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How to Wait on God

By Dan Vis
June 17, 2019
Comments: 9

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.


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:

  • God seeks to guide us through the Word. Look for verses which support one position or another, and jot each down on your prayer request sheet with a note about how it applies.
  • Continue in the Word in a systematic way. Don't go searching for verses that support one position or another. Rather, spend time in regular study and memorization and simply keep your eyes open for relevant verses.
  • Rely on the Holy Spirit to impress you with how each verse applies to the situation. Try to avoid manipulating Scripture to make them say what you want.
  • Don't worry if different verses seem to support opposite directions at first. If all the evidence pointed one direction, knowing God's will would be easy. In time you will better grasp how each principle applies, and the contradictions will resolve themselves.
  • Keep waiting on God until you sense you have correctly discerned His will--based on the evidence you have. Don't go by feelings or impressions, or signs and fleeces. Rather, Go by the movings of the Spirit. See 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..

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.
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.

Take the Next Step

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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 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
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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