Are we supposed to ask God what to do?

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Daniel David, Mar 14, 2004.

  1. Daniel David

    Daniel David
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    I was thinking about this just yesterday.

    Does the Scripture either by command or example tell us to just 'pray about what to do'?

    Is this idea foreign to the Scripture and a recent fad by those who don't think the Scripture is sufficient?
     
  2. freeatlast

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    We certainly do need to study and know what scriptures say so to do the Lord's will. However we also need to pray about what we are to do so that we do not do it in our own strength. Also just because something is biblical does not mean that WE are the one to do it and that reqiuires prayer as well. Prayer and proper understanding goes together.
     
  3. Helen

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    Barry and I constantly ask the Lord's leading in every area of our lives. As John MacArthur put it in one very good sermon not long ago, think of ourselves as gloves, and Jesus as the hand. He is to work through us. The world sees us, but best it had be Jesus doing the guiding and working.

    He is the Shepherd. We are only sheep. He knows what He wants of us minute to minute.

    Scripture tells us about the relationship between God and man. Living it requires active communication with God -- and that means listening as well as talking. A voice in the heart? Yes, sometimes. A seredipitous set of circumstances? Yes, sometimes. Words from a mate or friend, unsolicited perhaps? Yes, sometimes. Pulling weeds in the garden and thinking about something and having an 'unfamiliar' thought intrude itself? Yes, sometimes.

    Quietly paying attention to God at all times, meditating on His Word, thanking Him in all things, looking for the daily lessons He puts into our lives in order to mature us...this, for us, is a good part of what the Christian life is all about.

    Something really interesting I have found about how God works: when Barry and I have a quandry before us and need guidance, we pray about it together. Afterwards when our heads are up, it is not uncommon for us to not only know what is to be done, but to agree exactly. We ask for guidance, and we get it. God is wonderful and faithful. And that is totally biblical!
     
  4. Daniel David

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    Helen, I am not trying to be quarrelsom, so please don't take it as such.

    I don't find an example of someone doing it is Scripture, and I don't find a command to do it. Think of all the commands in the Bible. None of them require us to do this.

    I am really just kind of thinking out loud here. Perhaps some others will join in too. I just how much of what we say God told us to do is really just what we wanted to do in the beginning.
     
  5. Helen

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    Jesus did it in Scripture, just as you were told and referenced in the other thread.

    Since it is clear you don't reference your daily life to Christ as a matter of asking Him to guide you, how can you know that what you are doing and saying is what He would want of you?

    His sheep hear His voice. I know very clearly when He is the one giving directions!
     
  6. Daniel David

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    1. Where? I honestly must have missed it.

    2. You don't know what I do Helen. I do pray and ask God to keep me from temptation, etc. When asked how to pray, Christ gave specific things. One of those wasn't a decision by decision asking for what he wanted done. If you disagree, refute it with Scripture.

    3. Yes, I have heard his voice. He called me into his fold, and I am growing in maturity. If you want that verse to mean anything else, you have changed the intended meaning into some subjective experience.

    Remember, the Holy Spirit leads all true believers.
     
  7. Gwyneth

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    I (just) wonder - did you miss a verb out DD ?
     
  8. Helen

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    Remember, the Holy Spirit leads all true believers.

    How, Daniel? How, if not through some kind of communication? Or do you believe everything you do, say, think, and are is a matter of predestination? If that is true, then you needn't pray not to be led into temptation, need you?

    Here is the post I was referring to from the What Would Jesus Do thread:

    ==========

    I understand what you are saying and am not trying to argue. I would rather people think of what Jesus would do than a number of other things they think about!

    However, I am not my own. You know the rest -- I was bought with a price. My job is to obey Him because I love Him. There are plenty of people trying to emulate Jesus in one way or another. But I don't think we should have to try to 'manifest' Christ in us. If Christ IS in me, He should be the one directing my actions altogether. Of course gentleness and the other qualities you mentioned are part of it, but very often there are decisions to be made about what to do in any given situation and I would rather He made that decision than me.

    Here are some words from Jesus Himself which indicate how we should go, I think:

    ...but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.
    John 14:31

    When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be, and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.
    John 8:27b-29

    For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I now that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.
    John 12:49-50

    If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever -- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.
    John 14: 15-20

    I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me -- just as the Father knows me and I know the Father -- ...My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
    John 10:14-15a, 27

    Just as Jesus did not have to imagine what the Father would do, for the Father was indwelling Him and guiding/instructing Him, so we do not have to imagine what Jesus would do, for, through His Holy Spirit, He is in us, and we can thus look directly to Him for direction and guidance in any situation.

