After six years of practice, two children plus grandma living with us, my husband and I were ready to build our dream house. We did what every young couple does; we started looking in locations that offered the type of home we desired. We walked through model homes and poured over blueprints with home builders.
I began our search with great anticipation. Having been raised in a very frugal home, I could hardly believe we were looking at building our dream house! We walked through spacious family rooms, deluxe kitchens and marveled at the possibilities. My imagination took flight with floor plans and options.
There was just one problem….
Every time we ventured out with high hopes I returned with unease. It made absolutely no sense. We were a dual income family with great earning potential. What was holding me back?
I ignored the disquiet and plunged ahead again only to have the same lack of peace boomerang back on me. After a number of weeks of start, then stop, my husband asked point blank, “Are we buying a house nor not?” My only response was that I simply had no peace about it. Little did we know that right around the corner God was about to ask me to quit my job to be a stay-at-home mom. Without my income we could not afford the expense of a larger home.
What I learned in the next sixteen years of my prayer apprenticeship with God, and applying that wisdom retrospectively, I would have approached the whole house hunting issue very differently.
First of all, I never prayed about whether God wanted us to build our dream home in the first place. That was my main mistake. Many times we assume that God wants us to have what we want for ourselves, especially if we have the money in the bank to pay for it.
When we pray for wisdom, we have to ask ourselves, “Am I making any assumptions without checking if that is God’s will?” Put first things first. “God, do You want us to ______(buy a larger home)?” Then sort out the order of the other questions. The next question would be, “Is this Your timing?” Then ask about cost, location, etc.
It is best to ask one question at a time. Be careful not to combine two questions together. For example I recently prayed with a couple who were invited to visit a single male friend. Instead of asking, “Lord, do you want them to go?” I separated the question into two distinct queries by first asking if the husband should go and then asking if the wife was to go along as well. This eliminated any confusion as to God’s will for each of them.
Word your questions as simply as possible rather than embedding them in long sentences. For example: “Lord, do you want us to change our health insurance carrier?” Rather than, “Lord, we really don’t like our health insurance and it’s costing us a lot of money and Suzy needs new braces and we don’t know whether to get them now or next year, but we just need your wisdom.” God might be silent on that second prayer because there are two questions embedded in one and any answer might be confusing.
* Ask yourself, "Am I making any assumptions?" before asking for God's wisdom.
* Put your questions in simple sentences.
* Be sure to ask about God's timing.
* Order your questions in a logical sequence.
I go into further detail on how to ask God questions in my book, Seven Secrets to Power Praying, as well as what to do when God is silent.