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Elizabeth86

Praying for guidance

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If you have ever prayed for God to show you the right decision to make, how did he answer or show you?  I have been a Christian for a long time, but unfortunately  I don't  spend as much time in prayer as I should and I want to know what God wants me to do in a certain situation. I was just curious how God speaks to your heart?  Sadly, I don't  think I have ever asked for His guidance.

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Yes, I have done this many times when making both big and not so big decisions in my life. I usually make a decision as to what to do, and then pray to ask God to let me know if that’s the right thing to do. 

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God does not always guide us minute by minute.  

He gives us a great deal of freedom.

"Commit your work unto the Lord, that your plans may be established."  Make a decision using all of the wisdom that God has made available to you, and pray for His blessing and aid.

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It’s hard to say exactly without more info but what I’ve found over the course of my life is that if I ask God to show me the person He would have me be, that ends up being a harder but truer path than asking about one path vs another.  And often, it is the more difficult path. 

Im going to edit this to add two specific prayers. Technology limitations... 

Edit addition #1–

O Lord, I do not know what to ask of Thee. Thou alone knowest what I need. Thou lovest me more than I know how to love myself. O Father, grant Thy servant what I myself do not know how to ask. I do not dare to ask a cross of Thee, nor consolation; I only stand before Thee with my heart open; Thou seest the needs that I myself do not know. Look, and work in me according to Thy mercy; smite and heal me, cast me down and raise me up! I am reverent and silent before Thy holy will and ways that are unfathomable to me. I offer myself as a sacrifice to Thee; teach me to pray. Do Thou Thyself pray in me. Amen.

 

Edit #2

O Lord, grant me to greet the coming day in peace, help me in all things to rely upon your holy will. In every hour of the day reveal your will to me. Bless my dealings with all who surround me. Teach me to treat all that comes to throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that your will governs all. In all my deeds and words, guide my thoughts and feelings. In unforeseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by you. Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all that it shall bring. Direct my will, teach me to pray. And you, yourself, pray in me. Amen.

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Sometimes it's to shut off the option of wrong decision.

Sometimes it's peace in the right decision.

But I agree, there's rarely a writing on the wall type of signal, usually it's praying that the wisest decision will be blessed.

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I've received answers in different ways in varying circumstances.   I firmly believe Heavenly Father wants to communicate with us.   If I am ever uncertain of an answer, prompting, impression, nudge, etc. - I can ask "is this real?  or just me?"  I'll usually get an answer to that too.)

I've had words leap off the page at me while reading the scriptures.   accompanying that was the sure knowledge THAT was my ANSWER!

i've had a voice answer a question.  once as a young teen, when it was a purely (but asked often) rhetorical question - i'd receive the same answer every time.  upon finally realizing I was getting an answer, I was then able to ask clarifying questions - and they were answered.

I've had promptings I needed to pray for an answer - and despite how illogical the answer, I knew it was the answer.

in all those times, no matter how illogical or difficult - there was an unexplainable peace.   (including the times it was a "don't do that".  there was peace in "not doing that".)

oh - we've had one circumstance that should have sent us running for the hills given some experiences we've had - when we've prayerfully dealt with it, there has been an absence of concern.  nothing about "this will work out".   but rather "no worries".  

 

I recall one christmas season we were staying at a relatives house, and I had taken dudeling for a drive to see the lights. (so, nighttime and dark)  I was wandering through a neighborhood, turning this way and that and the thought came "how will you give directions to someone to come help you if you get stranded?"   I didn't have any issues with my car, it ran fine and there was no reason to suppose that would change.  so, I started heading back the way I came and not long afterwards, my car died.   turns out some mechanic  doing scheduled maintenance left something too loose.  reminds me of the time I was driving  seven/eight hours and before I left, (dh was staying home with dudeling while the rest of us went. ) He announced he put air in all of my tires - including my spare. . . . "oh, does this mean I'm going to have a flat?"   sure enough, when we got to our destination off-ramp, there was road work and we picked up a nail.

 

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I've found it's a combination of different things for me. Sometimes it's a feeling inside but I don't really always trust just that, so I seek confirmation from others that I know will give good advice and will also go to God in prayer. Sometimes I find something in scripture along with that, and sometimes circumstances come together to point the way. 

I do rest in what I find to be true--that, even if I make a mistake and do something that isn't "the right decision," God can redeem situations, so I don't put too much pressure on myself to always choose correctly. I would rather make the right decision right from the start, though, as the "wrong but redeemed" ones can often involve unpleasantries. 

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Read just do something by Kevin de young. It’ll help. We have a remarkable amount of freedom within Gods plan. Sometimes there is no perfect decision. You just do the best you can. I’ve also prayed “ god, I’m leaning toward doing this. You know  my heart and that I want to please you. If this is dumb make it so clear that I won’t have to wonder.”

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7 hours ago, Elizabeth86 said:

If you have ever prayed for God to show you the right decision to make, how did he answer or show you?  I have been a Christian for a long time, but unfortunately  I don't  spend as much time in prayer as I should and I want to know what God wants me to do in a certain situation. I was just curious how God speaks to your heart?  Sadly, I don't  think I have ever asked for His guidance.

