How To Discern God’s Will

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Describe a time in your life when you faced a difficult or confusing decision. What was difficult about it? What emotions did you experience?


Summary: God wants to give us wisdom and insight on the large and small decisions we face in our lives.

Jesus’ brother James wrote the following words to some Jewish Christians of his day: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5). James makes it clear that God will give us wisdom if we ask for it. God’s answers to our “wisdom prayers” take several forms, however.  Let’s take a look to see how he guides us.

God gives us direction through his Word.

Read Psalm 119:105.

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”


  • How does God use Scripture inform our decisions?
  • What level of priority would you give to Scripture in your decision-making?

God gives us direction through prayer.

Read Philippians 4:6.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”


  • How have you seen God give guidance through prayer?
  • How does prayer relieve the anxiety involved in decision-making?

God gives us direction through godly counsel.

Read Proverbs 15:22.

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”


  • How could you gain insight about God’s will through counsel from others?
  • From what kind of person would you seek counsel?

God gives us direction through circumstances.

Read Romans 1:10-13.

“In my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.  I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.”


  • How have you seen God give guidance through your circumstances?
  • Have you ever seen God confirm a decision you’ve made after the fact?

God gives us direction through our surrendered desires.

Read Psalm 37:4.

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”


  • What do you think it means to “delight in the Lord”?
  • How has God used your delight in him to give you the desires of your heart?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of relying on your desires?

God wants us to use Spirit-filled reasoning and wisdom to make decisions.

Note: To learn more about being filled with the Spirit go through the lesson How to be Filled with the Holy Spirit.

Read Philippians 2:13.

“For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

Discuss: What do you think it means to be Spirit-filled?

Read Proverbs 14:8,15.

“The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.”
“The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps.”


  • What insight do these verses provide in making decisions?
  • How does it feel knowing that God allows you to ultimately make your own decisions?

Wrap up and Discuss:

  • Share about an area(s) in which you desire to know God’s will.
  • What have you already done to seek his will?
  • What do you want to start doing to discern God’s will for your life?

Pray: In light of what we’ve discussed, how can we pray for each other right now?


Since we last met, what happened as a result of expressing Christ’s love to others?

How can you, or we, express Christ’s love to others this week? (Ask God to bring someone to mind.)

Here are a few ideas:

  • Pray God would meet their deepest needs.
  • Help meet a felt need they have.
  • Encourage them with a text, note or verbally.
  • Give them a thoughtful gift or buy them coffee.
  • Invite them to do something fun or meaningful.
  • Listen to their story.
  • Explore their thoughts on the gospel.

All Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc."

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