Jul 6, 2012
A week ago a friend asked if I could speak at the men’s retreat at his church.
I was thrilled.
I had been praying for opportunities to talk about faith — I would be able to see my friend — I would grow and learn — and it would be exciting to watch God work.
So I said I would love to come — as long as I could work out some details — and that I’d get back to him.
Not so fast
But the next day I started to have misgivings.
I could not put my finger on why — but I felt a strange uncertainty.
And then it struck me — I had not taken the time to lay this invitation at God’s feet — and ask if He wanted me to do this or not.
So I stopped and prayed.
Inquiring of God
Many times in the Old Testament David “inquired of the Lord” — asking God specific questions — and receiving answers from God (1Sam 23:2, for example).
And in the New Testament the Holy Spirit often leads people supernaturally (Acts 8:29, for example).
Not that we always need supernatural leading. Often God wants us to decide based on prayerful, bible-soaked wisdom.
But over the years I have seen the benefit of asking God for specific leading — which, if He chooses to guide in that way — is always helpful.
So I stopped and asked God if I should do this men’s retreat.
Sometimes when I do that I don’t have any sense one way or the other.
Not this time
This time I had an immediate sense that was God saying “No. Don’t go.”
This was NOT what I was expecting to hear.
This was NOT what I wanted to hear.
I was stunned.
I know — it would be wrong to make a decision based just on that. And I certainly didn’t want to.
So I decided to give it a few more days.
That’s the only way I can describe it.
Just about every time I’d pray — it was “No. Don’t go.”
But — it made perfect sense to say Yes to this invitation.
And I wanted to say Yes to this invitation.
So there was a battle in my soul.
I had no desire to say No.
But I felt no peace about saying Yes.
This went on for a few days.
God is faithful
But God is faithful.
He is abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon Him (Psa 86:5).
So I called upon Him to help me.
I stopped praying about whether or not I should go — and asked Him to show me what was wrong.
And He showed me the problem — I was not surrendered to Him.
I was trusting this speaking engagement more than Jesus Christ to secure and satisfy me.
That’s why there was a battle.
That’s why I had no peace.
On my knees
So I got down on my knees — and prayed.
I confessed that I had let this speaking engagement become an idol.
I asked the Father to forgive me — through Jesus.
I asked Him to change my heart.
I prayed over Scriptures like Prov 3:5-6; James 1:5; Psa 16:11.
And finally — the battle stopped. Peace came.
I knew — God did not want me to speak at the retreat.
I had a couple ideas as to why — but the main reason I had peace was because I was finally surrendered to Him.
What I learned
From now on, when I face a decision, I will immediately pray about it.
I will talk honestly with the Father about my desires.
I will admit that my desires might be wrong, and lay them at His feet.
I will pray about His wisdom and love and goodness until I feel fully surrendered to whatever His will might be.
Then I will ask Him for wisdom about what I should do.
And — as He gives me grace — I will follow the wisdom He gives.
Have you experienced anything similar?
I’d love to hear — leave a reply below. Thanks!
If you know someone who would benefit from reading this — email it to them using the “share” button — or use the other buttons to share on your favorite social media.
If you would like to receive a Saturday email summarizing the week’s posts — subscribe here. (I will only use your email address for Living By Faith Blog communications — and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.)
And here’s some related posts you might find helpful —
My Most Powerful Experience of Spiritual Gifts
How God Solved My Grandfather's Impossible Problem
An Example Of The Spiritual Gift Of Faith
(Picture by bigevil600 on everystockphoto.)