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How can we Know God's Will: Conclusion

How can we figure out God’s calling on our lives?

Earlier this week I wrote about the three times God laid a call on my life. Quickly they were these:

1. Writing (1986)

2. Teaching (1989)

3. Prayerwalking (1998)

I experienced something different for each of those calls:

– Actual words I understood inaudibly as I had taken time to quiet my thoughts and to listen for God’s direction to me.

– A dramatic dream (nightmare, really)

– A scene that played out in front of me while I was walking

But here’s something else I noticed as I thought about my life’s circumstances: my heart, mind, and spirit were ready for God’s direction for each of those three calls:

1. Earlier in 1986 I had read many books about the temperaments (sanguine, choleric, melancholy, and phlegmatic). I began understanding more about myself–my strengths and perhaps even more importantly, my weaknesses. I also had taken a spiritual gifts test. And then I read a pivotal book: “Lord, Change Me” by Evelyn Christenson. That book, I believe, helped me see how I had been running from God and that following God’s call on my life would not be a scary thing. Right after then God called me to write.

2. In 1989 I began to understand that I would never feel fulfilled or stretched working in my husband’s law office. A sincere sense of discontentment grew in me. I wanted to do something else with my life. But what? Right after then God called me to teach.

3. In the fall of 1998, I was physically falling apart but I was also hungering for more of God in my life. Then he called me to prayerwalking.

One thread in each of those calls was my sensing a void. The other was my openness to God’s movement in my life. “Lord, change me.” “Use me, Lord.” “Send me.”

We learn in Experiencing God that we can know God’s will in our lives in four different ways:

– The Bible

– Prayer

– Others

– Circumstances

The first two will always be reliable. When we’re in touch with God, he will direct us through his Word and prayer.

The next two make me nervous–especially if we lean heavily on them without regard for the first two.

But here’s my take, given what I’ve studied and what I’ve experienced: God can make his will known to us in many different ways. He is the Creator, after all, right?

The biggest factor is my willingness to change, to listen, and to follow through. I coordinate posting requests to my church’s prayer request team. Asking for direction is very common. While I’ll always post those requests, I believe that God doesn’t hide his will. It’s not mystery dinner or escape room set of problems to solve. I just need to stay in touch with God daily: reading his Word DAILY and praying ALL THE TIME.

My last prayer request before I fall asleep is always this: “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” This was the prayer request of Samuel. God quickly answered him. And I believe God will also direct my steps and yours, if we are open to change and listening with an obedience-oriented heart.

Janet McHenry is a speaker and the author of 24 books, including the bestselling PrayerWalk: Becoming a Woman of Prayer, Strength and Discipline (2001, WaterBrook/RandomHouse). More about prayerwalking, her speaking, and her books can be found here:

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