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As our focus this month is on prayer, and in particular, how to setup a vibrant and dynamic prayer journal, it seemed appropriate to pull out an article from our Power in Prayer course on how to know the will of God. We talk about waiting on God, but do we really know how to do it?



Most Christians recognize that allowing God to lead in their life, is an important key to experiencing God's richest blessings. In matters where the Scriptures are clear about God's will--this means bringing our life into harmony with the Bible, without delay. There is no need to pray for guidance, it is a matter of simple obedience.
     
But there are other situations where God's will is not so clear. We may be facing a decision where there are good biblical reasons for both options, or where there are few biblical reasons to choose either above the other. In these cases, it is still possible to know God's will. The paragraphs ahead give a few helpful tips on how to seek God's will, and do it. It is our hope you will find these tips helpful.

Consecration

The first step is perhaps hardest of all--a genuine desire to know God's will. The human heart is naturally independent and not inclined to pursue God's guidance. And God in turn does not force His counsel on those who are not open to Him. This may be one reason it is so uncommon to submit a decision to God in prayer and actually wait for and expect an answer from God. If you are serious about allowing God to lead in some matter, spend some time in prayer committing yourself to God. Ask Him to direct you clearly, and to incline your heart toward obedience. Indicate your determination to seek Him, and your willingness to do what He says. Having a quiet, submissive heart is pre-requisite to knowing God's will. Otherwise the clamor of self will drown out His still, small voice. To listen, you must be consecrated to God.

A Quest for God

Once you have prepared your heart in prayer--it is time to seek God. Begin by taking a sheet from your prayer journal, and prayerfully writing out your situation in the form of a question.

Examples might include: "Is it your will for me to buy this car?" "Which of these three colleges do you want me to attend?" "What should I do to get the best job possible?" Questions can be yes/no, multiple choice, or more open--but they should be specific. Return the sheet to your prayer journal and begin praying over it daily.

Next, expect God to speak to you through His word. Ask Him to lead clearly, and trust Him do just that. He has promised to give those who ask wisdom (James 1:5If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.), to instruct and teach us in the way we should go (Psalms 32:8I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.), and to direct our path (Proverbs 3:5-65 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.). But there important conditions:


It may take weeks, or even months to get your answer. Keep consecrating yourself to God, and waiting until you do. Once you have it, jot it down on your prayer request sheet. If you must make a decision before you are sure of God's leading, make the best decision you can based on the evidence you have, and trust God.

Follow Through

Getting an answer is only one part of the process. Next, you must convert the answer into a plan of action. Jesus often required people to do something as evidence of their faith before answering their requests. See Luke 17:14And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed., John 9:7And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.. Jot down a list of specific actions you should take in light of God's answer, and begin working on them. Put a check box beside each item so you can mark them off as they are completed. Remember, these actions are a response of faith to God's leading.
     
Similarly, ask God for His help and blessing. Ask God to help you arrange the finances for the new car, get accepted into the specified college, carry out your job hunting plan. Knowing God's will, and having a plan of action are both important--but ultimately, we are dependent on God to see His will become reality.

God's Answer

As you work through your plan of action, write down any actions God takes in answer to your efforts. Recording how God answers our prayers is a great source of faith. If the answer is slow in coming, persevere. Do not lose heart. See Hebrews 6:11-1211 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: 12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.. If the answer does not come as you expect, reformulate your question and seek God once more using the steps above--as needed. If the answer is no, accept it. Write something you learned from the experience. What counts at last, is that God's will is carried out, not ours.

FREE Gift!

Want to give this strategy a try? Check out our free Quest Form which outlines the whole process. Free to anyone with an account at FAST!

More Info

     
In summary, we can know God's will for our life if we follow several key steps. Consecrate yourself to God's will. Write out your situation as a question. Then patiently wait on God to speak to you through His Word. In time, the Scriptures will become more clear, and you will sense a peace God is leading. Convert God's answer into a plan of action and commit it to God. Lastly, anticipate the blessings that come from a life of obedience.



Comments

How important is it to truly commit our decisions to God, and wait on Him to give us clear direction. How often do we shoot up a quick prayer for guidance, then race on ahead without waiting for an answer? Share your thoughts on the process outlined above...

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Posted by Dan Vis on 11/27/22
Thank you Qing. Like with most of these forms, you can just use a plain sheet of paper--as they are so simple. But it helps to see how it is laid out, in a more tangible way like this. Enjoy!
Posted by Qing Ling on 11/27/22
that Quest form is a great tool. So simple yet powerful. Very grateful for the way you share your resources Dan :)
Posted by Dan Vis on 11/09/22
Amen! Important indeed Barbara!
Posted by Barbara E. LaRose on 11/09/22
If it was important for Jesus to do always the Father’s will, then I know it’s more important for me to be in prayer to know what God’s is for me.   
Posted by Dan Vis on 11/02/22
Just added a new Quest Form to this memo for those who want to give this a try! :)
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/24/22
I absolutely loved this line Valerie: "The Prayer Journal is where I get into the specifics. It is where the miracles happen". So awesome! Let's keep striving to dig deeper in our walk with God. There is always more to discover and experience...
Posted by Valerie Wise Burrell on 10/24/22
Dan,
This topic is one that has been very prominent in my thoughts lately. I have questioned what really waiting on the Lord looks like in my life. There are so many competing things for my attention which in and of themselves may be "good" but I question whether they are truly a part of God's will for my life today.

