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How do you know the will of God for your life? How can we tell an answer to prayer?
Thank you for your great question about prayer and the will of God. This is something that many people struggle with and there are also many different answers that Christian leaders can give to this question.
Ultimately this is the best Bible verse that I have found on this issue:
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand (Proverbs 19:21)
This is saying that God is in control; no matter what we do, God is in control. We may have hundreds of ideas or plans, but God will lead. If we commit our plans to God he will guide us. We have to pray that God's will be done and his Kingdom is at work in our lives.
"Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10)
Do not think that all of your ideas are pure however, as sometimes we have selfish desires. We need to make sure in our heart that our motives are correct.
All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
but the Lord weighs the spirit.
Commit your work to the Lord,
and your plans will be established (Proverbs 16:2-3)
I hope that this practical advice and Bible verses will help you when making decisions:
Firstly the Bible does not say certain things about life choices such as what job you should do, who you should marry or where you should live. Therefore I believe that we are free to make these sorts of life choices under God's will as we best judge it by wisdom and good moral and spiritual values. Of course, if our consciences are troubled by choosing something, we should not do it.
The Bible does give advice concerning these subjects like: it is good to work, but not to do anything that causes you to sin or others to sin. The Bible talks about what type of person to marry but not specifically who to marry. The Bible does not really say where we should live, because ultimately I believe that it is up to us.
Therefore unless you have a specific question that the Bible answers, I believe the best thing to do is to pray about the issue, and make the best decision, in line with God's word, that you can make. Do not do anything that contradicts God's Holy Bible. Do not do anything that will cause you or others to sin.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105)
Can I encourage you to read all of Psalm 119.
Practically I want to encourage you to speak to your family, friends, church leaders about the issue and ask them for wise counsel. Consider this verse:
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice (Proverbs 12:15)
Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future (Proverbs 19:20)
I hope this has not confused you more, but that there is a correct balance of considering God's word, praying, seeking wise advice and ultimately doing what we see is right before God.
I do hope this general answer to your question goes some way to helping you find peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: www.lookingforGod.com
In closing, I want to encourage you to get more involved with your local church. It would be good to speak to a Christian leader or another trusted church individual regarding your question. I know they would be delighted to further answer you as well as offer prayer and support as you continue your spiritual journey:
Please use our Interactive Answer Matrix and feel free to ask another question. Our helpful staff are praying for you and waiting to try and answer to you from the Bible, and will be delighted to tell you more about Jesus Christ the Lord, the Saviour of the world.
*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline
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