The Ministry of Intercession

“Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth. “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.”John 17:18-21

In the midst of His greatest trial, Jesus prayed fervently. What would you have prayed about when facing torture and death? It’s fascinating to see what was on Jesus’ mind as He prayed, not only for Himself (Luke 22:41-42), but for His disciples and for us as evidenced by the John 17 passage above. Jesus did not just focus inward, but by His words and His prayers showed that He wanted love and joy and peace and patience and all the fruit of God’s Spirit for His followers. He knew that His trial would be their trial. He knew that when He, the good Shepherd, was struck, “the sheep will be scattered” (Mark 14:27). He prayed for them—and us—out of love and deep concern.

We too should pray for others, including the people that we know who are far from the heart of God. Intercessory prayer is prayer for others. Scripture tells us that when we say prayers of intercession, we are building bridges between God and the people for whom we pray. In 1 Timothy 2:1–2, Paul writes: “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.”

As pastor I have talked to people who have worked hard and long in an attempt to win a relative or friend for the Lord. Some of them have paused and then said, “It hasn’t worked. So where do I go from here?” There is a natural tendency to believe that they were not persuasive enough. And secondly there is the urge to give up on the person. We need to push back against both of these reactions in favor of a much better response, prayer. Pray that God would draw the person who is far from the heart of God to Him. Then pray that they would seek to know God through people or circumstances. And finally pray that they will believe in Christ as their Savior.

As Christ followers, many of us don’t really think about the lost, even though the Bible makes it very clear that this condition is grave. Much of our spiritual energy is spent on the saved, which is also necessary, but Jesus said that “the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” (Luke 19:10) We need to have this same heart as we consider those who are spiritually lost. And that begins with intercessory prayer. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does intercessory prayer mean to you? 
  2. Do you pray for other people? Do these prayers work? What do you do when a prayer is not answered (as you thought it would be)?
  3. What lost friend or relative can you intercede for today? 

There Was No Answer

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” – Mark 11:24.

The power of prayer is God. The power of prayer relies on the assurance that God is listening to you and what’s more wants to answer you. Since prayer is a two-way communication between you and God, you will always receive an answer to your prayers. It just may not be the answer you were looking for or even the answer that makes the most sense. Sometimes, we feel like God has not answered. But you will get an answer. It might be yes, no, or not yet, but there will be an answer because unanswered prayer does not exist.

The perception that we don’t receive an answer to prayer or the answer that we were not expecting often leads to the conclusion that prayer doesn’t work or that prayer only works sometimes. In other words, the outcome of prayer can seem unpredictable. After all, what is the point of praying with great conviction, believing with all our might, only to see our prayers go unanswered. Our faith takes a hit and from then on we are a little more reserved in what we ask God for. The issue is not in the power of prayer or receiving an answer as it is that God chose to answer what we prayed for differently.

Let me give you an analogy. Some pain you are experiencing prompts you to see a doctor. After examining and talking to you, the doctor prescribes a medication. The doctor assures you the medication should take care of it in several days. You go home and take the medication as instructed. A few days pass and you see little or no improvement. You begin to have doubts about the efficacy of the medicine. You abandon taking it three times a day as prescribed and then soon after stop taking it all together. When you return to the doctor for a check-up, you say, “That medicine did not work.” Is that accurate? The medicine did not have a chance to cure your pain because you gave up on it too early. You became your own doctor, setting your own rules. The failing is not in the medicine, but in your method of applying the medicine.

This is a picture of how we have come to think of prayer.  We can come to the conclusion that prayer doesn’t work like the Bible says it will work. Could it be because we have tried to make prayer work on our terms and that the failure is not with prayer itself but with our way of praying? Remember that God’s word clearly states that God’s power produces results on the earth when a righteous person prays. (James 5:16)

God sees the bigger picture of our lives. He might know that what you are asking is not the best thing for you or someone you are praying for or He sees the negative things that could occur if He were to give you what you are asking. Or maybe He simply has something better in mind. If God doesn’t give us what we are asking for, we have to remember that He has a good plan and a purpose for everything in our lives and He only wants the very best for us. This is where knowing God’s character and knowing His promises are so important. When we have faith and trust in Him, then we can rest knowing that He hears our prayers, sees our needs and He is faithful to answer according to His will.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you believe that God answers all prayers? Yes or no and why?   
  2. What should our reaction be if God does not answer our prayer in the way we want?
  3. Do you have any lingering doubts/questions about prayer? How can you best get those questions or concerns answered? 

