I first discovered this scripture Jeremiah 29:11 at an all night prayer meeting of my former church when the church was just getting started a few months after I graduated from college. I remember with great clarity when the Lord revealed this great promise to me personally, but it was a word for this new ministry barely a year old. We were mostly in our 20s, in college or just out of it and starting our careers. Our prayer ministry was about 20-25 strong on a Friday night, committed to seek Jesus and strengthen our Christian faith and fellowship.
The Pastor had asked me earlier that day to prepare my heart to speak prophetically that night, and that he would let me know when to share. Well, I prayed and prayed all that day, and nothing came to me before prayer started later that night. I had to completely trust God for what He wanted to say to us.
As with most gatherings, the night of prayer started off with praise and worship. Out of that worship, the prayer points and following exhortations began. In one of the quiet times of prayer I literally heard or had a strong impression to read Jeremiah 29:10-15
The words leapt off the page, and I knew that this was the word of the Lord for the church! As I prayed this scripture and meditated on it, the Pastor called me up about 15 min later to share what God had placed in my heart to share to our church members. It was such a great word with following instructions in the next verses.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.”
Jeremiah 29:11-14 NKJV
It was so powerful because we were all ready calling upon Him in prayer and this scripture let us know that He was listening! But God goes further- we seek and find Him when we search for Him with our whole heart! God wants our undivided attention.
Ps 86:11 says “Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.”
God has to “unite our hearts” so that we can worship and seek Him wholly – with our entire beings. We need His help to us stay focused, to reign in our thoughts, needs, desires and “cast down” those things that seek to exalt themselves over His word and plan for our lives.
Every time I read Jeremiah 29:11 now, even 30 years later, I am reminded of my first time seeing it- how comforting and exhilarating it was to know that we are in God’s thoughts and He has specific plans for a hopeful destiny! Even though we might get confused or unfocused, God is not confused. HE KNOWS what the plan of action is. Wow! What a word for a young Christian in a young ministry. What a word for me today!
As we grow older, we think we may know the plan or we may confuse our plan with God’s plan, and He has to give us course correction. We have demands of careers, family, community and life events that may pull our attention. He unites our heart and refocuses our attention back to Him.
When we seek him with our whole hearts, we find Him and He unfolds His plans for our lives. He gives instructions on next steps. He gives a word of grace to bring healing and hope so that we can walk in truth and in the destiny we are called to fulfill with great excitement and joy.