I recently spent an evening with some friends who shared some valuable advice about discerning God’s will. Their advice came in response to a question I posed regarding a word I received from the Lord. My question to them was this: “If I’m certain the Lord asked me to do something, should I do it even though my wife doesn’t fully see the vision and is not entirely on board?” I’d like to share with you the responses I received and provide some thoughts I’ve considered since that evening.
In response to my question, one of my friends shared a story about a time when he heard the Lord tell him to build a lake on a piece of property he owns. He could foresee baptisms happening in the lake and missionaries retreating for some rest and rejuvenation. He knew that God had amazing plans for that property and lake. The only problem was, his wife didn’t share the same vision or excitement. He moved forward with the project anyhow reasoning that God is after obedience not halfheartedness. The lake project sent ripples through their marriage, especially after it cost them four times what he had projected to his wife. He regretfully said his wife felt like she was bulldozed into the decision.
I appreciated my friends honesty. If you are a male, you know there is nothing like a seasoned man of faith speaking vulnerably with you in order to teach you a larger truth. Thankfully, his marriage is doing well and he lived to share the story. I share it with you so you’ll better understand his answer to my earlier question. His answer was simple but powerful: “Listen to your wife.”
Sometimes our plans make sense and could be God-glorifying if we work them through; however, as I leaned in, my friend further shared that timing is everything. Not our timing, but God’s. God may very well be asking you to take on a project, but if your spouse is not emotionally, spiritually, and mentally invested, your timing is probably off and some follow up prayer is needed to gain clarity around God’s instructions.
Another friend spoke up that evening and shared how he and his wife learned to pray for God’s will during their years as missionaries with YWAM. Basically, they developed a three step process.
First, they would ask God to clear the distractions from their minds. As it turns out, distractions happen even in other parts of the world. Anything that hindered them from surrendering to God had to go. One major distraction can be our own imaginations and desires. When we pray, we should set our own agendas aside for the sake of acknowledging His.
Second, they would invite the Holy Spirit into the conversation. Prayer is all about communicating with God. What better way to commune with Him than to invite the third person of the Trinity into the room while you pray?
Lastly, they would pray for protection from the schemes of Satan. They were well aware of the fact that the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). They were also aware of his lying and deceptive nature.
As part of this prayer process, my friend said he and his wife would wait on the Lord for specific answers. If they were praying about something like buying a home or some property for ministry, they would ask God precisely how much they needed to put down and when they needed to do so. They would not move forward until they both heard the same number and time.
My friends inspired me that evening and made me realize my own process for discerning God’s will could use some work, especially as it relates to my marriage.
Learning To Listen
I’m a Bible guy. I can recall having a strange reverence for the Bible long before I became a Christian. I believe the Bible is inerrant in all it teaches. Furthermore, I believe God’s authority is exercised through Scripture, meaning, what the Bible says goes.
But I’ve learned that the Bible doesn’t teach us everything there is to know. Far from it. For instance, the Bible doesn’t teach us where to live or what job to take. It doesn’t teach us who to marry or how many children to have when we get there. We must seek God on these types of issues. We should expect to hear from Him because He cares for His children.
I could use some work on hearing the Lord’s voice outside of Scripture. I know that His voice never contradicts the Bible, but I’m still not great at opening my ears like I open His word. I’m trying to pray with my wife using the process my friend shared.
I hope you can see the wisdom in what my friends had to say. God didn’t give us our spouses to beat us up and cut us down to make us more like Jesus. He gave us a partner and helper so we can better navigate the unknowns of life. Furthermore, we’re commanded to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21).
So, before jumping into a project that God has asked you to do, seek your spouse and pray with them about the process. If the Lord doesn’t place a sense of urgency in both of you, it’s possible that He didn’t speak.