God Communicates His Direction

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” . . . Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”
–James 4:13, 15

When we pray, what sorts of things does God talk to us about? If prayer is a primary channel for knowing the will of God, then exactly what part of His will does He communicate to us through prayer?

For one thing, God communicates His direction through prayer. I want to point out an interesting verse in Psalm 14. The psalmist wrote, “Do all these evildoers know nothing? They devour my people as though eating bread; they never call on the Lord” (v. 4  NIV). Notice how the psalmist defined evildoers: those who “never call on the name of the Lord.” To start your morning and end your day without ever consulting God for His direction is ungodly.

I think that’s what James had in mind when he wrote, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’ But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil” (4:13–16). James wasn’t condemning planning. God wants us to make plans. No, James was condemning planning without God.

They say confession is good for the soul, so let me confess something to you. Too often, prayer for me is a last resort. When I’m facing a dilemma, my first instinct is to call somebody and talk the problem over. Or I pull out my legal pad and make a list of the pros and cons. I do everything except pray. But the Word of God says when we are facing a dilemma, prayer should be our first response, not our last resort.

How much time do you spend every day asking God to communicate His guidance to you? In his book Knowing God’s Will, Blaine Smith wrote, “Praying for God’s will is a daily responsibility, and one for which the serious Christian must simply make time.” God communicates His direction for our lives through prayer.

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Today’s devotion is adapted from “The God Who Speaks” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

M. Blaine Smith, Knowing God’s Will (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1979), 47.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org; Scripture quotation marked (NIV) taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com.

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This week, we’re going to discover five principles that Abraham’s servant Eliezer exercised in finding the right mate for Abraham’s son Isaac. These principles can help you, your children, and your grandchildren not only to find a mate but also to know God’s will for any area of life.
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