“The king asked, “Well, how can I help you?” With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied, “If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.”
What’s a Poka-Yoke? That’s exactly what I wondered when Seth Godin wrote about them recently. So, I looked it up. And once again, the internet delivered: POKA-YOKE is a Japanese term. It is used to indicate a design choice or apparatus that imposes restrictions on how an operation can be carried out to force the user to do so correctly. This composite word literally means “avoid (yokeru) careless mistakes (poka)”. These Poka-Yokes are all around us, even to the point that we don’t even notice them anymore. In fact, I can’t send this post without confirming to WordPress that I really want it to be posted. Same as my car makes me depress the brake pedal before I can put it in gear to drive forward or reverse. Too bad we don’t have more Poka-Yokes around our work that make us stop, think, rethink and the consider the consequences before we take action. Poka-Yokes seem like really good ideas.
Nehemiah said a prayer before he acted. That one prayer action (now named after him) has become for many a part of their routine. It’s like asking God to be our Poka-Yoke so that He might restrict us before we do something harmful or stupid. We need God to curb us when we need curbed, probably even more than we need Him to encourage us. If we get through His Poka-Yoke then we can feel assured that what comes next will be of His will. That’s doesn’t mean it will all go perfectly or have guaranteed success, but it does mean that we can move forward with the confidence that He is with us.
Reference: Nehemiah 2:4-5 (New Living Translation)