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4 Helpful Prayers for Decision-Making and Guidance

4 Helpful Prayers for Decision-Making and Guidance

Our waking hours are a continuous series of decisions, from deciding when to get out of bed in the morning and what to eat for breakfast, to when to put our head on the pillow and call it a day. Dr. Charles Stanley once said, “Life is really just one continuous series of decisions but we are not left to figure all this out by ourselves. God has given us directions for wise decision making.” 

Dr. Stanley’s comment should encourage every believer to read their Bible and spend time in prayer to discern and discover those wise directions from the Lord. God doesn’t want us overwhelmed with the plethora of daily decisions. He wants to partner with us in prayer for decision-making. 

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Bulat Silvia

Why Is Prayer for Decision-Making Important?

It’s easy to forget just how available God is for wise counsel as we too often try to figure everything out on our own. We mistakenly think we should only take the major life-altering decisions to him and try to make what we consider the less important trivial decisions ourselves. But to God, every decision is important and has the potential to change our life for better or worse and he is always near to help us make the best choice. He wants to erase the frown from our brow. When we don’t know which way to turn, a churning stomach, sweaty palms, and rapid heartbeat is not God’s plan for how we should live.

You’ve probably heard it said that God is only a prayer away and yet how often do we take advantage of this promise? If we’re honest, probably not often enough. Our first inclination might be to rush into a decision and not pause for a moment to ask God what he wants us to do in a given situation. I’ll admit it’s not always my first move either. It takes practice to get into the habit of going to God before taking action, speaking, or making a choice or decision. 

Life would be so much less stressful if we stopped and prayed, asking the Father, who is omniscient, before making decisions. He knows exactly what’s best for our loved ones and us and will provide guidance in any given situation. Nobody knows our circumstances like God!

Here are 4 ways to lift a prayer for decision-making:

Prayers for Wisdom

James 1:5-6 reminds us: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”

Lord, I’ll admit that there are times when I do feel desperately confused and unsure of what I should do. I lay awake at night tossing and turning as I weigh all my choices against the possible consequences and outcomes of my decision. Yet, still, I can’t decide. Your Word promises that all I need to do is call on you to help me and believe you have my best interest at heart. Oh me of little faith. Father, help me remember to seek your wise counsel and trust in the way you tell me to go. There are many voices in my head of those who think they know what's best for me. Please guide me to those who will provide your biblical perspective and not the world’s persuasion. Like Solomon, my desire is for wisdom to make decisions that are pleasing to you Lord. Even when I don’t completely understand, I trust and believe in you.

Psalm 86:5 reassures, “O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.” I’m asking you now Lord to please fill me with your absolute wisdom! I know you always will. Amen

Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Prov. 3:7 NLT

For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Prov. 2:6 NLT

For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy. Prov. 2:10 NLT

praying during work

Prayers for Discernment

Praying for the spirit of discernment can prove to be a brave and bold request. When we humbly ask God to reveal His will to us for specific situations, even when others may not see what we perceive, God may ask us to perform courageous acts that could be lifesaving or forever life-changing. We can become the brave spiritual warriors that our world needs so desperately. Spiritual discernment and godly wisdom let God guide.

Lord, I don’t want to make a decision or take action without sensing that it’s your plan and purpose in every situation, especially the one I’m facing right now. When I read my Bible, please give me the insight to understand your words and apply them to my life. Speak to my heart and let me see clearly what you would have me do in this situation. Help me know it’s you, Lord, and not just my own wishes and desires. Give me the patience to wait on you and see you in ways that others might not understand. Amen

Give discernment to me, your servant; then I will understand your laws. Ps. 119:125 NLT

My son, pay attention to my wisdom; listen carefully to my wise counsel.  Then you will show discernment, and your lips will express what you’ve learned. Prov. 5:1-2 NLT

Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them. Hosea 14:9

Prayers for Direction

Decisions by their very nature bring multiple options. When we pray for direction, we’re literally asking God which way we should go and depending on him to guide our steps. It’s a vulnerable and yet reliable path to take in every decision-making opportunity or obligation. 

