How to Combine Prayer and Planning without Frustration

Getting Past Failed Plans

Photo by Uday Mittal on Unsplash

The Bible endorses prayer (obviously) AND it endorses planning. Let’s talk about how to combine them and what to do when those well-intentioned prayer plans fail.

Both Prayer and Planning are Very Biblical

“The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the PLANS of His heart to all generations.” Psalm 33:11

“May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your PLANS!” Psalm 20:4

“Commit your works to the Lord, and YOUR PLANS will be established.” Proverbs 16:3

“But he who is noble PLANS noble things, and on noble things he stands.” Isaiah 32:8

God is a planner! He has made plans for our planet, people groups, and us as individuals based on His purposes.

Though our world often has chaos running through it, there are also many solid, unchanging systems that give us a measure of stability, order, and peace.

We know there are 24 hours in a day, every day. We know there will be seasons. We know the laws of physics will be operating each day, all day. There are stable laws and principles and systems God has set in place based on His purposes and plans.

God is working out those plans on our planet and in our lives.

The Ideal is to align ourselves with God’s plans for our lives.

When we pray over the different aspects of our lives, the Bible says God will give us insights and He will work with us to “establish” our plans when we commit them to Him.

When we pray about how to fulfill God’s purposes, God will give us insights and wisdom. When we pray as we take action, God will work with us to help us accomplish those purposes.

It is awesome when we pray for guidance and when we pray as we take action and we accomplish the plan! Not only are people helped, but our faith and confidence grow as well.

What to Do When the Plan Fails

So what do we do when we have sincerely asked God for His plan, for His wisdom and His power to accomplish His will and it doesn’t work?

I’ve had more of those experiences than I’d like to admit and it always hurts. I asked God for wisdom, made plans based on the answers I got, took action, and the plan failed.

No way around it, that hurts, and can be a faith “weakener” or faith smasher if we don’t handle this well.

It can be really frustrating and discourage us from praying or planning, because who wants to get their hopes up if they keep getting dashed?

Here are a few suggestions I’ve found helpful.

  1. When the disciples could not help a boy get free from a demonic presence, they went to Jesus and asked Him why it didn’t work. Jesus answered them and gave them insights.

When it didn’t work, go back to Jesus and ask Him. He may give you a clear answer and then you’ve learned how to move forward.

2. Study. If Jesus doesn’t give you a clear and immediate answer, He may want you to dig deeper into His word and find out the reason there. Proverbs 25:2 says “it’s the glory of God to conceal a matter, it’s the glory of kings to search it out.”

Proverbs 2 takes many verses exhorting us to search for God’s wisdom and knowledge like a person searching for great treasure. God hides much of His wisdom for those who are willing to really dig for it, those who really value it.

Many times, God gives us answers after we have valued them enough to dig for them.

3. Learn from it. Everyone gets it wrong sometimes. We may have injected our subconscious desires into our prayer time, or we may have payed more attention to circumstances or the wishes of a loved one more than God’s voice. Or the timing may have been off, even if it was God’s plan.

We really only have two choices when the prayer plan fails:

One: Learn from it

Two: Quit and stop trying.

It’s pretty clear, which of those two options pleases God more.

God can work with us when we take action on what we understand God’s plan to be. But even God can’t redirect a ship that stays on land.

Unfortunately, I’ve heard too many sincere Christians say, “I tried making a plan and it didn’t work. Now, I just leave everything to God. If He wants me to do it, He will open the door and He will cause it to succeed.”

The question I ask is, “HAVE YOU READ THE BIBLE?”

Do you know how many times people took action on what God clearly told them to do and it did not work out well…..for a time?

What if Noah had stopped building the ark because nothing was happening for many years?

What if Abraham had stopped believing at year 18 instead of year 20, the year Isaac was born?

What happened when Moses went to Pharaoh and demanded the liberation of Israel….at first it got worse for the Jews before God eventually delivered them.

On and on it goes, when people did what God said, often it got worse or nothing happened for a long period of time.

How about when David tried bringing the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem? (2 Samuel 6)

That was a God-inspired plan.

Yet, God struck down two men when they tried to do it.

David was upset, He was disappointed, even angry with God because David was doing God’s will, God’s plan and God Himself struck down two men.

What did David do?

He let himself hurt and grieve. That can be a good thing to do.

Then, he went back to the Bible, studied how God said to handle the ark of the covenant. Saw what he did wrong. Changed his actions, did it God’s way and this time it worked. It was then a huge celebration and an on-going blessing for the entire nation.

But what if He had given up on prayer and planning?

My encouragement is this. Please keep practicing prayer planning.

When it doesn’t work, don’t quit on prayer or planning, learn.

There is no condemnation for believers, only fresh starts and learning.

If you want more FREE resources on prayer and planning head over to



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Mark Furlong

Helping busy, active people know and live all of God’s purposes for their life: the complete life.,