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Prayer Is a Discerning Tool5 min read

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Prayer helps you discern what direction to take. Prayer enables you to know what destinations you want to end up in life.

In this article, that’s what I’m going to share with you.

There are two things you should know first:

  • There’s power in prayer. The power that comes out of prayer transforms you into a winner, an achiever and someone nothing or no one can stop. Learn more here.
  • Prayer helps you listen better. Listening happens when you come to Jesus and surrender. Doing so gives you rest, which allows you to turn off all other voices while enabling you to focus only on God’s voice. Learn more here.

Now, how can prayer help you discern in life so that you know what to do, when, how and why to do it?

A Scripture that can answer our question is John 10. For the sake of our article today, let’s focus on verses 1 through 21.

I won’t take you through all the verses. But, on your own time, I encourage you to study the entire chapter.

In the entire chapter, Jesus refers to Himself as the Good Shepherd (see verse 11). Jesus describes who a good shepherd is:

  • He is not a thief and robber (verse 1).
  • He enters by the door (verse 2).
  • The sheep know his voice and follow him (verse 3).
  • He calls his sheep, each one, by name (verse 3).
  • He goes before them, and the sheep follow him (verse 4).

More importantly, a good shepherd is the one who gives up his own life for his flock. Jesus talks about that in verse 11.

So, how does all that help us discern?

Discerning starts with being in the right place in life

Using our Scripture (John 10), it’s clear the right place to be is God’s flock (sheepfold). In other words, you have to belong to God’s community.

I know the first thing that comes to mind, when thinking of God’s community (or flock), is Church, Sunday School or small groups.

Let me tell you that you may belong to a group of good Christians, but still not a member of God’s flock. The question is what you need to make you a member of God’s sheepfold (or flock).

There are two things you should do.

  • First, believe in Jesus Christ and receive Him as your personal Lord and Savior.
  • Second, pray. You don’t only pray as you invite Jesus into your life, but also make prayer your daily spiritual discipline. Once you do the above, God places in the right place and where you should be in life.

Once you believe and receive Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, you automatically belong. In other words, you’re in the right place in life. 

Discerning comes out of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd

Being in the right place in life is the beginning a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. 

It’s a relationship that takes place between a good shepherd and his (her) flock. The shepherd knows every single member of his (her) sheep. 

Out of this personal relationship, Jesus knows you by your name. Out of this intimacy, you reach with Jesus, as your Shepherd, you’ll begin to see things better than ever. 

Not only your ability to see and listen improves, but you also become able to make good and informed decisions in life. 

The choices you make from now on are the result of what your Shepherd thinks is best for you. 

What your Shepherd thinks is right for you is what you need, and which he (she) will make sure you get. 

Therefore, a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ as our Shepherd enables you to succeed at who you are and what you do in life. It then improves your discerning ability. 

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Discerning is God’s plan coming to reality in our lives

Jesus Christ, as your Shepherd, will make God’s plan a reality in your life. 

God’s plan is a concept, with which we all struggle. Don’t we? 

Sometimes, we think we’ve got it, but, then to realize later that we’re not yet there. I can’t tell you what God’s plan should look like in your life even though I know that God can show it to us. 

However, it’s never right for a human being to get a sense of it in its entirety. Even when we have prophetic gifts of the Spirit to see the future, I don’t think we will see it all. We all know and recognize glimpses of what God has in mind for us. 

Paul puts it this way:

For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.  1 Corinthians 13: 9,10. NIV. 

The relationship you have with Jesus Christ as your Shepherd will help you begin to see God’s plan. You may not see it all at once but in pieces. 

That’s why I encourage you to pray, study God’s Word, listen through the discipline of journaling and learn from others. God may show you a piece of God’s plan for your life through prayer. He will show you another through God’s written Word, and one more as you worship on Sunday. 

God wants you to keep asking, knocking and seeking!

Discerning means that Jesus is walking before you as you follow Him

Jesus Christ as your Shepherd wants you to follow Him!

Two things about discerning:

  • To discern is an act of surrender to Jesus Christ.
  • To discern is a choice to obey and follow Jesus Christ.

Discernment is to let Jesus lead as you choose to follow Him. No questions asked! 

The concept of surrender is to choose to be the clay and let God be the Potter. Doing so allows God to melt, mold and fill us with God’s Spirit. 

When we surrender, God can move, as the clay, on the right paths, which eventually lead us to the right destinations. 

Bringing it together

Discernment isn’t only something you and I can do. It’s the fruit of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, which begins in prayer. To discern implies an act of surrender and obedience. And, when we do so, we allow God to put us on paths that lead us to the right places in life where we ought to be. 

Emmanuel T Naweji
Emmanuel Naweji is a husband and father. He has been a Christian since when he was a teenager. His passion is to help you discover your voice (and story) so that you can boldly live with clarity. He fulfills his passion and calling as a Pastor, Coach, Speaker, and Blogger.