Lord, I seek the Holy Spirit’s wise direction and clear guidance. There are so many options and choices before me. I don’t even want to be in this quandary. How can there be only one way to go? How will I know it, Lord? Then I pick up my Bible and you answer me so clearly, Father. Thank you for leaving your Word to instruct me in your ways. Please remind me to always look to you first for guidance when my heart is torn and troubled with confusion. Ah, that I would learn to trust you more. Forgive me when I doubt and draw me closer every day to your Spirit living in me. Amen

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Prov. 3:5-6

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Ps. 32:8

This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. Is. 48:17

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Prayers for Peace

Decision-making is difficult and we often second-guess the ones we make. What if I had done this differently or is it really what God wants for me? Sometimes the decision is painful and we don’t want to obey God when we know he’s telling us what we must do. Or uncertainty torments us even though we’ve prayed to make the right decision. God wants us to live in peace, not turmoil, so we must cover every decision by asking for God’s blessings on the outcome. Expectantly, we ask God for the willingness, strength, and desire to take whatever action our discernment dictates and let God help us handle the results.

Lord, I’m making this decision after much prayer with you, counsel from experts and those I trust, searching my Bible for wisdom, and arriving at my final decision. Father, I pray for you to bless the outcome if this truly is also your will. Please give me peace to move forward and not look back at things I cannot change. I trust I’ve obeyed your guidance and I’m making this decision with confidence that you will turn it into good and asking you to prevent any unwanted consequences that I can’t see at this time.

Father, my tendency is to worry and wonder if I should have decided differently and I’m pleading with you to remove any doubt from my mind and heart. Help me to have a peace that only you can provide. Thank you for always being available to guide me through these unchartered waters. I rest in peace knowing you’re in me and I’m in you. I pray Lord that decision-making will become easier and easier as I remember to stop, pray, and trust before taking any action. Let this be my new normal that guides and directs my life and please help me be a witness to others to go and do the same. I’ll give you all the glory. Amen

The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, without painful toil for it. Prov. 10:22

 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Col. 3:22

 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. James 3:17 NLT

How Do We Hear God's Voice When Making Important Decisions?

How Do We Hear God's Voice When Making Important Decisions?

Jesus told his disciples in John 14:16-17 NLT, And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.

When we become Christians, the Holy Spirit lives in us and we become one with the trinity. When we pray, we’re not praying to a far-off God somewhere in the heavenlies. We’re communing through the Holy Spirit living in every believer’s new heart. He puts thoughts in our heads and words in our mouths when we let him. Paul reminds us in Philippians 2:13 that “It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” This is how we hear God’s voice. Have you ever wondered if it was you, or God speaking through you, because the more you study the Bible and talk with him the more you sound like him?

Some Christians are more sensitive than others are to the still small voice of God within, but with patience, studying—not just reading—God’s Word, and a desire to know God’s will, we all have the ability to seek and obtain godly wisdom, discernment, direction and peace to make decisions we never thought would be possible. But with God, all things are possible!

The more we seek God for guidance and lift up a prayer for decision-making, the more we will reap his blessings while bringing him the glory he deserves.

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.  And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. Ez. 36:26-27 NLT

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Prov. 19:21

Read more about decision-making:
8 Ways to Make Decisions That Honor God
3 Keys to Decision-Making
4 Simple Steps to Making the Right Decision EVERY Time

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Takako Watanabe 

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 20 books. Her passion is to mentor other women in sharing their life experiences and God’s faithfulness. Janet’s new release is Everyday Brave: Living Courageously As a Woman of Faith available at AmazonChristianbook.comBarnes and Noble, and signed at author’s website. She is also the author of Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s FaithfulnessForsaken God? Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has ForgottenDear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?Dear God They Say It’s Cancer; Dear God, He’s Home!Praying for Your Prodigal DaughterFace-to-Face Bible study Series; and Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, & Maintain a Mentoring Ministry Resources. Janet is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries. Visit Janet and sign up for her weekly blog and free online newsletter at Join Janet on FacebookLinkedInPinterestTwitter, and Instagram.

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