Ask Mary: My Prayers and God’s Plans

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Question:

I know that the Father has a great plan for us, a plan that even we
don’t know about. But, I’m in high school now, and I’ve been making
plans for the future after I graduate. How far should I plan? Should I
even plan at all? I trust God, but should I even pray for my future
when He already has one for me? Isn’t it pointless to pray for a
career when God already decided one for you? Maybe I’m thinking too
much about this. I’d really appreciate your answer. 

Answer:

Great question!

You’re absolutely right.  God has an incredible plan for each of our lives— and doing His will is what will ultimately lead each of us to lasting fulfillment.

On the one hand, it’s true that we were all created for one purpose: To know, love, and serve God in this life and to be happy with Him in the next.  Knowing this simple truth is incredibly freeing, but it’s by no means a detailed roadmap.  In fact it brings up questions that we have to constantly answer:  Am I seeking to know God better in my daily life?  Do my actions show that I love God?  How can I best serve God?  These questions need to be answered again and again if we are to live the life God intended for us.

Now, just because God has a plan for our lives does not mean that we should act like robots on an assembly line.  God created us as unique persons with specific talents and things that we are passionate about.  In fact this is often how God speaks to us: in the desires and yearnings of our hearts.  It’s so important to listen to these longings and to bring them before God in prayer.  How else can we unite our will to His?

It’s also important to remember that God has ordained it so that certain things will not happen in our lives unless we pray for them!  Meaning that yes, God has a specific plan for your life (and for mine, and for everyone else’s).  But part of that plan includes answering our prayers offered to Him.  If we don’t pray, how can our prayers be answered?

Don’t overthink this too much—and don’t let it bother you.  So long as we are praying for the desires of our hearts and seeking to unite our will with Christ’s, we have nothing to worry about.  Prayer should be as natural to the Christian as breathing: An ongoing conversation with our Father.

So no, it’s not pointless to pray for a career when God already has one in mind for you.  Prayer is a conversation between you and your Father in Heaven.  It’s turning to God and saying, “You gave me these gifts and these desires.  Help me discern how to use them for your glory.”  Whether that looks like a fancy corporate job, missionary work in a foreign country, being a stay-at-home parent, etc… will be the fruit of your ongoing conversation with God in the midst of your hard work and— yes, even your planning.

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