This post also reminded me of the FAST Prayer Journal I created some time ago. I have a Prayer Notebook which contains my daily prayer lists but the Prayer Journal is where I get into the specifics. It is where the miracles happen. I believe that these are miracles-in-waiting. Waiting for me to truly put my faith in God's Word into reality. The Holy Spirit awaits my command.
"As you ask the Lord to help you, honor your Saviour by believing that you do receive His blessing. All power, all wisdom, are at our command. We have only to ask." HDL, 62.2
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/20/22
Nice promise!
Posted by Colette Guthrie on 10/19/22
Happy belated birthday greetings Sis Marion! 🎁 I trust it was a good one for you. Proverbs 10:22The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it..

I was just reading your prayer request from 2019 that you shared on this post. Do you have an update on it? Psalms 27:14Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. is a really wonderful promise to claim.
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/17/22
Those really are critical points Teverly. As usual, you have highlighted some of the most important keys. Appreciate your comment, and your commitment to try and move more towards this sort of process. The experience of God clarifying His will and resolving all the complexities is unmistakable. It's worth pursuing.
Posted by Tev Gray on 10/16/22
Dan , your clarification to Tonya , re seeking out His will in the Word and that the multiple principles, sometimes pointing opposite directions, and they all have to be reconciled, have shed so many lights. I can see I have been impatient in many instances and not waiting on God or getting confused about some things. I am learning to learn how to wait on the Lord. I am praying for that faith and patience in Hebrews 6:12That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/16/22
I should add Tonya, that God leads by the movings of the Spirit as we seek out His will in the Word. That's the key difference here--actually giving God time to clarify the biblical principles we need to apply to our decision.

Difficult decisions are tough because there are multiple principles involved--sometimes pointing opposite directions, and they all have to be reconciled. When we've done that, God will give us peace though, that we have correctly understood the Word. That's the key--the Word. Glad this was helpful for you!

It is a learning process Carlota. We live in a rush rush world (and sometimes we do have to make prompt decisions), but anytime we can put a big decision to God and really wait on Him to instruct us, the better. All the best as you experiment with this!
Posted by Carlota Belmo on 10/15/22
Guilty! But I’m learning to wait on God! I have done some things in my life that only by the grace of God and His mercies, who fixed them for me and says to me Carlota, My child, trust Me, and have faith, I’m here for you.
Lord, help me to be patient in waiting for Your answer to my prayers. Amen
Posted by Tonya Anspach on 10/14/22
Your comment "Don't go by feelings or impressions, or signs and fleeces. Rather, Go by the movings of the Spirit." really spoke to me. Years ago, if I had a big decision to make I would "lay a fleece prayer' and would be saddened when nothing ever came of it. I'm thankful for this lesson. Having practical methods to help discern God's will in my life brings me a sense of peace.
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/14/22
That's so true, isn't it Mike? Appreciate that part. I've found it often takes time for God's will to distill itself in my mind. Just because I don't get an immediate impression or hear some supernatural voice doesn't mean God is not answering my request for guidance. I just have to keep seeking it, and eventually I will find that peace that ensures I have indeed discerned it.

That word "rule" in Colossians 3:15And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. is a greek word meaning something like referee or umpire. The peace of God us supposed to serve in that capacity in helping us discern God's will.
Posted by Mike Carner on 10/14/22
Waiting is hard. In our culture we are used to instant gratification. It takes discipline and practice.
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/13/22
Glad this was helpful Louise! Good points to highlight there.

Robert, I think few of us really commit decisions to God in prayer like this. Though it's super important. Why? I think because most of us have never been taught how. We can't follow the above process for every decision--but for the big ones, it can make a huge difference! Give it a try...
Posted by Robert Gonzales on 10/13/22
My prayer life is not good . It is very important to commit our decisions to him.
Posted by Louise P on 10/13/22
Excellent points for How to Wait on God, all of them practical. I particularly like the advice to write down any actions God takes in answer to your efforts, and to write something you learned from the experience - definitely faith-building!
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/11/22
Yes, some good principles there Sam. I especially liked this line: that "if we trust God in these small matters when the big ones come we will be stocked up on answered prayers and our faith will be strong". Cool imagery of a big pile of answered prayers! Or, in the case of today's reading, a clear record of God direction our life in response to prayer. That we'll truly have learned to tune into His voice...
Posted by Shawnda McKnight on 10/11/22
Is it important to truly commit ourselves and our decisions to God because He is the only one who knows the end from the beginning. Most times we pray for what we want instead of what we need. And a lot of times we don't even know what to pray for. I am glad that God reads hearts. It also is leading up to the time of trouble, if we trust God in these small matters when the big ones come we will be stocked up on answered prayers and our faith will be strong and bigger than a mustard seed and we will trust God when things seem impossible or inevitable.
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/10/22
Nice Jeannie! We actually have a different WAIT acronym in Revival Keys a little farther down the road. But I like your words: they are all important parts of this.