Why Am I Stuck In A Rut?

“But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:18-19.

Have you ever been in a spiritual rut? Have you ever been spiritually stuck? We get distracted, pulled down, undone. God feels distant and irrelevant. Day after day, sermon after sermon, small group after small group, prayer after prayer, we find ourselves discouraged and frightened by a widening gap between our desired relationship with God and the one we are actually experiencing. It is at these times that prayer is so important because prayer is the conduit to the power and love of God.

I can’t say or stress this enough. God loves you so much. He loves you. He is with you on the mountaintop and in the valley. Zephaniah 3:17 says, “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

Ruts often occur because we default to thinking that God is big, and therefore removed, distant, and has better things to do than care about our daily anxieties. Yes, I know He “cares” about me. He cares about everyone. But right now I feel like there is a chasm between God and me and as a result prayer seems futile. Here is what you need to know. The beauty of God’s love is that it survives spiritual dry times. Don’t let the lie sink into your mind that spiritual dryness indicates that God has lost interest in you or has decided that you are not salvageable. Nothing could be further from the truth. The most faithful and happiest Christians in history have experienced days of being in a spiritual rut. 

In these times we need to pray. But it is these times that we question whether prayer would actually make a difference. That thinking is what gets us in trouble. When we underestimate the power of prayer, when we think it doesn’t work, when we choose to believe that God won’t answer our prayers or that he isn’t listening, we wave a white flag and invite Satan into our situation. There is nothing Satan wants more than to engineer a spiritual rut for you from time to time. 

Maybe you’ve prayed and prayed for the same thing, over and over. Maybe you’ve wanted God’s will so badly and wanted life to look different for so long that you’re ready to give up. Maybe you’re feeling utterly discouraged or disappointed right now and not sure why you keep being surprised every time the same difficulties pop up again and again. Let me assure you that nothing, nothing in your life is too far gone that God’s power cannot resurrect it. So go to Him to get it back. Trust this desire into God’s care. Spend time in prayer each day with your Heavenly Father and watch the rut disappear.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What constitutes being in a spiritual rut in your mind? 
  2. Do you feel spiritually stuck in a rut, stagnant, going through the motions, too comfortable? How did you move past it?
  3. How can prayer be a catalyst for moving out of a spiritual rut? 

Nothing In Particular

“You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not!  So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” – Luke 11:11-13.

Some of our politicians speak in vague terms. They like questions — just not always answers. A seasoned politician avoids troubling questions by ignoring them, or talking in vague generalizations. The more vague the better. The devil is in the details for the politician so they avoid them.  For some politicians, vague is always in vogue. But what happens when we as followers of Jesus Christ are vague in our communication with our risen Savior? What happens when our prayers are too general? 

Prayer is our direct line with heaven. Prayer is a communication process that allows us to talk to God. He wants us to communicate with Him, like a person-to-person phone call. To many people, prayer seems complicated, but it is simply talking to God. God wants us to pray because prayer expresses our trust in God and is a means to increase our trust in Him. In fact, perhaps the primary emphasis of the Bible’s teaching on prayer is that we are to pray with faith.

But how much faith does it take to pray for general things. Praying for the vague or undefined is a kind of window shopping without knowing what we actually want to buy. It is easy to pray in generalities, using a shotgun approach to present God with several requests.

