How do you prepare—for anything?
My prep pattern for years included thinking the matter through too many times, lists, and maybe asking God to help me with my preparation. I assured myself that I was prepared with thoughts like, I’ve done all I can do or I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.
Then one day God used a circumstance that involved the people I love most, to teach me the most important part of preparation—for every circumstance and season of life.
It was the middle of the school year, and our family was moving to a new state where we knew one person. I read and researched, made lists and crossed items off, and talked with our children countless times to prepare them, gage their feelings and readiness, and build them up. Still, something was unsettled in me, so I revisited my lists, conversations, and scenarios I’d contemplated. Then these words came to mind, Prepare their hearts.
I thought, How? God works in the heart. And then I got it—My preparations contribute to the experience, but only God sees the heart, knows their inmost needs and how they’re doing, and knows what’s coming for each child. I was trying to cover everything, with their hearts in mind, yet missing the most important part—inviting God to do what only he can do.
The best way to prepare for anything is to invite God to prepare our heart.
God, please prepare each child’s heart became the first phrase of so many prayers: …for being in a new city … for the friends you have for them and when … for their new school. I prayed before we moved and long afterward for every new or unfamiliar thing.
God please prepare begins many of my prayers for others and for myself when I am about to experience or face something new, unfamiliar, or unexpected. Whether it’s something small, huge, exciting, or challenging, we can rely on God to make us ready.
When God prepares us, he makes our heart ready—for him, for what is next, for how he wants to lead us through, and for what he intends to do in, for, and through us. He fills, shapes, and guards our heart.
What are you–or someone you know–facing right now?
. . . Maybe it’s a new job or needing one, being single yet hoping for marriage, becoming a mom, adjusting to this ever-changing pandemic season, helping your child maneuver an unpredictable school year, learning to homeschool, aging parents, graduate school, a health issue, the loss of a loved one.
Whether we ask God or not, he prepares us because he loves us. But when we invite him, we honor him and remember that he goes before us to the days that he has already written. We become expectant and watch for him: We see him in the good happenings and thank him. We cling to him through the challenges and rest in his faithfulness. He grows our faith, so that the focus of every next preparation is him—not what we can do.
Dear God, Please prepare me/my heart for:
… the job that you have for me.
… this conversation that I need to have with __. Please prepare their heart, too.
… for what dating will look like during this pandemic.
… for how to balance my job and marriage.
… becoming a mom / dad; for having another child
… for what this financial challenge means
“But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him.’” (1 Corinthians 2.9)