“Conversing with the Father is colored by the needs of the day. Let your prayer for the day be something specific, arising either out of the Word which you have read, or out of the real soul needs which you long to be satisfied. Let our prayer be definite that you can say as you go out, “I know what I have asked from my Father, and I expect an answer.” Andrew Murray
How do I know if a “leading” is from God or my own feelings?
When contemplating actions that have eternal significance, like whom we marry, what profession we will seek, habits we need to break, sins that need to go, relationships that need improving, it requires a thoughtful approach. Over the next few days I am going to share some of the criteria I use myself when discerning whose “voice” I’m hearing.
Recently, my husband and I have opened our home to someone for a few weeks. I didn’t have time to think this one through or question what direction to take. This was the only action to take.
However, since then I’ve sought God’s direction every day for what step to take next. We all have times like this when God has brought a circumstance into our lives that we’ve not engineered in any way. There’s been no time to pray about it. These are not the times I’m referring to. But as our unexpected circumstances unveil themselves, we may find that we need to seek God’s guidance. These questions can help then.
I just wanted to make sure you understand that I’m talking about plans and decisions we’re planning in the future.
This series will take about two weeks depending on how much I might double up on some questions. Seeing as I plan on posting this series four days a week……well, you can do the math. 🙂
I am not an authority on this subject of God’s guidance, but I’m a pray-ER who has learned a few things along the way. I’ve experienced some trauma. I’ve seen God’s hand at work in my life and in the lives of others.
I’ve also witnessed those who foolishly walk head long into disaster because they haven’t sought God’s wisdom. I think sometimes I’ve learned as much from them as I have from own experiences and as a hospital chaplain I was exposed to many such situations.
While these are my thoughts and are the result of research I’ve done, they are, or course, influenced by great authors, past and present.. And I would be amiss not to mention that I’ve learned from the experience of others and from the blogs I read.
I find knowing God’s will for an action I’m contemplating is easy and hard at the same time. In certain areas I find it extremely easy.
For example, I don’t have to question whether I should give financially to my church; the concept of tithing is clear.
I don’t have to question my plans for robbing a bank;stealing is wrong.
Sometimes it’s not so easy though. There’s certain level of ambiguity with which we have to live. God actually told us there would be such times when He said, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.Isaiah 55:8
On the other hand, we are told to seek God’s guidance. So with that in mind, here’s the first question I ask myself.
Have I been praying about the decision I need to make?
If we’ve known there’s an issue to be decided and we haven’t been praying, we might as well toss a coin. God knows there are times we have to make quick decisions. God knows that and God honors that. But to expect God to give instant direction about an important decision we’ve had time to pray about, reeks of role reversal.
God is not at our beck and call like some sort of genie. He’s GOD, all caps, and we are treading on dangerous territory when we treat him as though he’s our “instant answer man”.
There are more people than not who go ahead and make their plans and then expect God to bless those plans. I’ve done the same thing, but thank goodness I’m learning that while God sometimes does bless my plans even though I’ve jumped ahead of Him, I miss out on so much.
I miss the privilege of praying about it. There’s something about the act of praying itself that enriches my life. If my plans do come to fruition, but I hit some detours, I know that I prayed about it first and I can rest in the knowledge that God will guide me through those detours.
Inviting God in on the process right from the beginning is the important point.
Sometimes my prayer are long and urgent. Sometimes my prayers are shorter and simpler. For a while, the “shorter and simpler” bothered me. Over the years though I’ve learned that just as God allows times of simplicity and peace, there are other times He allows challenges, so it would make sense that the tone of my prayers would accurately reflect those times.
If you were to examine all the prayers in the Bible, you will find that every prayer is short. The longest official prayer is Nehemiah 9:5-38 which can be read in just a few minutes. If you consider Psalm 119 a prayer, the longest chapter in the Bible, even it can be read aloud in less than fifteen minutes.
Jesus criticized the Pharisees for their long arduous prayers because their lives didn’t reflect their words. Lots of words do not a great pray-ER make. Sincerity and a real love for those we pray for is what makes a great pray-ER.
So today, what actions are you considering? What plans are you making? Have you been sincerely praying about it?
God bless and I hope you have a good day.
(This post,GOD’S VOICE OR MINE? Knowing the difference,(prayer, part 1), showed up first on faithsighanddiy.com.)