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  • Writer's pictureDoug Burroughs

Fixed Point Navigation

Just the other day, I woke early and scanned a few headlines on my phone and began to ask the Lord how I should pray about the things I had just read. His answer to me was nothing short of a complete redirection and course correction in my heart.

"You don't have the necessary means to pray right now," was His immediate answer to my prayer. I asked further, "What do You mean by this?"

His answer set the course of the day. "You are trying to navigate this season through moving targets, shifting circumstances and fluctuating occurrences. You must consult a fixed point to navigate in these waters."

God had, in a moment, done what only He can do. A flood of memories came back to me from my teen years of learning to sail with my father, and how those seemingly obscure lessons from decades ago, now become applicable in this season.

When I was in my teens, my father was seeking out ways to connect the family, which was increasingly becoming driven in different directions due to more and more extra curricular activities. So, he bought a boat.

Not just any boat, he bought a double hulled sailing vessel known as a catamaran. This led to many fun adventures over the next few years until we older kids were pulled away to college and life. (Many stories here...not for today.) Like any father, he wanted us to master the basics of sailing, so he first handed me a book. The book was a basic primer on sailing. I still remember him asking me to read this and begin to familiarize myself with sailing and its nuances. It was in the pages of this book that I was first introduced to what the Lord showed me.

Fixed point navigation, as the book began to instruct me, is the ability to fix a point in front of you that does not change and does not move. As you sail, you catch the wind in your sails, and have to do what is called a tack, a zig-zag motion back and forth to catch the wind. If you do not have a fixed point, the wind and the currents in the water can take you far off course. You find yourself shifting in the momentary circumstance and can loose all sense of the ultimate direction you were heading for.

In that moment when the Lord was speaking to me, I immediately knew what He was referring to. Before I could even do a kingdom activity like intercession for the current circumstances, I had to have my navigational fix point to know how to pray.

So, where would I go for a navigational fix point?

His eternal word.

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away." - Mark 13:31 (NKJV)

Now that revelation is a "fixed point". I can now navigate, catching the wind of the Holy Spirit in my sails, tacking back and forth, navigating the shifting currents of the moment and still reach my eternal destination, all through using the fixed point of the Word of God.


How does that work for me?

Here's an example from last week. I had been reading the scriptures, but felt almost a malaise, a lack of clarity and focus over situations. So, I decided to stay focused on my fixed point. I read, and I read, and I read, until I could feel a peace settle over me that was more than just a sense of calm, it was calm with clarity that comes only when I have been in this environment as Ephesians 5:26 describes it.

"...that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word...". In these moments, debris, clutter, irritants and pollutants are washed away, and I have more clarity, focus and desire than I had previous to reading the word.

That particular night, in the midst of a sleepless period, I rolled over and rested into a deep sleep that comes only from this "cleansed" environment.


How much is enough?

That seems like a great question. Is it a verse, a chapter, a book, a whole section of scripture? Do I read for a few minutes, twenty minutes, an hour, two hours? The truth is, there is no prescribed length of scripture or time. It's not a formula, it's a relationship. Some nights I read a verse or two and that's it. Other times I read for hours until it settles. The more I give into the process and surrender to the Spirt of God's wooing me into this time, the easier it is to gain the benefit of it. My job is not to fulfill a check list, but to enter into a relational activity.

Now, any of you that have know me for a while, know that I read through the Old Testament once each year and through the New Testament twice, in addition to any other study that I may do for my own curiosity, teaching or reading I may want to do in the Bible. I have been doing a system called, "The Life Journal Bible Reading" for over two decades now (Here is a link to learn how to Life Journal featuring the creator of the system, Dr. Wayne Cordeiro), and it is a great baseline for my daily interaction with God. But, it isn't my boundary for reading the word, but a pathway. That pathway can lead to all sorts of exploration, delving into many fruitful places in the word of God. I can let loose and explore in other places, just enjoying the presence of God as He reads the word with me.


What's Next?

That's the trouble with predicting without prophetic insight: it's really just your best guess. But with a fixed point, you know where you are going and when you will get there. The state of a pandemic will shift and change. The heads of state will move and change. Laws will be passed and economies will change, but His word stands forever. Before I try to pray through the changes in my daily world, I have to get settled in His word from His world.

Happy reading, resting and relating in His presence!


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