I had a conversation a number of years ago with my good friend Bucky Dennis. We were taking a prayer walk together and I was wrestling with a decision; I was anxious about choosing the “right” path. Bucky listened with great compassion and when I ran out of words he told me a story he’d read recently:

The great teacher of ethics John Kavanaugh visited Mother Teresa while working for three months at her “house of the dying” in Calcutta. He was seeking clarity from God on the direction for his future. She asked him, “What can I do for you?”

He asked, “Pray that I have clarity.”

Mother Teresa said firmly, “No. I will not do that.” He was surprised and asked her why. She explained, “Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of.”

Taken aback, he said, “But you seem to have clarity from God.”

Mother Teresa laughed, “I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you trust God.” (Brendan Manning tells this story in Ruthless Trust on page 5.)

Trust in God vs. Seeking Clarity

Trust. Not clarity. Trust in God with you when you’re not sure what the best decision is. That is the best wisdom for seeking God’s will.

Of course, it’s a blessing when we do have clarity, but often we don’t and striving for clarity puts our attention off of the greatest blessing of all which is that the risen Christ is in our midst right now, wonderfully at work, and we can join his work, learning from him and loving the people around us in his name.

Dallas Willard writes, “Many people seek to hear God solely as a device for securing their own safety, comfort, and righteousness” (Hearing God, p. 28). When we’re obsessing about getting clarity from God on a decision we may be using him as a device rather than worshiping him as Divine. Trusting God is a risk that throws us on his mercy. It means clinging to him in love and finding that he is enough, more than enough! Being with the Lord Jesus Christ in God’s kingdom we have every reason to be happy!

Abraham Ventured on God

I often remind myself of Abraham’s trust in God. “By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. When he left he had no idea where he was going. By an act of faith he lived in the country promised him, lived as a stranger camping in tents… Abraham did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city with real, eternal foundations—the City designed and built by God.” (Hebrews 11:8-10, MSG).

Don’t think Abraham’s faith was a “blind leap” in the dark! His venturing into the unknown was based on his knowing the unseen Lord in the unseen city. He appreciated the Lord’s company and he knew to follow him step-by-step. His faith-trust was based on rock solid spiritual knowledge of the eternal God.

Lord God, we worship you as the one who is good and beautiful, all-wise and wonderful. Just being with you on our life’s journey is our joy! Teach us what it means to follow you in the trust of Abraham: he didn’t know the way to the Promised Land, but he he knew that you were with him. Lacking clarity, he trusted you and followed you one step at a time. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

For further consideration on trusting God with your decisions you can try our Lectio Divina Guide, “Join Abraham’s Pilgrimage of Faith.” Our Scripture meditation guides are free, one page sheets designed for individual devotions, small groups, and sharing with a friend.

11 responses to “Praying for Clarity From God?

  • This was a divine appointment for me, I have been praying for this for so long.
    I have been suffering with depression and anxiety for along time and it is telling me, that no matter what I go through I can make it regardless fo my outcomes.
    This last attack with my depression and anxiety, I have been having a hard time remembering somethings and I know that with time it will all get better.
    And this is where my trust comes in to affect, am I going to put my faith and trust in the Lord and not allow the enemy to take charge of this journey.
    Through out the many years, I’ve been with the LORD, he has been showing me that with out our trust in him, our life would be emptie, and that we would be going through the motions of our own belief not his, when we go by our own sight we lose sight of his purpose.
    So yes, even though life may seem a little hard at times, I know that my trust in him, must continue.

  • This is such a good article our Marriage is unclear right now. God please guide us in this difficult times. Let me and my husband trust you and follow you one step at a time. In Jesus name we pray. Amen

    • Lord, we pray for Nancy and her marriage. We ask for your guidance and peace during this difficult time in Jesus name. Amen.

  • I just prayed for clarity. I decided to look up a website that would help me with advice i so graciously need. I assume when you have trust you don’t need any proof to make a decision about what is yet to come. Pray for me !!!

  • Greetings, Bill. I only recently read this post, but wanted you to know that the words described my thoughts so well, that I wanted you to know the impression that Holy Spirit made through your/His words there. So well, in fact, that I would like to share your post in my own blog (https://wideopengrace.wordpress.com/), along with a link to your blog and the reasons I believe it meant a lot to me. There isn’t much there, but I enjoy “getting things out” through posting. I haven’t shared it yet, but would ask for your approval first. Thank you.

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