    We don't have to imagine what He would do Himself. We are not Himself. Our job is to obey Him, which means listening to His Holy Spirit.
     
  9. Dr. Bob

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    Subjective "leading" of God often becomes a problem for folks who use that to "directly disobey" clear objective "teaching" from the Word of God.

    We do NOT get special revelation from God about buying stocks (or I wouldn't have Enron wallpaper) or where to park downtown.

    We DO get perfect and complete revelation in His Word. This means listening to and obeying His Word above all other subjective or emotional thinking.
     
  10. Helen

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    Dr. Bob, with all due respect..

    If one is being led by the Holy Spirit, it is by definition a subjective thing! But you are right about the concept of it being abused and misused -- God will NEVER contradict Himself! Nevertheless, because I have a disabled placard for my car because of my legs, and because there are some days when I can walk pretty normally and others when I can't and have pain, I DO ask God where I should park. Only He knows if someone more disabled than I will really need that handicapped parking space more.

    It's not 'special revelation' -- it's more like having my eyes opened and directed to that other parking space I hadn't seen which is really close so the handicapped space can be used by someone else.

    When my mother died last autumn, she left us some stocks and bonds. Yes, we DID pray about them and what to do!

    The Bible doesn't deal with parking spaces and stocks and bonds, but God knows all about them and His guidance is always perfect. I can't get revelation from the Bible about how to deal with money I have inherited or about a million daily things. But God knows. So I turn to Him.

    It's not an emotional thing. It's a quiet paying attention thing.
     
  11. Daniel David

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    1. First, by conforming us to Christlikeness.

    2. The communication is the word of God.

    3. No, I don't.

    None of those verses offered anything contrary to what I am saying.

    You mentioned buying a house. According to the Scriptures, we can examine:

    1. Why we want a different home.
    2. What purpose will it serve.
    3. Will you go into unreasonable debt.
    4. Are you trying to get away from someone.
    5. Have you been disciplined from a church and just trying to get away.
    6. __________

    Now, if you can't find where the purchase of this new house is outside of God's revealed will in any way, do whatever you want.

    Remember, when we delight in the Lord, then our desires are perfectly legitimate.

    I honestly don't have a problem about people praying about such an issue. I just find a very weak scriptural proof about it.

    I actually find more and more people justifying sin and/or unwise choices because they 'prayed' about it when the Scriptures already gave them their answer.
     
  12. The Right Way

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    What I generally see at my church is most folks tell each other that they prayed about a given situation and then the Lord lead them to, or "revealed" this exact plan of action. Which always seems to be the plan of action that that person really wanted anyway. Divorce, leaving the Church, getting a new job... many things that I can plainly see that the Lord would not have lead them to do. Sometimes, I think they are just wanting to skirt responsibility for their own actions.

    I have to admit, I'm no different. I have said these exact things and am just as guilty.

    I think God wants us to use his Word in making decision where his Word specificlly directs us to do so. Then on everything else, we should make the decision in "light" of God's Word, but take the responsibilty for our actions by saying "I am making this decision and I will have to deal with the outcome, right or wrong". This also prevents me from coming back later to "blame" God for making a bad decision... that I really made.
     
  13. vaspers

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    I already explained all this on the WWJD thread, but to summarize:

    There are lots of verses on seeking personal guidance from the Lord. Even Jesus prayed prior to selecting His 12 disciples, and prayed for guidance in the garden of Gethsemane.

    If He had to pray for specific guidance, when He was The Word in the flesh, how can I do any less???

    Yes the written Word guides us. God expects us to know, study, memorize, and teach this Word.

    But we were given more that the written Word, as great as this is.

    On Pentecost, the power from on high came to indwell believers. Jesus said the Holy Spirit will guide us and teach us and comfort us.

    God never contradicts His Word, but He can also communicate to us through His Holy Spirit, the Christ in us.

    Just because people abuse and sour this truth and practice, doesn't mean it is no longer in effect today.

    Holy Spirit guidance is very important in preaching, witnessing, casting out demons, healing, working miracles, discerning false prophets...

    ...I especially ask that the Holy Spirit guide me as I read the Word, so I don't interpret it carnally.

    In some cases, why can't God let you know where a good parking space is? or suggest a good web usability book for me to buy? or tell me to slam on the brakes, narrowly avoiding a collision in my car? or other nice things? -- since He is a very very very NICE God.

