We have all experienced it. Those occasions and crossroads we do not know what to do next; when we are in need of divine guidance to make a weighty life decision, when we have several choices or paths before us, but we are not sure which one is the right one to take, which road we should go down. In those times we need a clear word from the Lord. Friends and family may offer us some pretty good advice, but as much as we love and respect them, we realize more than anything we need to know what God wants us to do. So, we do what comes naturally, we get out our Bible and open it, but to where? We read one passage and then another. We come away as confused as before we started reading. We pray but are not sure we have heard what God is saying. We listen to the pastor’s sermon and think we hear something that’s helpful, but we are still not sure. We read a book by our favorite Christian author and feel inspired but still not clear about our situation and area of need. How do we know how can we be clear about what to do? What is the best approach we can take when we need divine guidance on a matter?
Not everyone hears God speak to them the same way. Some will hear God better as they listen to a sermon. Some, when they are reading a book by an inspiring writer. Some, as they read their Bible. Some, as they begin the process of working through an issue. Some, through the voice of a trusted friend of counselor. And still others, by watching their circumstances unfold one day at a time, perhaps as their options begin to naturally narrow or dwindle. We are all different and uniquely made but one thing is certain: God created each one of us and knows how we are wired. When he wants to lead us in one particular direction or put us on one distinct path, he will speak to us, he will come to us and help us know the way. He may close some doors while opening others. While he will never override our free will he will come along side us and when we are willing to listen to him, follow his guide, and submit to his will we will get to where he wants us to go or be.
Regardless of how we hear and understand God best individually, one thing is certain if we want to receive divine guidance in life, we will need to do several things:
- Surrender our own likes or dislikes to God
- Be willing to spend time in prayer with God
- Surrender our free will to God’s will
- Make ourselves available to God
Most people do not have a difficult time believing in God even if it is only in a very general and basic sense: believing in his existence. But they may not be as sure that he actually takes time to guide us individually; getting that involved in our individual lives. Some more believe they stumble onto their path or believe in coincidence and happenstance. We might be surprised to learn there are five routes God guides:
- Through reason
- Through circumstances
- Through a strong inner witness
- Through prayerful reading of Scriptures
- Through the preaching of God’s Word
Since God has promised to never leave or forsake us and that he will be with us to help us, then we can be sure he will not make us make choices or decisions without his input and guidance. God does not set us up for failure and wants us to succeed, be on the right path—his path—for our life.
As you are looking for and wanting divine and godly guidance there are several things you can do:
- Pray (more)
- Research the places in Scripture that will speak most to your situation and need
- Talk with a trusted friend or counselor
- Spend time in quiet listening to and for God to speak to your heart
- If possible, take time to rest, don’t deprive yourself of sleep
- Eat well balanced meals and stay hydrated
- Spend some time in fasting prayer, submitting your body to a higher discipline so you are more open and sensitive to the Spirit’s leading
- Don’t give into the temptation to get everyone’s opinion or getting a consensus as this tends to only muddle or confuse our thoughts and emotions in the matter
There is something that is certain, God will guide you in life until you no longer need guiding and are at home in heaven with him. He will not leave you alone to fend for yourself or find your own answers.
O God with so many paths to guidance I now understand more clearly that it is not that you are being silent, or not guiding or helping me, but that I am not hearing or sensing your guidance. That does not even mean I am doing something wrong or that I am not spiritual enough, but mostly that there are additional things I can do to help me as I seek your guidance. Help me to become even more prayerful, more sensitive and more alert to what you are saying or where you are leading me. If I am hanging on to self-will and not being open to your guidance then help me to become fully submitted, fully obedient, having an open heart, mind and spirit. Where I am confused help me to have clarity and where I am resistant help me to be fully submissive.
I lay the matters I seek before you now, Lord…
Here are three brief prayers / petitions you can pray when you need divine guidance followed by several Scriptures that will help you stay focused, strengthened and encouraged as you open your heart and spirit up to divine guidance:
- Show me Lord which way direction to go…
- Help me Lord to know your divine will…
- Lord send me divine and godly counsel to help me know the way I should go…
Scriptures for reflection, prayer and Activating Understanding and Clarity:
You have led in your steadfast love the people you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.
He leads the humble in what is right.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.
Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long.
Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.
Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!
Commit your ways to the LORD; trust in him and he will act.
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.
He will guide us forevermore.
Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.
Even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me
For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me ad guide me.
Then he led out his people like sheep and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path.
The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me.
And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong.
And lead us not into temptation.
To give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.