For example, the church staff could pray and ask God to “please bring new people to church Sunday.” The problem is how would we know He did. When we pray vaguely, there is no way to know if God answered. But what if we prayed “Lord, bring 100 new people to the Northstar campuses on Sunday?”  If 100 or more new people attend one of our campuses that Sunday, we would know that God hears and answered our prayers. When we pray vaguely we don’t give God the chance to really answer our prayers in a powerful way.  I heard somebody say that, “bold prayers honor God, God honors bold prayers.”

Would 100 people be a bold prayer? My answer would be yes. But I also have learned that we tend to dream small because we don’t want to ask God for too much. But the crazy thing is, God is not offended by our bold prayers. God is honored when we ask for something that is beyond our ability to accomplish. Why? Because there is no way we can take credit for it.

I challenge you to stop praying vague prayers. Pray specifically. Don’t be afraid to pray big and bold prayers, they honor God. And then when God answers, give Him all the glory. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you enjoy praying? Why or why not?
  2. When have you known the most effective times of prayer in your own life? What factors contributed to making those times more effective? Which other factors need most attention in your prayer life? What can you do to strengthen each of these areas?
  3. Do you have a regular time each day for private Bible reading and prayer? Are you sometimes easily distracted and turned aside to other activities? If so, how can distractions be overcome?
  4. How could you be more bold and specific in your prayers this week?

Expect Big Things

The night before Peter was to be placed on trial, he was asleep, fastened with two chains between two soldiers. Others stood guard at the prison gate. Suddenly, there was a bright light in the cell, and an angel of the Lord stood before Peter. The angel struck him on the side to awaken him and said, “Quick! Get up!” And the chains fell off his wrists. Then the angel told him, “Get dressed and put on your sandals.” And he did. “Now put on your coat and follow me,” the angel ordered. So Peter left the cell, following the angel.” –  Acts 12:6-9. 

If we believe that God is big, then we can pray big prayers. Too often, our prayers degenerate into small things. There is nothing wrong with praying for small things, but there’s so much more. Since everything is possible for God, you can experience miracles in your life when you invite God to intervene – even in situations that seem impossible. But too often, people neglect to ask God for miracles in their lives, and end up settling for far less than God’s best for them. Our God is the God of the incredible, the God of the astonishing, and the God of the impossible. There is a story in Acts 12 that demonstrates why we should not hesitate to pray about anything, including miracles.

We read in Acts 12 that King Herod Agrippa began to persecute some believers in the church. He killed James. When Herod saw how much this pleased the Jewish people, he arrested and imprisoned Peter, placing him under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to hold a public trial, but while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him. The church realized that they could not count on any ordinary channels to get Peter out of prison. Peter was under the guard of four soldiers at all times — two chained to his wrists and two standing guard at the door of his cell. Herod was taking no chances that this man would be rescued by any kind of strategic coup. And so they prayed for Peter. 

“The night before Peter was to be placed on trial, he was asleep, fastened with two chains between two soldiers. Others stood guard at the prison gate. Suddenly, there was a bright light in the cell, and an angel of the Lord stood before Peter. The angel struck him on the side to awaken him and said, “Quick! Get up!” And the chains fell off his wrists. Then the angel told him, “Get dressed and put on your sandals.” And he did. “Now put on your coat and follow me,” the angel ordered. So Peter left the cell, following the angel…They passed the first and second guard posts and came to the iron gate leading to the city, and this opened for them all by itself. So they passed through and started walking down the street, and then the angel suddenly left him….“It’s really true!” he said. “The Lord has sent his angel and saved me from Herod and from what the Jewish leaders had planned to do to me!” (Acts 12:6-11)

What a remarkable and unexpected story this is. When we read this account we can see what a supernatural deliverance this was. The angel takes no note of the guards whatsoever, but simply strikes the chains from Peter’s arms. The guards were evidently bemused, or asleep. But when Peter gets outside and sees the iron gate open of its own accord, he knows that God is at work. And the realization suddenly strikes him that God has indeed set him free from prison.