Maybe? I'm sure I often get it wrong. But I did hear something on the radio recently I thought might help you. It was a woman saying that she prays regularly so that she is well connected (she used some other description) or grounded in God, so that her decisions are coming from a good, right, holy place. So that helps guide her decisions, rather than God giving her some big sign in about one decision in particular. And then she said, she also trusts God enough that she trusts he can make good come out of her mistakes, too. That gave her a lot of peace, to know God will work with whatever decision she makes. 

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41 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

Read just do something by Kevin de young. It’ll help. We have a remarkable amount of freedom within Gods plan. Sometimes there is no perfect decision. You just do the best you can. I’ve also prayed “ god, I’m leaning toward doing this. You know  my heart and that I want to please you. If this is dumb make it so clear that I won’t have to wonder.”

 

I haven't read the book, but I agree with this. 

Some years ago my husband and I made a decision to completely change our life.  We felt God leading us*, but we were still uncertain. We prayed that God would shut doors for us if we were headed in the wrong direction, and sustain us as we went along. It hasn't always been easy but we still believe that we did the right thing, even as we have had some hard times.

But during this we were looking at houses to buy as we were moving from Oregon to Pennsylvania.  Someone showed us a house that in some ways was perfect - super cheap, cute, in good shape. In other ways it was terrible - street parking only on a narrow, crowded street, postage-stamp sized back yard, somewhat awkward 3-story floor plan. There was another house that had a nice big yard with a fence (we wanted to get a dog) and was more appropriate for our family, but much more expensive.  I felt like we should buy the cheaper house. But I couldn't imagine us living there. I couldn't imagine the stress of having to search for parking on my own street!   On the way home on the plane, I read the book Praying Backward which included a discussion about having freedom to choose and still be in God's will (like what Fairfarmhand says above). It freed me from feeling I "had" to choose the cheaper house.  It was such a relief!  

*the leading came in the form of people talking to us, books that came into our hands, stuff like that.  Not just our "feeling led" which... I'm not even sure what that really means. 

 

 

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9 hours ago, LMD said:

Sometimes it's to shut off the option of wrong decision.

Sometimes it's peace in the right decision.

But I agree, there's rarely a writing on the wall type of signal, usually it's praying that the wisest decision will be blessed.

This for me as well. I have often prayed for him to ease my desire for something if it is not his will. Also turning to scripture in those moments of indecision to examine if what I want to do or the way my heart is pointing is biblical. God has often pointed me clearly through scripture.

An example is,for a long time I wanted another baby desperately. I was trying every avenue to the point that my singular focus became quite sinful. I felt God was placing the desire for another child on my heart and he would bless that. When I began praying for this desire to be removed if it was not what was best for our family, I felt the desire begin to lift and the sin in it was clearly revealed to me. The desire vanished and I could finally just focus on the children I already have. So sometimes my prayers are to tease out what is the path God wants for us from the path that I want for me. I try hard to not fall I can to the trap of believing my plan is better than God's plan. 

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My prayers for guidance have changed over the years.  I think generally God's role is not to tell us specifically what to do (although I think there are times that He does).  But our walk toward living the life Christ calls us to live does change us over time, and certainly influences our decisions.  Maybe that is what we need to rely on -- our own "gut" feelings -- which have been formed over time by our communion with God.  

I think there usually isn't a right or wrong decision.  I think God can help us make something beautiful out of a bad or complicated decision.

I believe if He really is going to give us a very specific instruction or choice, He will make it so clear that it will be obvious.  We don't need to search and make weird conclusions from random clues.  (I do know people who do that!)

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24 minutes ago, J-rap said:

My prayers for guidance have changed over the years.  I think generally God's role is not to tell us specifically what to do (although I think there are times that He does).  But our walk toward living the life Christ calls us to live does change us over time, and certainly influences our decisions.  Maybe that is what we need to rely on -- our own "gut" feelings -- which have been formed over time by our communion with God.  

I think there usually isn't a right or wrong decision.  I think God can help us make something beautiful out of a bad or complicated decision.

I believe if He really is going to give us a very specific instruction or choice, He will make it so clear that it will be obvious.  We don't need to search and make weird conclusions from random clues.  (I do know people who do that!)

In my faith tradition that would be called "a well formed conscience".

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3 hours ago, marbel said:

It freed me from feeling I "had" to choose the cheaper house.  It was such a relief! 

That brings up an interesting point. For me it is easy to get caught up in some abstract idea about what God wants- yet in reading about monastic spirituality, (a most "spiritual" of spirituality!!!), I really see more and more that it is essentially very simple, practical, unfearful. I almost get the feeling that 1) if it's not morally wrong, then the choice is a perfectly valid option, 2) love and kindness should continue through it all, 3) if you are justifying some action based on fear, then it is absolutely the wrong choice (like the fear of failing so you never try, etc. Most fears are more subtle, almost hidden, but I think they really effect people's choices (like the fear of being so "impractical" in spending more on the house that you know your family will thrive in.) Or in my case, not buying a house because I was afraid we wouldn't live in the location long enought to recoup our cost...but it was a really abstract idea because we could have bought the house as I had no way of knowing one way or the other how long we would really stay there.

