設定目標、制定計畫,還要禱告──SET GOALS, FORMULATE PLANS-AND PRAY

因現在是2023年的年初,我們當中的一些人,可能還處在為新年設定目標的階段。這些目標可能有很多種形式:包括長期和短期的。但我一直認為在一年開始時設定明確、可衡量、可實現的目標是很有幫助的,它們給了我一些努力的方向。正如有人說:「如果你什麼都不瞄準,你就會誤以為每次都擊中靶心」。因此,目標可以作為一個有用的標的物。

目標幫我們回答了「我要去哪裡?」,這樣的問題,但下一個問題是「我要如何才能到達那裡呢?」對於一些人來說,這就需要一個總體目標,並制定小的目標和計劃來實現它。最近,我面臨一個看似艱鉅的重大專案。為了緩解完成它的一些壓力和焦慮,我把它分成較小的目標,並且設定了實現這些目標的計劃。

或許你的方法和我的稍有不同,但是我發現,在目標設定和計劃的過程中,有一個重要的因素常常被忽視、忽略甚或遺忘,那就是禱告。

禱告和設定目標有什麼關係呢?我們不是應把禱告當作最後才該做的事,有點像「當其他一切都失敗時」的備用方案嗎?但是我領悟到,與其等待危機發生,不如提前把禱告當成準備過程的一部分,結果會更有果效。如果我們要禱告,應該禱告些什麼呢?其實禱告的面向有很多,以下是聖經中的一些建議:

禱告求智慧。在設定目標時,我會合情合理的說:「我知道自己需要做什麼,以及如何達成它。」但是,有時會出現意料之外的挑戰,或是我並不知道我所計劃,可以完成目標最好的方法是什麼。有時我也發現,上帝擁有比我更好的想法。因此,提前禱告求智慧,實際上可以成為一條捷徑。「你們中間若有缺少智慧的,應當求那厚賜與眾人、也不斥責人的神,主就必賜給他。」(雅各書1章5節)

禱告求方向和引導。在設定目標和制定計劃時,不僅是要問我們打算做什麼,還要問為什麼我們要這樣做,以及我們的動機是否正確?我們所設定的目標和計劃,是為了滿足自己個人的需求嗎?還是為了榮耀神呢?我們的禱告可以幫助確保我們走在正確的道路上,並有正確的理由。「又要以耶和華為樂,他就將你心裏所求的賜給你。當將你的事交託耶和華,並倚靠他,他就必成全。」(詩篇37章4-5節)「你要專心仰賴耶和華,不可倚靠自己的聰明,在你一切所行的事上都要認定他,他必指引你的路。」(箴言3章5-6節)

禱告求神的祝福。當進入一棟建築物,轉動門把來打開門,比嘗試破門而入更加容易。同樣道理,禱告讓我們能將渴望完成的事情交托給神,並祈求祂在我們的工作和祂的旨意一致時給予祝福。「所以我告訴你們,凡你們禱告祈求的,無論是甚麼,只要信是得着的,就必得着。」(馬可福音11章24節)

為他人禱告。我們的禱告常常是聚焦在自己,但禱告其實可以讓我們,更清楚地感受到周圍其他人的需要。有什麼比表現出對他人的真誠關心,更能代表基督呢?「凡事不可結黨,不可貪圖虛浮的榮耀;只要存心謙卑,各人看別人比自己強。各人不要單顧自己的事,也要顧別人的事。」 (腓立比書2章3-4節)

© 2023. Robert J. Tamasy 是企業巔峰: 給今日職場從箴言而來永恆的智慧 一書的作者。也與導師之心的作者David A. Stoddard 合著Tufting Legacies。編輯多本著作包括Mike Landry. Bob的書:透過苦難成長。Mike Landry. Bob的網站為www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com

備註:如果你有聖經,想閱讀更多的內容,可以考慮以下的經文:

