I have recently been reading a book by Andy Stanley called Visioneering: God’s Blueprint for Developing and Maintaining Vision. This book has been a very helpful book to read because at times I really struggle when it comes to planning. Sometimes I am pretty good at it but other times I fail terribly.
I came across a quote from the book that I wanted to share today and see if it challenges any of you. Stanley is speaking about the difference between dreamers and visionaries. He uses the story of Nehemiah desiring to rebuild the wall in Jerusalem.
It is interesting that Nehemiah never prayed for God to rebuild the wall. What he prays for is an opportunity to go rebuild it himself. That is the difference between a dreamer and a visionary. Dreamers dream about things being different. Visionaries envision themselves making a difference. Dreamers think about how nice it would be for something to be done. Visionaries look for an opportunity to do something.
Nehemiah was a man with a vision, not a dream. He wasn’t expecting god to do something independently of him. He was looking for an opportunity to work alongside God. So he prayed for an opportunity. And as we will see in the next chapter, God gave it to him.
How often do we do this? A lot of times we want God to do things in our lives but we aren’t always willing to be a part of that. We pray for God to bring peace and love but how often are we sending cards and encouragements to those who we were praying about? We pray that God would save someone but how often are we praying that God would give us opportunities to lead someone to Christ? We often want God to work but we expect that he will do it independently of us. Maybe those are the wrong prayers altogether.
This small section from the book has changed how I think about prayer. I know for a fact, rather than simply praying that God would reveal himself to the students that I work with, I will be praying that God would use me to share His love to them. I think I will come back to this in a future post (a few months or so from now) and let you know how that goes. How about you? Are you a dreamer or are you a visionary? Are you expecting God to use you to answer the prayers that you pray or are you hoping He will use someone else?