Read: Proverbs 3:1-8
We don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words (Romans 8:26).

My friend has a habit of asking God for signs. In doing so, His prayers tend to seek confirmation of his feelings, as in “God, if You want me to do ‘X,’ then please do ‘Y,’ and I’ll know it’s OK.”

Not surprisingly, this has created a dilemma. For my friend feels that he should get back with his ex-girlfriend, based on the way he prays. His ex, on the other hand, feels strongly that God has told them not to get back together. Ah, feelings.

Jesus told the religious leaders of His day: “Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign” (Matthew 16:4). But He wasn’t making a blanket statement to prevent anyone from seeking God’s guidance. Rather, Jesus was accusing them of ignoring the clear prophecies that told them He was the Messiah.

Proverbs gives us an abundance of direct signs as to how to live our lives. Solomon, who wrote most verses in the book, gave these instructions to his son: “Never let loyalty and kindness leave you” (v.3). “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding” (v.5). To drive his point home, Solomon concluded: “Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil” (v.7).

God wants us to seek His guidance in prayer (James 1:5). He has given us the instruction of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26) and His Word, the Bible (1 Thessalonians 2:13). He gives us mentors and wise leaders. He’s also given us the ultimate example seen in Jesus (Philippians 2:4-5).

It’s wise to ask God for clear direction. But our prayers should never be formulaic attempts to manipulate God. Real Christianity is not a system; it’s a relationship with Jesus Himself.

—Tim Gustafson

Taken from “Our Daily Journey”