Pray for God’s Guidance Or God’s Will?

As best I can tell, it isn’t recorded in Scripture that Jesus asked God to guide him.  As far as I have found, I can’t find in Scripture a command to pray seeking God’s guidance.  What Jesus did pray about… and He taught us to pray… was about God’s will being done.  Maybe that is how our prayers should be directed.  And maybe someone can show me some Scripture I have overlooked.

In The Model Prayer, Jesus taught us to pray… “Thy will be done…” not “SHOW me Thy will.”  When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane He prayed, “If it be your will let this cup pass from me…” NOT “Show me Your will that I may do it.”  That strikes me as important.

Some will point to Romans 12 where Paul wrote, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Some suggest that the “renewal of your mind” is prayer and “discerning” is asking God to answer regarding His guidance.  Consider John MacArthur’s commentary…

The transformed and renewed mind is the mind saturated with and controlled by the Word of God.  It is the mind that spends as little time as possible even with the necessary things of earthly living and as much time as possible with the things of God.  It is the mind that is set “on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Col 3:2).  Whether good or bad, when anything happens in our lives, our immediate, almost reflexive response should be biblical.  During His incarnation, Jesus responded to Satan’s temptations by hurling Scripture back into His adversary’s face (Mt 4:4, 7, 10).  Only the mind that is constantly being renewed by God’s Spirit working through God’s Word is pleasing to God.  Only such a mind is able to make our lives “a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is [our] spiritual service of worship.” (MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Moody Press & John MacArthur Jr., 1983-2005).

In other words… “renewing of the mind” does not refer to prayer asking God for guidance.  The way God’s will is discerned is by immersing ourselves in Scripture and as a result God’s will is known through the Spirit’s illumination of Scripture in light of honoring God’s Word which dominates our life.  Or to put it a more clearly… the renewed mind recognizes God’s will as He is unfolding it and doing it.  Thus it is taught in Experiencing God, “Find out where God is at work and join Him.”

It is as a friend of mine who recently quoted Oswald Chambers… “God won’t tell you what He’s doing, He tells you who He is.” I like that.

When it comes to God’s will, the Christian is in the middle of it.  God’s will is more something He does… something that we come to realize than it is something God gives us in answer to prayer.

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4 comments on “Pray for God’s Guidance Or God’s Will?

  1. ALLAN BANG says:

    GOOD FOOD,THANKS

  2. Mark says:

    Very interesting. Good advice. God is so good with timely messages. Thank you Ron.

  3. Peggy Holder says:

    This is interesting but right on. I have just never heard it explained like this. Thanks for the insight.

  4. Joan says:

    Sometimes it is hard to discern God’s will from man’s will.

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