November 1, 2015 • Life for Leaders
May he grant you your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your plans.”
Psalm 20 is a prayer for the king of Israel. In this prayer, the psalmist asks God to grant the desires of the king’s heart and to make all of his plans succeed. That’s a fine request, to be sure. But what if the king’s desires aren’t what they ought to be? What if his plans reflect selfish goals rather than God’s purposes?
Psalm 20 assumes that what the king wants will, indeed, be consistent with God’s will. The psalmist anticipates something we find in Psalm 37: “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires” (v. 4). When we seek the Lord first and foremost, when we take pleasure in him and his kingdom, then our very desires will be transformed. More and more, we will yearn for the things of God. Our plans will be a reflection of his plans. Indeed, they’ll be a tiny portion of his “grand plan” for the cosmos.
Years ago, I was hoping to be called as the senior pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church. On the night before the congregational meeting that would decide my fate, I took a long walk so I could pray. At the beginning, my prayers focused on my desires: “Lord, please help this vote to be positive.” But by the end of my prayer walk, my heart had changed. I was honestly praying, “Not my will, but your will be done.” I truly wanted whatever God wanted. I desired his desires, not just because it was the right thing to do, but also because the Spirit of God had touched my heart.
So it can be for all of us as we submit ourselves to the Lord, allowing him to be our delight.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
How do you think God views the desires of your heart?
Are you open to letting the desires of God’s own heart become your own?
Gracious Lord, I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t admit that I want you to grant my heart’s desires. Of course, I do! And, yes, I want you to bless my plans. That’s also true.
But I am well aware that my desires and plans might not be the best. I can think of so many times in my life when I wanted something badly, but realized later that it wasn’t right for me. So, before I ask you to grant my heart’s desires, I ask you to give me the desires of your heart. As Bob Pierce once prayed, may my heart be broken by the things that break your heart.
I would add, Lord, may my heart yearn for the things that delight your heart. May my passions align with your passions, my goals with your goals. Help me to want what you want for myself, my family, my work, my relationships, my country, and this whole world. And then, gracious God, please grant my heart’s desires. May all of my plans succeed, because they are your plans. Amen.
An earlier version of this devotion appeared at The High Calling. It is used with permission under a Creative Commons license.
Image Credit: Take My Heart — CC 2.5 courtesy of Gwen Meharg.
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.