 this pivots on trusting the Lord for His input. God has always had a plan and a purpose for His own; individually and as a people. From the days of Noah, those whose accomplishments have become examples for the generations have been those who have sought and aligned themselves with that plan and purpose. Again, that plan and purpose has its foundation based on the biblical model, mandate and mantle. http://strategicintercession.org/2012/04/the-mandate-model-and-mantle/

So it is that learning to discern God’s direction and wisdom for our individual lives, for a congregation, for a business or for a community is developed through the proactive process of seeking Him.

Genesis 26 outlines a story about Isaac that took place in a most challenging set of circumstances. In the first few verses of this chapter we learn that there was famine in the land. Nothing was growing. Isaac was in preparation to go to Egypt and the Lord intervened and told him:
“Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father.”
Genesis 26:3-4

A few verses further, we learn that Isaac obeyed God and sowed despite the famine:
“Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the Lord blessed him. So the man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous; for he had possessions of flocks and possessions of herds and a great number of servants.”
Genesis 26:12-14

Gleaning God’s Guidance
The principle to be gleaned from this is that when you hear the voice of the Lord and obey, the outcome will be much more than what might be accomplished in the natural. From the time that God has had a people, extraordinary things have been accomplished by those who have sought to hear His voice and then were obedient.

Eric Morey is an Israeli believer and friend of mine. Eric is the founder of the unique retail site on the waterfront of the Galilee known as the Galilee Experience. The Galilee Experience grew to become a favorite site for both Israeli and international tourists visiting that region of Israel. At a time when this business was doing well and profits stable, the Lord spoke to Eric to expand his operation into a catalog business.

Eric hesitated, since it would require significant investment and additional staff to manage this new dimension to an already very busy, growing business. Yet, Eric knew the voice of the Lord and complied. Then, several months after the catalog business was launched, the second Intifada hit Israel. This Intifada had a severe impact on Israeli tourism. For some in the tourism business, revenues were down as much as 95 percent. Sadly, many tourism-focused businesses closed their doors.

However for Eric, as the tourists visiting the Galilee Experience declined, his new catalog business of Israeli-products increased. During this extended down-time for tourism, the catalog business kept the Galilee Experience open.

Getting Specific in Hearing God
The assumptions for hearing God with specific decisions while planning are three-fold. First, is that you are born-again spiritually and called by God. Next is that you have something to offer in serving others with the focus of your planning. That may be in developing your gifts, planning for a business, guiding a congregation or the planning to bring change to a community or society. The final assumption is simply that you know how to plan and organize. These basic assumptions are all that is required to launch into a purposeful planning interaction with the Holy Spirit.

The first level in discerning God’s guidance is through ethics and righteousness. However, the pathway of seeking God mounts to another level as you begin acknowledging Him and embracing the principles of His word. There are certain answers to questions that will simply be guided by these principles. Likewise, the Lord will never lead someone to do something that violates these principles.

From the word of God, then is derived understanding outlined in the models and pathways reflected in the biblical accounts. This is the foundation for wisdom, which involves the application of the principles from His word. There is much that can be discerned in terms of God’s will that is based on the principles of His word and wisdom.

Then, with this foundation from God’s word and maturity, comes an additional response to righteousness and prayerfully seeking Him. This will be the recognition of that “still, small voice” or revelation from God on specific issues.

Learning to discern that still, small voice of God will establish not only your own identity in God; but your destiny. A key part in this process is gleaned from Psalm 15 where it describes the principle of “speaking truth in your own heart.”

The level of interaction you have in prayer will never exceed your willingness to face the reality of who you are inwardly, despite outward facades. Psalm 51:6 describes it as the means to discern wisdom. Together with a righteous, faith-response outlined in Proverbs 3 “in all your ways acknowledge Him,” the stage is set for that divine interaction or revelation in which “He shall direct your paths.”

Revelation is “hearing” God on specifics. While I know ones who have heard God’s audible voice, I can’t say that I ever have. Those who have actually heard the audible voice of God have only done so in rare and unique situations.

The norm begins by learning to discern what scripture refers to as words of knowledge and words of wisdom, which typically come through a mental impression while reading a portion of God’s word, or a still inner voice within your own mind, that you learn to distinguish from your own thoughts. You can also “hear” from God through a specific word imparted by others. What characterizes that “hearing” is that it will always be based on the principles of God’s word and it will always flow in wisdom.

Steps to Releasing Revelation
It is important to journal, to make a record of times spent in prayer. That includes penning the questions you are asking the Lord. So, as you pray, listen and record the impressions of scripture that might come to mind, as well as the concepts regarding the specific plans you are asking the Holy Spirit to interact with you on.

From this context, begin to pray into the issues involved. As you receive impressions and words of knowledge, ask the Lord to clarify matters as you begin growing in learning to discern His “voice.”

As you pray into issues, there is a tangible sequence to follow in this process to unwrap the revelation received. When revelation on a matter is received, bathe it in prayer. Test it against scripture. Ask the Lord questions. Record the impressions and review what has been journaled. Then keep saturating the unfolding revelation in prayer; until you begin gleaning illumination on the revelation.

