Given the dozens of books about guidance on the market, it’s obvious that knowing God’s will is a huge concern for most Christians. But how? How can we know God’s will for us? Here’s a selection of questions that might be used not only to help someone discover what God wants them to do, but also train them to make good decisions in the future as well.

1. What is your dilemma? What are your struggling with?

2. Is this something that God’s Word clearly prohibits or commands? Or is this a subject that requires wisdom and discernment in applying the general principles of God’s Word to a specific situation?

3. What general Scriptural principles or examples are relevant to this question?

4. How would you describe your general spiritual state or condition? Close to God, distant from God, or somewhere in between?

5. What is your overall motive and aim in your life?

6. Are there any areas of sin or folly in your life that may be hindering you from knowing and doing God’s will?

7. How have you made decisions before? How did they turn out? What did you learn from that?

8. On this issue, what have you done to find out God’s will already and what do you yet plan to do?

9. Have you ever tried using a fleece (Josh. 18:6, 8, 10)? Or casting lots? Or any other superstitious methods? 

10. What options are you considering and what are the pros and cons of each?

11. Is there any way of reducing the options?

12. Which option do you prefer and why?

13. Have you prioritized the factors that are influencing this decision?

14. Have you already made a decision in your heart?
15. What are you looking for that will help you to know what to do? 

16. Are you looking for particular feelings, or a voice from heaven, or some other indicator to guide you?

17. How often have you prayed about this and what are you praying for?

18. What motives and desires can you detect that are influencing your decision-making? 

19. What are you afraid of happening as a result of your decision?

20. Is there any fear of man or desire for someone’s favor that’s impacting you in this?

21. Who have you consulted and what did they say?

22. Are you completely willing to do God’s will whatever it may be?

23. What doors are you seeing that are opening or closing?

24. Which option will draw you closer to God and help you glorify God most?

25. Which option will best develop your gifts and talents?

26. How will this decision impact your family, your church, your employer, others in your life? What other consequences can you foresee?

27. How long have you been thinking and praying about this?

28. How soon do you have to make a decision?

29. Is there a command you can obey while you wait? Are you doing your duty today? Are you living in the light God has given you while you wait for Him to give you more?

30. What indicators of God’s providence have you discerned?

Any other questions that you would add?

  • KvdK

    Dear David,

    thank you for your list of questions that can certainly be helpful.
    However, from my perspective (I am working on a PhD related to this issue) what we need is not more list of possible questions to ask or steps to take, but thorough theological reflection on what it actually means that God guides people.
    For example, you mention ‘indicators of God’s providence,’ but if there is anything theologians of all times warn against it is the idea of ‘reading God’s providence’ (this is true not only after Barth’s resistance against any kind of natural theology, but is for example also very true for Reformation times).

    So let’s not ask for more of those questions, however helpful pastorally, but for more investigation of how this issue of guidance is related to several other theological themes (providence, vocation, sufficiency of Scripture, sanctification, pneumatology etc.)

    Best wishes,

    Kees

    • David Murray

      Hi Kees, I don’t think it’s a case of either/or. We need both the theological reflection and the practical help. I was working on the theological side in class yesterday with my MDiv Counseling students, but thought the practical questions would be more helpful in a blog setting.

      I’m surprised about your comment that “theologians of all times” warn against “reading God’s providence.” Maybe I’m not understanding you correctly here, but every sound conservative book I’ve read on the subject does include this as a factor – not a big factor, not a priority factor , and not a detached-from-the-Bible factor, but definitely a factor.

      Maybe an example would help. If someone is considering whether I’m called to be an American footballer and I’m only 5 ft and 150lbs, that’s a providential indicator that they are probably not called to that profession. Similarly, if I’m considering whether to be a teacher and yet I can’t pass basic exams, again that’s a providential indicator that I should probably consider another calling. So, it’s not talking about cloud shapes or tea leaves, but pretty basic common sense observations about talents, opportunities, etc., given or denied by God’s providence.

      Each of my questions could do with more explanation, but that’s probably more suitable for a PhD than a blog! If I’m reading providence correctly :)

      • Most Grateful

        I really appreciated this list of questions, Pastor Murray. They are very practical and help remove the cloud of emotion. Some of your questions test the heart, some of your questions challenge possible poor decision-making processes of our past. We need down to earth help, and you always give it. Thank you. Your ministry is well-named, and has been a great blessing to me and others I know.

        • David Murray

          I am most grateful to you, Most Grateful :)

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  • Les

    Thank you for the list. It’s hard to go through right now. I have treatment resistant major depression and was turned down for TMS therapy. It seems every door is closed now. Life is so far off track that it will never be productive again. I used to have a good education but am only fit for the most menial low paying jobs. I must learn to somehow joyfully accept this.

    • David Murray

      So sorry Les. Please don’t give up hope. Obviously I don’t know your situation in detail but in general I’d say to you try to build as much basic and simple routine into your life as possible – sleeping hours, daily exercise, good diet, friends, church, fellowship. That may not remove the depression on its own, but it will mitigate it, and continue on meds if prescribed by your doctor. And look to the Lord to bless these means as He has for many before you who are now well again.

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