When we face a season with many changes and many decisions to be taken, we often take the prayer out of the decision making process and fly by the seat of our pants, or trust our gut. Neither has worked well for me. Looking at scripture, there are many examples of men and woman who made right decisions in difficult circumstances and they all seem to have one common characteristic – they prayed about it.
- In 1 Kings 3:6-12 Solomon prayed for wisdom to “discern between good and evil” and became the wisest ruler that ever lived.
- Queen Esther fasted and prayed for three days to prepare to follow God’s will in Esther 4:16, then got up and boldly went out to see the king.
- Nehemiah spent time praying before knowing what he was to do next (Neh 1:4-11).
- Paul in Acts 9:6 (KJV) prayed “Lord what do you want me to do?” and went on to be shown God’s next step by Ananias.
- Jesus himself prayed before going out to do the purpose for which God the Father has sent Him. (Mark 1:35-39)
All of them prayed and sought the Lord in their decision making process. So here is the life principle to build your life upon:
No decision made, without prayer!
Why pray, you may wonder? Look at Rom 14:23 “He who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith, for whatever is not from faith is sin.”
Weird scripture, I know. We never look at scripture out of context, so examining this chapter we see that a debate had arisen as to what foods believers were allowed to eat. With no clear guidance, Paul taught the principle of considering our weaker brothers and sisters in our actions, but also NOT violating your conscience. This latter principle is applied in knowing when to move ahead or act in full faith and when to hold back because your faith, confidence and clear conscience are not in place. Basically, believers that doubted in their hearts that they were doing what was right, or were not sure, were told to then “not do it”, because in doing so they were violating their conscience and this was sin.
Wisdom is then to make sure our conscience is clear in our decision making and to have a clear conscience:
we need to pray about our decisions.
When we apply this principle of a clear conscience in our decision making, then we are following the example of other believers in scripture.
Paul applied this principle to himself in Acts 24:16 ”So I always strive to keep my conscience clear before God and men.” Job also followed this principle of a clear conscience in Job 27:6 “I will maintain my righteousness and never let go of it, my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.” Deacons were required to live by a clear conscience in 1 Tim 3:9. “They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience.”
No Decision without prayer.
We are called to act in confidence – we are to be fully persuaded and confident that what we are doing is right. Prov 3:26 “for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.” Being so fully confident, allows us to be decisive and move ahead without any qualms or hesitation. If we are not confident, it lays the foundation for guilt, doubt and lack of faith.
We are called to pray for confidence – to be able to act confidently, you need to pray asking God to give you confidence. You want to live and act with the assurance that you are doing the right thing, so whether it takes a day or months for that confidence to be yours, you want to be able to move forward with no doubt. Is 32:17 “The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.” Jer 17:7 “But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.”
We are called to enjoy peace of mind – when you pray and wait patiently for the Lord for His answer and direction, you will eventually sense a clear direction associated with peace. This peace in our conscience often helps to confirm our decision making. Prov 4:26 promises that with eyes fixed on the Lord, it will “make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.”
You can move forward with confidence, pray with confidence, step out in faith with confidence all the while enjoying peace of mind because you know it is right.
Isaiah 59:8 “The way of peace they do not know, there is no justice in their paths. They have turned them into crooked roads; no one who walks in them will know peace.”
2 Peter 1:2 “Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”
See, dear friend, there is peace of mind to be found for knowing you are walking right before the Lord.
Do the right thing – proceed only with prayer, so that you can be confident always.
- Examine the last few decisions you made. Are the decisions associated with peace and confidence? Did you spend time praying about your decision and ask the Lord for guidance? Are you characterised by making decisions on the go, or in the moment?
- Has your conscience warned you about a bad decision in the past? Did you go against your conscience and what was the result?
- How would your life change if you started applying the rule: No decision without prayer to your life?
Help me Father to take prayer seriously during decision making. Forgive me for the times I have prayed after I have made my decision, asking you to bless my plans and not consulting you in the process. Forgive me for the times I have gone ahead with my plans, knowing that my conscience was not clear and not having peace. Please help me to be characterized by prayer during my decision making processes. I declare that I am a person that consults with the Lord in all my decisions and as a result I am able to go ahead with a clear conscience and peace in my heart, trusting that God has helped me in the decisions and actions I have taken.
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