When satisfied that sufficient illumination on the revelation has been received, then begin asking for the instruction bearing on the illumination. With the instruction will be specific direction and wisdom for steps to be taken. Again, this is a process. You need to keep the matter bathed in prayer over time which may include days or weeks, until you are satisfied with sufficient clarity on the instruction.

Once you have arrived at the point of clarity, it is time to begin asking the Lord for the timing on the release. Knowing the will of God is only part of the equation. You need to know how to apply it and when. That’s why it’s important, when interacting with the Holy Spirit NOT to force issues; to learn to wait before the Lord as you become proficient in this process.

The issue is usually NOT a question of hearing from the Lord. Rather, it is a tendency to get excited when you have indeed actually heard from the Lord and then to act prematurely, before getting the full picture. In other words, it’s a matter of getting the full revelation, the wisdom on the application and clarity on when to act. This is a discipline that will mature and become seasoned as you learn to yield yourself in oneness with Him.

As you practice this process, it will involve a mix of writing, planning and praying as you approach alternatives to concepts being considered in the planning and decision process; but then go back and fine-tune what were first impressions as illumination and instruction become progressively clear.

More often than not, what I’ve written in the past for SIGN has begun with a simple word of knowledge while in prayer. As I have asked the Lord questions concerning what He was showing me, more often than not, scriptures and specific biblical and life-examples have come to mind. From that, I have written these initial impressions down and continued to pray into their significance and how they relate together. The process has begun.

Then each night as I have returned to my prayer closet, I’ve reviewed the revelation and impressions and begun asking the Lord where He was taking me. Very seldom, since early 1996 when SIGN was first launched, have I known where the message the Lord was giving me was going. It has unfolded, night after night while in prayer, as I’ve captured the wisdom and gone back and revisited the progression of concepts that have developed.

Typically, there has come a time when I have begun seeing the pattern of what has originated from the initial revelation and unfolded with illumination and eventually become a message. ONLY, after receiving the release from the Lord have I posted what’s been written. There have been instances where I’ve developed and prayed through a theme that the Lord has told me NOT to post. Likewise, I’ve been amazed at how the development of the themes He has given me have fit together into the books I’ve written, without there ever having been an outline.

The process of hearing God on decisions or with the planning process involves a discipline of setting aside time each day to seek the Lord and then to build on the revelation and wisdom the Lord imparts over time. The time set aside should be when you are most alert and undistracted. Each person is different in terms of what time of day is best to seek the Lord. Some people are morning people; some are evening people. Seeking the Lord should come from when you are at your best.

Preparing to Receive God’s Guidance
So begin by asking the Lord to speak to you and help you with the decisions or planning with which you’re involved. THEN, prepare your heart. Always approach the Lord with a humble heart that is cleansed. I have developed a simple prayer that helps to push the spiritual default button and sets the stage to intentionally begin the process of hearing God. Personally, I pray this prayer as much as I find is needed and at least once a week.

Lord God, in the Name of Your Son Jesus, I come boldly before your throne.  Cleanse my heart O God. Thank You that I am cleansed by the blood of Jesus and I have invited the Holy Spirit to live within me. I bring every thought of my mind and every impression in my heart into captivity to the obedience of Jesus. Lord, I want to hear what You have to say. I trust You to communicate to me.

And in the Name of Jesus, I take authority over every soulish stronghold along with every demonic and interfering spirit. I forbid any enemy activity to operate in my mind or soul. I open my heart to the Holy Spirit — to inspire, to guide, to illuminate and reveal to me truth, insights and perspectives that will anoint my efforts in this process of planning. I take authority over fear, anxiety, doubt and unbelief in the name of Jesus. I bind any negative, critical or condemning spirits in the Name of Jesus and forbid you to interfere with or in any way to imitate God’s voice to me.

Lord, I thank you for being in charge of every aspect of my being and for all that will unfold in this process. I look forward to growing in this new dimension with you and for what You have planned for me through it. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Having prepared your heart, wait quietly in His presence. As revelation begins, then write it down and begin asking the Lord to illuminate it. Begin using this process to plan and organize. It can be for an existing business or ministry, or a business or ministry that represents a dream you’ve had. As you plan and organize, pray into specific issues, record these planning/prayer sessions in a journal. Inquire of the Lord. Ask the Lord to connect the dots and fill in the blanks on matters not yet clear to you. Then pray some more and re-plan and re-organize. Continue the process as you take these matters before the Lord and bathe the unfolding revelation in prayer.

In the next post, we will employ a practical approach to planning from a Kingdom perspective. Within a community of believers, planning is a pathway of purpose strategically employing the combined gifts in a process guided by the Spirit. It is the building process with the Lord as the cornerstone and those anointed as leaders paving the way by which each one plays their part, based on the combined gifts.

All plans are driven by a purpose. Business plans within the world are more typically based on a profit model. There is no question that a business cannot endure long without a profit. However, the mind-set for a Kingdom business is driven by stewardship and holds to a higher standard of purpose. When that standard is maintained, profit will follow; and holds the potential of surpassing the profit yielded by the profit-based model. In the Kingdom, money is neither chased nor is it the real goal, but instead is the servant.

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