On a recent 3 minute golf-tip podcast, the speaker said that too many players focus on the result of the round. Looking to hit that magic number. What this does is create anxiety and frustration when something goes awry—a poor shot, a bad bounce—and the player sees the goal slipping away.
He encouraged players to focus on the process (pre-shot routine, visualization, etc.) rather than the end result. By doing so, they stay in the moment, focused on the current decision and stroke, which is really the only part of the game the player can control. Ironically, more often than not, the end result is favorable, or at the very least, the player feels content with how he or she played.
Likewise as Christians we can become so focused on the outcome, what we want to achieve, what we want God to achieve, that anything that thwarts the result we want leaves us anxious and frustrated. Instead, just as in golf, we shouldn't worry about the outcome, but focus on the process.
In fact, the Bible, among other things, is process book for us. It is very clear that our job is to focus on the process of following Christ and of becoming more like Christ, living a life that brings glory to God. The results are God’s responsibility..
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you (Philippians 4:8-9).
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you . . . May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through (I Thessalonians 5:16-23).
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:4).
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
Yes, we do need to pray with specificity. Yes, we should want to see BIG things achieved for God’s glory, and individual lives changed because of God’s love. But the actual results rest in God’s hands. They are completely out of our control. What is in our control is how we live and what we do—one thought, one prayer, one action at a time.