箴言16章3、9、33節
16:3 你所做的,要交託耶和華,你所謀的,就必成立。
16:9 人心籌算自己的道路;惟耶和華指引他的腳步。
16:33 籤放在懷裏,定事由耶和華。
箴言19章21節
19:21 人心多有計謀;惟有耶和華的籌算才能立定。
箴言20章24節
20:24 人的腳步為耶和華所定;人豈能明白自己的路呢?
箴言21章30節
21:30 沒有人能以智慧、聰明、謀略敵擋耶和華。
帖撒羅尼迦前書5章17-18節
5:17 不住地禱告,
5:18 凡事謝恩;因為這是上帝在基督耶穌裏向你們所定的旨意。
雅各書4章3節
4:3 你們求也得不着,是因為你們妄求,要浪費在你們的宴樂中。

反省與問題討論

  1. 你是否已經完成了新年目標的設定?請描述一下你設定目標和目的的過程。
  2. 把禱告當作設定目標和制訂計劃,不可缺少的一部份,這個概念,你認為如何?對你來說是一個全新的觀念,還是你過往的實踐中已經這樣做了?請解釋一下你的答案。
  3. 你認為,神會如何透過禱告,給我們設定目標和制定計劃,所需的方向和引導呢?你自己有過這樣的親身經歷嗎?
  4. 禱告求神保守我們,和我們的工作是很正常的,但你對為他人禱告有什麼看法?甚至,這代表著是要把別人的利益,放在自己的利益之前。


SET GOALS, FORMULATE PLANS-AND PRAY

By  Robert J. Tamasy  

Since we are early in the year, some of us might still be in the process of setting goals for 2023. These can take many forms, both long-term and short-term, but I have always found it helpful to establish clear, measurable, attainable goals to begin the year. They give me something to strive toward. As someone has said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” So, goals serve as a useful target.

Goals help us answer the question, “Where am I going?” But the next question is, “How am I going to get there?” For some, it requires taking overarching goals and formulating objectives and plans for attaining them. Recently, I was facing a major project that seemed daunting. To relieve some of my stress and anxiety about completing it, I broke it down into smaller objectives and laid out plans for meeting them.

Perhaps your approach is somewhat different from mine, but I have found that one important element is often ignored, overlooked, or forgotten in the goal setting and planning process. That element is prayer.

What does prayer have to do with it? Don’t we reserve prayer as a last resort, kind of a “when all else fails” option? I have learned that rather than waiting for a crisis to occur, praying in advance – as part of my preparation process – is much more effective. If we pray, what should we pray for? There are many things, but here are some suggestions from the Scriptures:

Pray for wisdom. Often in setting goals, I have reasoned, “I know what I need to do and how to get there.” However, sometimes unexpected challenges arise. Or I might not know the best way to accomplish what I am setting out to do. And at times I discover that God has better ideas than I do. So, praying for wisdom in advance can actually be a shortcut. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).

Pray for direction and guidance. In setting goals and making plans, it can be wise not only to ask what we intend to do but also why we want to do it. Are our motives right? Are our goals and plans designed for our personal gratification – or to honor God? Therefore, our prayers can help to ensure we are going the right ways and for the right reasons. “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun” (Psalm 37:4-5). “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Pray for God’s blessing. To enter a building, it is easier to turn the knob and open the door than to try breaking it down. In a similar manner, prayer enables us to commit what we desire to accomplish to God and ask Him to bless our endeavors if they align with His will. “Therefore, I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted to you” (Mark 11:24).

Pray for others. Our prayers often focus on ourselves, but prayer can make us more aware to the needs of others around us. How better to represent Christ than to demonstrate sincere concern for others? “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4).

© 2023. Robert J. Tamasy has written Marketplace Ambassadors: CBMC’s Continuing Legacy of Evangelism and Discipleship; Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart, coauthored with Ken Johnson; andThe Heart of Mentoring, coauthored with David A. Stoddard. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. Have you completed your goal setting for this new year? Describe the process you use for establishing goals and objectives.
  2. What do you think of the idea of making prayer an integral part of your goal setting and planning? Is this a new concept for you, or is it a practice you have followed already, at least to some extent? Explain your answer.
  3. How do you think that through prayer God can provide us direction and guidance that we need for setting goals and making plans? Have you ever experienced this personally?
  4. It is not unusual to pray for God to bless us and our endeavors, but what do you think of the admonition to pray for others – even if it means putting their interests ahead of your own?     

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages: Proverbs 16:3,9,33, 19:21, 20:24, 21:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18; James 4:3


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