So, don’t settle for quiet little prayers for parking spaces. Go big. Be confident that God hears all prayers, be it a career, love life, finances, travels, or even our life’s purpose. He is generous enough to answer you. If you have doubts, pray for it and God will give you the answer. Big prayers can change a life, even yours.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What do you consider big things and what do you consider little things when you are praying?
  2. But the church was earnestly praying to God for him” (Acts 12: 5). Why do you think the book of Acts underscores the significance of corporate prayer?
  3. Are you looking and listening for answers to what you are praying for?
  4. What changes will you make in your day to day life after hearing this story? 

The Primary Failure Of Prayer Is Our Failure To Pray

“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” – Jeremiah 29:12.

Listen to what Jesus says about prayer in John 14:13-14: “You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!”  Whoa. That is a heavy statement and if true, then the most awesome power in the world is prayer. Basically, we have been given an open door policy to God. We can reach out and have an audience at any time and any place with the Creator and Ruler of everything that is. So why don’t we pray more? Why are we are not tapping into that power? Why are we hesitant to pray?   

Maybe you don’t pray because you don’t know how to pray. For those who are new to their faith, prayer can seem daunting and overwhelming. How do I talk to God? What does that even mean? Are there things I’m supposed to say? Are there things I’m not allowed to say? Is there a set prayer or do I just make one up?  You don’t know what words to use. I can’t pray those wonderful poetic prayers like the person in my small group does. Even for those who have been in a relationship with the Lord for many years, prayer can still seem challenging for a whole host of reasons. It can get stale, feel useless, fall to the wayside, or just seem to lose its power.

I’m convinced our Heavenly Father cares little to nothing about the slickness and organization of our prayers. I think He loves us exactly as we are, regardless of how our prayers look and sound, He loves to talk with us. It doesn’t matter if we start with “Yahweh, we come humbly and boldly to the throne of grace this evening…” or we simply say, “Lord, I need your help…”

Consider this: Before Jesus did any of the work He’s known for (before He healed anyone or taught anything or gathered disciples), He was baptized. During His baptism, Jesus heard the Father say “…You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.” (Mark 1:11)  The Father doesn’t love Jesus because he accomplished a bunch of great things. The Father loves Jesus because Jesus is God’s Son.

We too are sons and daughters of God. And His love for us isn’t moved by our performance—  not even our performance in prayer. God doesn’t need you to get this “prayer” thing right, He just wants to talk with you. He’s not grading you, He wants a relationship with you. So, if you don’t pray because of worrying about using the right words, remember that God is lovingly listening to you. It is like listening to our children. When our children are small their vocabularies are very limited. But they can tell you what is on their minds even with their limited choice of words. So it is with you and your Heavenly Father.

I hope the message this week will motivate you to pray more often to your heavenly Father. He Loves you and nothing that you or anyone else do can change that.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is the main reason we fail to pray as often as we want or should?
  2. What is the first step in establishing a prayer life?
  3. How do we deal with distractions?
  4. What can we do this week to make prayer an every day part of our lives?

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

God, having placed good and evil in our power, has given us full freedom of choice; He does not keep back the unwilling, but embraces the willing.” – John Chrysostom

More than a century ago, the Titanic set sail on her maiden voyage across North Atlantic. But just five days into the trip from England to New York City, the luxury liner collided with an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland; consumed by damage she sank, killing more than 1,500 passengers and crew. Some minor mistakes, some not so minor mistakes and one major mistake sent the Titanic to its tragic end in April 1912. The major mistake was there was only 6 lifeboats, enough for only about one-third to one-half of the passengers on board. 

In spite of good intentions, in spite of thinking before we act, we still make good decisions, bad decisions and maybe even an ugly decision or two. Recent research found that 47 percent of Americans are dealing with the consequences of a bad decision on some level. Nearly one out of every two people are dealing with issues related to a bad choice. So what do we do when we make bad decisions? If God is behind our plans, why does God let us take the wrong direction? Does scripture give us specific formulas on how to deal correctly with every situation we face, good or bad? 