    Some are soured on word of knowledge, and other revelation aspects of having the Holy Spirit indwelling them, and I understand this.

    they may want to stick to the written Word only.

    but remember, it was oral before it was written, and in some persecuted areas, it is still the oral Word of God and divine personal revelation communication from God that sustains these believers.

    And God communicates to us through dreams also.
    Many verses say this. Muslims are reportedly having dreams in which Christ appears to them.

    Praise God, the infinite, almighty One!

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] :cool: [​IMG]
     
  14. Daniel David

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    Helen, I am not asking for you to tell me of a specific occurance, but have you ever had this blow up in your face?

    Have you ever been convinced of one thing, and then had the thing go completely wrong to the point you realized you shouldn't have done it?
     
  15. Helen

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    No, I haven't. But, you see, this is not a 'depending on emotions' for me at all. It really is listening for Christ. It is something I am still learning to do more consistently, the same way my husband does it. And when I am unsure, I definitely wait for some kind of confirmation.

    I can remember a couple of early incidents, which still make me smile. My oldest daughter refused to sleep through the night until she was three. (I let her live anyway... :D ) About the time she was two, my niece in a town 20 miles away was pregnant, sick, and very poor. I wanted to get some good healthy foods to her quickly, so I stocked what I had that I knew she could use from my own refrigerator and cupboard in the car, put my daughter in the car seat, and off we went. My daughter fell asleep during the ride. No way was I going to wake her up for ANYTHING! We got to my niece's apartment and I knocked and rang but her bedroom was upstairs and she was sound asleep and the door was locked. I knew I needed to phone her, as the phone was by her bed, so I drove downtown. It was Christmas and jammed. There were two phones outside the liquor store next to the grocery store. As I drove into the parking lot, I prayed for some help because I did not want to wake up my daughter, so I HAD to find a place near the telephone in that very crowded parking lot.

    As I drove around to the front, not one but TWO cars pulled out from in front of the phone booths.

    A totally different incident happened sometime later. It was spring, and I was driving out to my husband's job site to give him something he had requested. The hills were green and there was new green on many trees and the old oaks dark green. Just for the fun of it, really, I asked God, "Show me all the different greens, please." I was stunned. My eyes saw it all differently in an instant and there were so many shades of green all over! I really didn't expect a response, but I sure got one!

    Those two incident, when my children were quite small, gave me courage to try to talk more to God. Through the years I learned that if I paid attention to that still, small voice, or urging in my heart, things would always work out better. I'd be gardening, for instance, which you know I love, and maybe Chris would be down for a nap. A couple of times, even though I had planned to stay out longer, I simply knew it was time to go in. I can't explain it. I had the freedom to disobey that urging, but when I did -- and, yes, I tried a few times -- Chris might be soaked through to the bedding so I would have to change it all, or I might have missed an important phone call, or something like that.

    Gradually I learned to pay more attention.

    When confronted with a multitude of possible choices -- all quite legal and moral and non-fattening -- I learned to ask God to please shut all doors He didn't want me to walk through.

    When Barry wanted to buy a telescope and we realized how much money a good one would cost, we prayed about it. He was ready to tell himself 'no', and I would not have minded saving that much money one little bit! But we both got a rather strong 'go ahead' indication on it, quite separately. So it is ordered now. God has a use for it, I think, even more than what Barry wants, which is to do his own research as well as start possible classes for some of the handicapped friends of our paraplegic son-in-law. We'll see what is going to happen.

    Two days before Barry and I were to be married, I was hysterical, in tears, terrified of being married again, and trying to talk him out of it! He quietly told me he knew the Lord had given me to him and I was not to be afraid. If he had listened to me instead of to the Lord that day, I would have missed the most magnificent blessing of my life, and my kids would have missed having a father they adore. I know you don't approve of remarriage after divorce, but we find in the circumstances we were in that it is quite biblical and we are totally grateful to God for what we have.

    Barry's sister is autistic, but very high functioning and we knew that knowing about our marriage would REALLY upset her. Barry prayed about what to do, and the indication he got was that he was to keep quiet. We had friends who really disagreed with this. After a couple of years of keeping it secret from her, I was also starting to get restless with the situation and pleaded with Barry to get it all out in the open. He prayed again and told me he was not getting the 'all clear' from God.

    Last May we had been married 2 1/2 years. Barry was in his study in Australia about midnight. I was here in California. His sister walked in and wanted to talk to him. She asked about what he did in America and how the people were responding to his talks and he told her all of that. Finally she said something like, "I didn't know all that! I suppose even if you were married I wouldn't know!"