I think of the article above maybe more as describing a process. I used to have standard forms designed up for this specifically that I could insert into my Prayer Journal. Very helpful formalizing the steps in this process in the early days. Now, like most things, I just use plain paper as that process is pretty well established.

But I should design something up and put it in our resource area...
Posted by Jeannie Marcoux on 10/09/22
I found your understanding of what it means to wait very close in concept to an acronym my husband and I created for a devotional on WAIT.

W-Willingness to Wait, surrender to being in God’s waiting room without chaffing or fear. He has promised to teach you to profit and to lead you by the way that you should go. (Isaiah 48:17Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.)
A- take Action (seek, knock, ask)
I-Inquisitive—ask questions, prayerfully seek answers regarding issues and options involved, do research.
T-teachableness—recognize that God’s answer is often the very opposite of what we think we should do, or His choice may not be any of the options we may have in mind. My willingness to accept His will over my preconceived ideas is crucial.

Isaiah 55:8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
Isaiah 55:9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Posted by Dan Vis on 06/25/19
This is a great question Sherry, and the fact you are asking it, and striving for it, suggests to me you are well along on the process.

We can never know for sure where we are, of course, but yes, we can ask for His help, believe His promises, choose to seek His will etc. Ultimately, we just have to be on constant alert for self rising up, and look for the peace of God that comes when we've correctly discerned His will. It's definitely a growth process, but the more we practice these steps the easier it becomes.
Posted by Sherry Olson on 06/25/19
How do you know when you are truly consecrated to God, when you have reached that point? In committing yourself to God, should you claim promises for God's leading in your life? Ask Him to make you willing to be made willing?
I know I have raced ahead of God more times then I care to admit, and I know it when it happens. I always think of the verse - "Be still, and know that I am God" Psalms 46:10Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. It's having the time to still myself, to quiet my mind. I didn't realize how in motion I constantly am until I asked God to get me off the fast track so I would have more study time in the Word because it is so important in these last days. He did just that; and I still find myself busy with stuff around the house and yard and pets and my husband, and still struggling to pause in my day and spend a few minutes in the middle of my day in prayer. Psalms 55:17Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. Evening, morning and at noon will I pray and cry aloud and He shall hear my voice. This I want to be a reality in my life. This "being still" is a very big struggle!!
Posted by Dan Vis on 06/18/19
Yes Carole, very true. God knows the consequence of every decision, doesn't He? So valuable therefore to get that information from the one alone who knows what course is best for our life!
Posted by Carole Bliss on 06/18/19
God knows the end from the beginning. HE is the source of all wisdom. We need to depend on Him more. All to often, we pray than fail to wait on our Lord.
Good message. Thank you
BLESSINGS
Carole
Posted by Dan Vis on 06/18/19
It is hard sometimes Lynn, but so important. Without getting direction from God we're essentially making our decisions on our own. Thanks for adding the point about counseling with a fellow believer on some decisions and soliciting their prayer. Another helpful tool--though ultimately we should try to find our answer in the Scriptures of course.

Keep praying Marion, and trusting God with the results!
Posted by Marion Coppock on 06/17/19
When my son was killed God gave me Psalms 27:14Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.. Since then I have had the courage to wait patiently for my husband to come to Jesus just as he is. I am still waiting and I know Hof will answer my prayer.
Posted by Lynn Badger on 06/17/19
Wow great reminder. It is hard to Wait on the Lord sometimes. Knowing and understanding God's answers for us is critical in all situations. Some are easy but others especially when the answer is wait or unclear is the hard part. At that point I will involve a prayer partner to help me seek the will of God. Sometimes getting the additional prayer will open up things I hadn't seen before.
Posted by Dan Vis on 06/17/19
You are so right about that Judith! I have several requests in my prayer journal--some I've been praying over for many months! Others I get an answer in a few days or week. I limit this approach to especially important questions, but when I use it, it's always worthwhile!
Posted by Judith Nagamisovo on 06/17/19
Often I pray to God committing all my decisions, however I have difficulty waiting upon God. The reading helped me how to wait upon God's will and timing. I want to try one of my requests now and will see how much patience will I have to wait. It's easy to say; wait patiently upon the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart, but it's another thing to really prove waiting for divine intervention at His own time in His own ways.


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