“We speak often about seeking the will of God without fully understanding what it means. Since we understand the importance of knowing the will of God for our lives, I would like to dwell primarily on the role of prayer in seeking His guidance.”
How do I pray to seek God’s leading?
Genesis 24 is the basis for the answer to this question. First, I want to establish that the whole Bible is a book of guidance. As you read the scriptures with the thought of God’s guidance in mind, you see His leading on nearly every page. From Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses to the prophets of the old and new testaments, God gave His people direction, because guidance is God’s design and plan for His people. As sure as He is God, we may count on Him to guide us in decisions great or small. David writes, “The steps of a good man are ordered by God….” (Psa. 37:23) John writes, “He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out.” (John 10:3)
The question is not, “Does He lead us?” But, “How do I receive His guidance into my life?” We receive guidance through prayer.
Eliezer, Abraham’s servant in Genesis 24, prays a prayer that clearly outlines the elements of seeking God for guidance. We understand his prayer for guidance in the following points:
- Knowledge of God
- Presentation of self and need to God
Abraham sent his servant Eliezer to find a bride for Isaac. Concerned about doing his job well, Eliezer asked Abraham these questions, “What if the woman we choose will not come, shall I then take Isaac back to your family?”
Abraham replied that he must not take Isaac back to his family. He then made a statement of faith. He said that God would send His angel before him and that he would bring back a wife for Isaac. Abraham prepared faith by which Eliezer could join himself to the purposes of God. When Eliezer prayed at the well, he based his prayer on the faith of Abraham.
Eliezer prayed: “O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and show kindness unto my master Abraham.” Gen. 24:12
1. The first step in a prayer for guidance is faith. Find a basis for your asking and stand on it. This is your faith. If God did it for others, He will do it for me. What has God promised? Study the promise that applies to your situation and make it yours by prayer. Speak aloud your assurances of God’s leading with faith. Do not cancel your prayer by negative speaking after you leave the prayer closet.
Eliezer knew that God led Abraham and that Abraham walked by faith in God’s promises. Eliezer based his faith on his knowledge of Abraham’s God.
2. Knowing God is indispensable in praying for leading. Learn to know God by your daily interaction with Him in prayer. If you know how to hear from God, you will know how to receive His guidance. Search the Word of God, and base your prayer on the knowledge of God’s leading in the lives of others. Recently I read a news report of a well known visual bible society who sent several thousand videos of the life of Jesus to the police department of the country of Hungary. Along with the videos they sent this message: “We want the people to know that they have to pray…, and that it is important to pray to know who Jesus is.” In praying for guidance, it is important to know Jesus and His way of leading us.
Eliezer continued to pray, “Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give they camels drink also: let the same be she that thou has appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shown kindness unto my master. Gen. 24:14
3. Present yourself and your need to God. Eliezer informed God where he was and what was happening. Often in rehearsing our situation before God, things become clearer. Sometimes the answer lies within us, and as we present the need to God, the answer rises to the top along with the need. However, in Eliezer’s situation, he presented the need and waited to see what would happen.
“And the man wondering at her held his peace…” As Eliezer finished speaking, a young woman named Rebekah came to the well. When he asked her for a drink, she offered to water the animals as well. While she watered the animals, he stood and watched her, wondering if she was the woman for whom he had prayed. Even at this point, he was unsure if this woman was the right choice.
He then asked her who her family was and, when she told him her family name, he knew that God had answered him. (Gen. 24:21-23)
4. Question. There are questions that may arise as we are waiting on God to unfold His plan. Often we question God and ourselves. Do not be afraid to ask God for a sign. He will honor your sincerity and faith.
“And she said unto him, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, which she bare unto Nahor.” Gen 24:24
5. Confirmation. When we ask for a sign and receive it from the Lord, it is not wrong nor is it against faith to ask for confirmation. I would like to point out that there were requirements in place before Eliezer set out on his journey. Abraham told him that the woman must be from his family in the land that he had left years ago and that he must not take Isaac take back to that land. Eliezer prayed with those requirements in mind. When Rebekah gave the family name, Eliezer knew that God had answered him and that he had satisfied Abraham’s requirements.
We also should have requirements in place when we seek the
Lord. How else shall we know when he has answered us? When God meets our requirements, it is often a confirmation of our guidance. Words spoken by others can also be a confirmation of what we have heard from God.
Eliezer then worshipped and said, “Blessed by the Lord God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of His mercy and truth. I being in the way, the Lord led me…to the house of my master’s brethren.” Gen. 24:27.
6. Worship. “I, being in the way, the Lord led me,” is a striking example of God’s method of guidance. If we will start walking or seeking for an answer, the Lord leads us. We cannot sit and wait for something to fall out of the sky. If we bring our request and requirements before God, desiring His help, He guides us as we begin to move forward. After He has led us, then we worship in thanksgiving.
Worship the Lord because He was mindful of your need. He heard and led you according to His mercy and truth. When He has answered you, be thankful, and praise Him. Tell others in bold testimony how He led you. It will inspire others to seek the Lord. In addition, your worship sets the stage for another time when you may need His guidance. Thankful worship will draw Him nearer, as He inhabits the praises of His people.
David reminds us in Psalm 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd,…..He leads me….” Remember that guidance is part of the inheritance of God’s people. He does lead us as we inquire of Him. Pray in faith, in the knowledge of God, and by presenting your need before Him. Do not be afraid to question God when you do not understand what is happening. He will answer, and worship naturally follows. God sent His Spirit into the world to guide us. It is our privilege to receive His leading into our lives by prayer.
Yours in prayer,
“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye” (Psa. 32:8).
To Do: In your next time of decision, apply these principles. Discover that God will lead you all your life decisions. Learn to inquire of the Lord before you act.