    Barry sent up a quick prayer and got the go ahead. He told her that he and I were married. She was stunned but asked a million questions and at two in the morning requested seeing a video of our marriage.

    Then she said something that helped us both understand WHY God had put a hold on the whole thing for so long: "Well I know you love me. You have kept coming back to me for over two years now, so I know you won't forget me and leave me."

    God was protecting my sister-in-law, making sure she had the reassurance she needed before she needed it. If Barry had not had the courage to obey God's urging to keep quiet, even in the face of friends and me, his wife, his precious sister would have been hurt and scared. As it is, I am so welcome in her life that she does not want the 'in-law' part added to my name. I am her sister -- the one she evidently always wanted and got mad at her Mum for not providing her with many, many years ago. It's really sweet.

    Those are examples that stand out in my mind. Recently we were looking for land to build on in southern Oregon. We found some very nice parcels, but when we prayed about each, we both ended up feeling very uncomfortable about them after prayer, which we had not felt before prayer. So we held off. And then we were shown an incredible 1.6 acres that already has a wonderfully kept-up house on it, totally flat, two blocks away from the river but above the flood plain, less than a mile from a major hospital, 20 minutes from the airport, with Christian neighbors on both sides...

    Thank you, Lord, for providing such a beautiful place for us! But what if we hadn't prayed about the land and then held off making an offer? We would have bought the land and built the home and I'm sure the Lord would have continued blessing us. But we would have missed this wonderful piece of property and home that He had lined up for us as HIS choice.

    Oh yes, we ask God about everything!

    What truly astounds me is that there are Christians, like you and Dr. Bob and many others, who do not have that wonderful relationship with Christ where you are able to live at His direction moment by moment in your life. He really is willing to be involved in all the details. Is a detail too small?

    Hey, He's the One who made electrons and quarks and DNA and....

    NO detail is too small!

    If you are unsure about something you feel might be from Him, ask for confirmation. He is faithful. One sure confirmation, as you know, is the Bible. If what you are feeling you should do or say goes against something you know in His Word, that is an immediate stop. But when that is not in the way, ask Him, like Gideon did, for a further confirmation. He is faithful. He wants you to learn to hear His voice and obey in that way constantly.

    It's not just a matter of being conformed by the Spirit to the image of Christ. That is for sure and that is long term. But rather it is a matter of imitating Christ in His relationship with the Father -- that He never said or did anything the Father did not instruct Him to do or say.

    I want to be like that.
     
  16. LadyEagle

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    Amen! Even parking places. [​IMG]
     
  17. pinoybaptist

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    Somebody asked why pray when God already knows what we need, and since he control everything ?

    Answer by somebody: Because (1) it is a command, (2) it affirms our total dependency on God, (3) obedience and dependency pleases him.

    Does that make sense ?
     
  18. Daniel David

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    Helen, you might be mistaking 'wisdom' which we are to ask for with direct commands from God.

    There is something to be said about being sensitive and aware of our surroundings at all times.

    So far, with the lack of Scriptural examples or texts, I find the opposing side's argument weak and uncompelling.

    I further think that the theology of prayer is clearly one of the least understood truths.

    I will reserve future posts to interact with Scripture and with those who specifically address me (probably).
     
  19. Dr. Bob

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    Sensitive to the Word of God and promptings of the Spirit as He directs our life into conformity with the image of Christ as revealed in His Word.

    Good way to look at it. I've just seen it abused by so many (I do tons of marriage/divorce counseling, remember) and even Christians throw out the Bible and replace it with "I feel", claiming it is the leading of God.

    Guess I'm bending the other way - a more strict "Thus saith the Lord" black-and-white logic. My wife is very intuitive and I admire that close walk with God that doesn't need the black-and-white as much as I! [​IMG]
     
  20. Watchman

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    Helen:
    Stick to your guns here. You make some very good points.
    We are sheep and we are not our own. While there is no express command in the Bible to seek God's will on absolutely everything, there is, "Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you."
    1Pet. 5:7
    Besides, do we say that seeking God's will in everything is something wrong? Is it some sort of evil?
    I went to bluletterbible.org and typed in, "seek God", and it got a lot of replies; Not one of them was negative, in the sense that this is something we should not do. Quite to the contrary.
    As for those who, supposedly, seek God's will, and wind up doing something unbiblical, one must ask: Are they His sheep? Because they sure didn't hear His voice.
     

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