One of the worst decisions ever made was made by Adam and Eve. It would be hard to think of a decision that has more far-reaching ramifications. You know the story. God places the two people, Adam and Eve, in the idyllic garden of Eden, encouraging them to procreate and to enjoy the created world fully, and forbidding them to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But they choose to eat the fruit of that tree and in doing so, disobeyed God.  Sin enters the world, and life and the decisions that go with life became a lot more difficult. But I want to you to take note on something in this story found in Genesis 3.

Genesis 3:8-9 says, “When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”  After eating the forbidden fruit, they  try to hide from God, but God goes after them. God calls to Adam and asks the first question attributed to God in the Bible: “Where are you?” (3:9). We see the grace of God in the fact that He came looking. God could have zapped them both on the spot and started over with a new couple. He could have waited a while. Let them stew in their own juice. Let them hide behind those silly fig leaves, cowering in fear every time they hear a noise in the bushes. Let them pay for what they’ve done. But the implication is that God came looking the same day Adam and Eve sinned. That was pure grace. God doesn’t seek us because we deserve it. We deserve His judgment, but He seeks us bad decisions and all.

We will make some bad decisions to be sure. We may feel like God can’t want anything to do with us after all the bad decisions we have made. The Bible says that God is seeking you in order to develop an intimate relationship with the God whom you have met personally through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is graciously calling, “Where are you?” no matter how many bad decisions you have made.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What should we do when we make a bad decision?
  2. If our sin separates us from God, how does making a good, wise choice draw us closer to him?
  3. If you decide today to spend the next week asking God to empower you to make good choices, what do you think might happen as a result?
  4. If Jesus is the answer to making wise choices, how can you find help from Him this week?

Knowing God Through His Word

”For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” – Hebrews 4:12.

It happens all the time. You need to make a decision. Your mind is tangled up. And you can’t untangle it. But you have to make a decision—yesterday. So, what’s it gonna be? Time’s ticking. You have to make up your mind. Time’s up. What’d you decide? Each one of us is faced with making decisions on a daily basis. Some decisions are much more important than others. Making wise decisions is an incredibly important skill to develop. God’s Word has a great deal to say about wise decision making. But can the Bible have the answers for our complicated lives? Can we really know what it teaches and can we apply to real life situations and decisions. The answer to all those questions is yes. 

2 Corinthians 1: 20 says, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ…”  This verse is so powerful because no matter what situation or circumstances I face, what decisions I need to make, the answers are found in God’s word. When faced with difficult decisions it is easy to say in one breath that I trust God, but then find myself worrying about the situation. It’s not enough to simply believe in God, but we as followers of Christ need to start believing God. Believing that each and every promise He has made in Scripture is available to us.

God has demonstrated that He is completely incapable of breaking His promises. The bottom line is the scriptures are sufficient to guide us in every area of life. Sometimes it’s so easy to believe God’s Word for somebody else and to stand in agreement that the promises of God are going to be manifested in their life, but when it comes to our own personal situations we quickly embrace fear and doubt. That is especially true when we face difficult decisions in our lives.

The Scriptures contain everything we need to make wise and godly decisions. We must test our decision making process and decisions to see if it fits with what God has said in God’s Word. The word of God is that it is just as relevant today as it was last month, last year, or as far back as you’d like to take it.

So, how can we minimize foolish decisions and grow in wisdom? Jesus tells us the difference between wise and foolish people in the following verses. Matthew 7:24: “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.”  Matthew 7:26:  “But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.”

So what Jesus is saying is that those who hear and obey Jesus’ words, the word of God, are wise. Those who hear God’s Word, but do not obey or it put into practice are foolish. Wise decision making is therefore decisions that put the word of God into practice in your life. Foolish decision making ignores God’s Word and reaps the consequences. In Jesus’ story, a violent storm came and destroyed the house built on foolish decisions, whereas the house built on wise decision making stood firm.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does the Bible become part of our decision making process?
  2. Should we expect every scripture based decision to be a good decision? Why or why not?
  3. What can we do this week to make scripture a more practical part of our lives? 

