Luke 6:12-16 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountain side to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them whom he also designated apostles. Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon the Zealot, Judas (son of James), and Judas Iscariot who became a traitor.
Jesus spent the night in prayer before choosing his disciples. Jesus prayed all night, giving up sleep because this was a very important decision, and He wanted His Father’s help with it. Then he chose his disciples.
Do you pray about your choice of friends? Your choice of spouse? job? business ventures? where you are choosing to live? or raising your children?
Many times in life we have major decisions to make about things. Some of those decisions are crucial to how happy and satisfied we will be for the many years of our lives. Doesn’t it make sense to include the Lord when you have to make a decision like that?
Sometimes we just don’t give God a thought and forge on ahead because an opportunity presents itself. Sometimes that opportunity is not what it seems like it should be…for example: You may be offered an incredible job opportunity that seems all you could dream of..there is just one catch…you have to leave everything you know, and everyone you know to go to live in a different place entirely. Now for some people the sheer adventure of going to another place would just be irresistible…however, for a person who is deeply rooted in their family life, very close to their parents, or seriously dating someone a decision like this can turn out to be very very important…the difference between happiness and misery.
Either way, this kind of offer is huge in the person’s life because it requires them to be able and willing to go somewhere and adapt to a situation that offers them no support. Yes, there are telephones and the internet to keep in touch with others, but for some (myself included) that would not be enough.
So it just makes sense to include God who should be your close personal friend and intimate confidant through prayer in your decision making process, right?
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).
This generous giving mentioned in James is not about material goods…it is about advice and guidance…notice the first part is about if you “lack wisdom” doesn’t that speak to you about how God feels about being part of our decision making process?
Sometimes things are not as good as the offer seems, if you speak to God about it, he will make straight your paths. God will answer you in a “still, small voice” and let you know what the problems are with the offer or opportunity in your life…or if it is a relationship, what may cause you to have problems. I know that some of you probably don’t understand the “still, small voice concept” so I will try to explain it to you as I understand it in my life. It takes some practice to “hear” it because it is very quiet..God is not yelling to get our attention.
So here is my example that seems to help folks understand it in the easiest way:
There have been times when I have driven into the city and as I was entering it heading for a destination, the thought pops into my head, “which way should I go today, the outer belt or through down town?” Then I usually will get a thought bounced back at me like “take the outer belt today” or “the outer belt is not the best idea today.” Now, when I heed that voice, most of the time things go smoothly on the drive, but I have found with practice that whenever I have not listened….I usually have a traffic problem such as an accident ahead, or getting behind some really slow person who seems like they have never driven on the highway before..something like that. So over time, I have practiced listening to this “still small voice” whenever I have a decision to make..sometimes it is a small decision like which way to travel, and sometimes it is a big decision like should I change to a different church.
There are other ways that God can communicate with you what he thinks you should do…for instance, (honestly, I have had this happen to me)..I was praying and wrestling with a decision about whether I should leave the church I had been attending for many many years for more than two hours while I was working one day, and left work, sat down in my car and turned the radio on and a preacher on it says, “Today we will be talking about what to do whenever you don’t know what God wants you to do…” (I like to listen to radio ministers.)
Sometimes, God will tell you something, and then he will also have a friend come to you or even a stranger say something that will back up what he has already told you. A lot of times these people don’t have any idea that you are even struggling with some decision at all, they just happen to make a statement of good sound advice which you realize when you hear it is just what God would want you to do. It falls right in with what you know is the character of God.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
The thing to remember is that in order to “hear” and “understand” what God is telling you, you need to spend a lot of time with him in prayer and practice listening to him. Prayer is a two way conversation. It is not just you doing all of the talking. Also, if you don’t understand God’s character then you may fall pray to making a bad decision which puts you out of obedience to his will for your life. In order to make good decisions that keep you in God’s will, then you need to know God intimately…this only comes from the study of God’s character through scripture and through spending time in prayer speaking to and listening to God.
1 Chronicles 16:11 Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.
Jeremiah 33:3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’