Whether you’re a “planner” by nature or not, there are times you simply need a plan. Schools hold fire drills, public buildings have emergency exit plans, and on every single airplane flight, attendants give instructions for what to do in case of an emergency.
I’ve seen it in my life and the lives of many others: something unexpected or difficult happens. The events of life leave you reeling and feeling helpless for how to move forward. Such times even seem to come in waves, lasting for prolonged seasons. And often, it’s in these times that seeking God feels difficult.
That’s why you need a plan — a spiritual emergency plan. Its purpose is to position you for victory.
There’s evidence that a spiritual crisis plan works.
We see a beautiful example of this in 2 Chronicles 20.
Enemy nations were coming to make war on Jehoshaphat and the Israelites. And though they had a one-day warning, it certainly wasn’t enough time to adequately prepare. In fact, as can happen in our lives, weeks of preparation wouldn’t have been adequate to combat what was coming against them.
Thankfully for the people of Israel, their wise leader, though alarmed, “resolved to inquire of the LORD”:
“Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the LORD, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the LORD” (verses 3-4).
Here, in part, is the purpose of the plan. Sometimes even inquiring of the Lord is difficult. When we’re struggling, when truth seems aloof, and clarity won’t come, when our emotions are running rampant, and our desire is waning, seeking God feels overwhelming. Sensing His guidance feels even more difficult.
As is shown in the account of Jehoshaphat, His guidance is what is most needed. In seeking God, Jehoshaphat received instruction that brought supernatural victory. (I encourage you to read the entire account in 2 Chronicles 20:1-30.) In every crisis — and in all of life — that’s what we need as well.
I’ve found the following four steps very helpful. This is a four-step plan I put in place long before I need it, and the habit of these steps positions me for victory when my resolve is waning.
A Four-Phase Spiritual Crisis Plan
I love to study God’s Word and most often find it directly applicable to everyday life. But when runaway thoughts clutter my mind, clinging to one verse is often the best I can do. When those times come, I’m so thankful for go-to passages of Scripture.
You need them too. You need something you can cling to – a verse or verses that speak clear truth to you.
In a recent time of feeling overwhelmed with some life changes, I found great strength and comfort in one of my “go to” verses: “My God shall meet all your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). Simply repeating it and speaking it over myself as truth — in spite of what I felt — brought faith and comfort.
New patterns are difficult to put in place in a crisis. That’s why each part of your plan is most effective if you’re implementing it all along. In all seasons, you need patterns – patterns of when you spend time with God, patterns of coming to Jesus in praise, prayer and study.
You need well-worn, tried and true patterns, ones you do by habit even when you don’t feel like coming to God. Just keep showing up — day after day, week after week – even when your time with God feels stale, your prayers feel powerless, and your desire is completely lacking.
You need people who will stand with you when you cannot stand yourself. There’s a beautiful picture of this in the Old Testament. At Moses’ instruction, Joshua led a group of men to fight the Amalekites. Moses’ role was to stand on a hill overlooking the battle, holding the staff of God in his hands.
As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning. But as Moses’ arms grew tired and his hands lowered, the Amalekites started winning. The solution: Aaron and Hur stood beside Moses helping hold his arms, so the staff of the Lord remained steadily lifted. The Israelites won the battle.
Moses couldn’t do it alone, and you can’t either.
If you don’t have a person like this, let me suggest you become this person for someone else. Find a person in need and come alongside them; hold them up. I firmly believe that in doing so, God will bless you with a person to come alongside you. (It might even be the person you sought to help.)
You also need people to pray with and for you. Scripture is clear: when you’re in trouble – pray. When you’re sick – call the elders of the church and ask them to pray. We are to pray for each other (James 5:1-15).
The four parts of this plan are not in a suggested order. If they were, this one would be first. But for me, praise is often the most difficult thing to do when I feel overwhelmed.
Have some go-to worship songs. Look through the Psalms and borrow the words of men who also walked through difficult times. Praise in all its many forms is powerful. It combats discouragement by elevating your thinking to God’s truth.
Praise is also a form of warfare. Psalm 8:2 says: “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” Many days, if not every day, that’s what you and I need. We need Satan and his lies to sit down and shut up.
Life is full of ups and downs, but a victory for the children of God is always available. Like Jehoshaphat, we must position ourselves to hear from God and receive His plan for victory.
This four step spiritual crisis plan will help you do just that.