Seek Godly Counsel

“Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance” – Proverbs 1:5.

Making God honoring decisions is an adventure. It is a challenge. Fortunately, God has given us a valuable tool to help us make wise decisions, the counsel of other Christians. Acquiring and using Godly counsel must be important because the Bible is full of verses talking about that very subject. In fact, the following is a few of the examples from the book of Proverbs:

Proverbs 11:14: “Without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having many advisers.” Proverbs 12:15: “Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.” Proverbs 15:22: “Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success.” Proverbs 20:18: “Plans succeed through good counsel; don’t go to war without wise advice.” Proverbs 24:6: “So don’t go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many advisers.”

Seeking advice may be the most mentioned subject in Proverbs. It is obvious that the wisdom is coming from one of the wisest men in history – Solomon. He speaks of success coming from having advisers or counselors. When you have trusted counselors, you can weigh the various counsel and then make your decision with God’s help. The key is finding the right counsel. The right counsel is a godly counselor, a committed believer in Jesus Christ. Paul is talking about that very thing when he tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:10:  “But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance.”

When you seek someone’s counsel or advice for your life, make sure you can trust them. You have to have had conversations with them, prayed with them, eaten with them. You can’t get to know someone by watching them on television or seeing them speak in a huge auditorium. 2 Timothy 3:13-14 says, “But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived. But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you.”

At Northstar, you can get to know other committed believers on a first-hand basis. Get involved in a small group. You’ll get to know others with godly character who can give good counsel. Don’t try to make major decisions without the counsel of other believers. Another believer can be led by the Spirit to give you insight into your situation. But when you receive instruction or counsel from others, you must evaluate it against the principles of God’s Word. “You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:15) God’s word will give you wisdom and the ability to more effectively evaluate the teaching, advice or counsel that you may receive from others. 

Be prepared to receive both encouraging and corrective counsel. Good counsel will equip you to make good decisions. God will help you to receive the good counsel that you need.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What comes to mind when you hear the words Godly counsel?
  2. How do you determine who is Godly counsel?
  3. How can you best use those you trust to give you good advice?

Pray First. Decide Second.

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

Every day each of us are faced with numerous choices. Decision-making can be difficult. There is often a lot at stake. Our decisions have the power to change our lives for the better or for the worse. Making a decision often means taking a risk. They can be hard choices that deserve a great amount of thought. We may fear not succeeding, experiencing disapproval from family or friends, or being ultimately disappointed by our choice. Regardless of the consequences, we still have to make decisions.   

So the question is: How do we choose wisely? What criteria do we use to evaluate, to discern the best course of action? Gathering all information necessary to make a wise decision is essential. We need the kind of wisdom that comes from above and that wisdom begins with prayer.

We know that God is sovereign. God is above all things and before all things. He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. He is present everywhere so that everyone can know Him. God created all things and holds all things together, both in heaven and on earth.  God knows all things past, present, and future. God knows everything completely before it even happens. God can do all things and accomplish all things. Nothing is too difficult for Him, and He orchestrates and determines everything that is going to happen in your life, in my life, in Panama City, in Florida, in the U.S. and in the world. Nothing is impossible with Him. That being the case, God can help us with our decisions if we ask him in prayer. In his timeless plan, God has conceived all possible scenarios and has thought of every possible contingency. There has never been an event that took God by surprise, and there never will be.

That should be comforting to every follower of Jesus faced with a decision. Pray and tell God that you are worried about a decision. Pray that God would give you a heart of wisdom. Pray that you will make wise choices; and when two paths seem to be equal, pray God will help you to trust even as you make the decision. Pray  if the decision is the right one that God would open the door wide. And if it’s not what God has for you, that God would close the door tightly.  And at the end of this decision, pray for continued guidance. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you believe every decision should begin with prayer? Why or why not?
  2. We will plan, but we trust God to order our steps. What does that mean to you?
  3. What can we do to make prayer an integral part of the decision-making process?