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Praying For Direction

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler
2018 29 Aug

An image of a white, wintery woods with a path going through the center. The path is covered in gold leaves.

“You dare not run your own life”1--this warning comes from A.W. Tozer, who is speaking of our tendency to want to be the boss of our lives. How we deal with this inclination toward taking control, he says, will make the vital difference between whether or not we fulfill God’s plan for our lives and whether we will experience revival or a dead church.

If we want to grow in God’s wisdom, the hard truth is that we can’t do it without obeying him. Why would God continue to reveal his will if we continue to refuse to do it? Rejecting God’s guidance not only leads to a heap of trouble, it prevents us from experiencing the joy that can come from watching his plans unfold in the midst of our obedience.

A few months ago, I was wrestling with a decision about how to respond to a small ministry I had previously supported, one that was having obvious difficulties. I knew the leadership and might be able to influence it even though I didn’t sense much openness. So I asked for wisdom and felt God giving it. I was to take a hands-off approach, because God was going to deal with matters himself. But serious problems persisted. So I asked again, “Lord, what should I do? I see structural problems that are being ignored, ones that will jeopardize the ministry’s future. If it collapses, people will get hurt.”

In the midst of one of these times of prayer, I was in my car, stopped at the intersection of a busy road and a divided highway. Though I’d driven that way many times, I noticed with special clarity a set of signs and arrows staring me straight in the face. Here’s how the westbound intersection was marked.

A group of street signs: straight ahead only, one way pointing left, no turns, one way pointing right.

I had been asking for God’s guidance and it seemed as though he was giving it--in spades. Don’t change direction. Hold to the course I’ve set. Remember what I told you.

Though my prayers for guidance aren’t always answered so obviously, this one was. Perhaps God spoke so clearly because he knows how easy it is for me to fall back into thinking I can fix things.  My certainty that I know best might well make things worse.

Sometimes we think it’s hard to find God’s will. But if we are following Christ faithfully, we can trust God to always tell us what we need to know when we need to know it. For those whose hearts are fixed on God, prayers for wisdom do not go unheeded.

  1. A.W. Tozer, The Attributes of God, Volume 2 (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread Publishers, 2001), 136.