 

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1 hour ago, learning123 said:

That brings up an interesting point. For me it is easy to get caught up in some abstract idea about what God wants- yet in reading about monastic spirituality, (a most "spiritual" of spirituality!!!), I really see more and more that it is essentially very simple, practical, unfearful. I almost get the feeling that 1) if it's not morally wrong, then the choice is a perfectly valid option, 2) love and kindness should continue through it all, 3) if you are justifying some action based on fear, then it is absolutely the wrong choice (like the fear of failing so you never try, etc. Most fears are more subtle, almost hidden, but I think they really effect people's choices (like the fear of being so "impractical" in spending more on the house that you know your family will thrive in.) Or in my case, not buying a house because I was afraid we wouldn't live in the location long enought to recoup our cost...but it was a really abstract idea because we could have bought the house as I had no way of knowing one way or the other how long we would really stay there.

 

 

We don't have to be afraid that we're going to screw up God's plan for our lives, when we are walking day by day with him,

Many people don't realize their faulty thinking in this area. They believe that God has this magic map all written out of "His perfect Will." One wrong move and ZAP! you're out of it. No hope for you. No more perfect will of God.

This makes God a kind of elf that's just waiting for us to screw up. He's a pesky nuisance who's hiding stuff and we have to agonize over stuff.

Relax. There are big decisions. Rest that it will be okay. I'm in the midst of some big stressful life changing decisions. I just pray over them constantly and try to rest that if there's one better path, he'll make it clear and if not, I can use my God-given common sense to make the decision that will work well for all the factors involved.

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I'm not a big one on "This is what I want to happen, so please make that happen." or "I've already made this choice on my own, and I want you to bless it."  Both of those seem to be putting myself in the driver's seat. Which unfortunately I do, but I own that and don't expect God to "make it happen" just because I want it..  Mostly I find myself praying for wisdom and discernment to make the best choice. If the choice goes bad, wisdom in how to to deal with it or fix it. Or strength to deal with it.

When it's something very important, or something that I feel very confused or undecided about it, I pray "let your hand be on this process", or "please guide this process".  I have to be very determined in my heart though, that I really want that and will accept if it goes opposite from what I might be leaning toward.  Example, when we were considering moving, there were so many pros and so many cons, and I really just couldn't reach peace about either decision.  I prayed, "Please let your hand be on this process.  If this is not the best path for us, I trust you."  Many things started falling into place afterward that made it clear to me the move was the right choice.

Another example of how I get a response is when I am very unsure, anxious, undecided.  I pray for guidance.  There may be something that comes up in the next few days or weeks, a scripture, an article, a song, a comment from a friend... and when it comes it's like a bell ringing, and something inside me goes "Oh." like when you realize something was obvious but you didn't see it.  The indecisiveness and anxiety go away, and there is peace about a certain decision.

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On 5/8/2018 at 12:11 PM, fairfarmhand said:

We don't have to be afraid that we're going to screw up God's plan for our lives, when we are walking day by day with him,

Many people don't realize their faulty thinking in this area. They believe that God has this magic map all written out of "His perfect Will." One wrong move and ZAP! you're out of it. No hope for you. No more perfect will of God.

 

Yes, I hope I didn't come across as saying that if you act out of fear, you've irreparably damaged the possibility of acting according to God's will. God's will is so big, so much more full and mysterious than we can ever figure out, that I have not one doubt that he takes into account our fears and failures.  

But, on the other hand, acting out of fear implies a certain mistrust in yourself and God; not something to shoot for. Heck, in the end, we'll all be amazed at how God took our shoddiest actions and brought good out of them...of course Christ's being beaten, mocked, put to death being the preeminent archtype of this.

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I had a moment of desperation once when I didn't know what to do.  I was quite young.  Maybe 21.  I asked a similar question of a friend - all I knew was that there were a few paths I'd wanted to go down where God clearly had closed those doors.

My friend said that I needed to do what I wanted to do.  As long as I knew it wasn't sinful, and the Lord wasn't clearly showing me it wouldn't work, I had the freedom to do what I wanted to do and it would be fine.  I've found that to be true ever since. So pray the Lord will close the doors you're not supposed to go down, and then do whatever you want.

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21 hours ago, learning123 said:

 

Yes, I hope I didn't come across as saying that if you act out of fear, you've irreparably damaged the possibility of acting according to God's will. God's will is so big, so much more full and mysterious than we can ever figure out, that I have not one doubt that he takes into account our fears and failures.  

But, on the other hand, acting out of fear implies a certain mistrust in yourself and God; not something to shoot for. Heck, in the end, we'll all be amazed at how God took our shoddiest actions and brought good out of them...of course Christ's being beaten, mocked, put to death being the preeminent archtype of this.

Yeah I was just following along with where you started. I didn’t disagree at all. 

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God speaks to me by having a complete peace about the decision I've made.  Sometimes, though, if I don't have that complete peace and I have to make a decision in a short amount of time, I just do the best I can, and it generally works out.  God gives us freedom to make decisions. 

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