George Mueller, a nineteenth century English pastor who was known for his life of prayer and his close walk with God, once shared this simple method for determining Godâ€™s will through prayer and the Word:
- I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter.
- Having done this. I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions.
- I seek the Will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with the Word of God . . . If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.
- Next I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate Godâ€™s Will in connection with His Word and Spirit.
- I ask God in prayer to reveal His Will to me outright.
- Thus, (1) though prayer to God, (2) the study of the Word, and (3) reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge, and if my mind is thus at peace and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly.
To those who are suffering, for whatever circumstance, and are struggling to discern Godâ€™s will through the suffering, I offer this thought from Mother Teresa in The Best Gift Is Love: Meditations by Mother Teresa:
â€œI wonder what the world would be like if there were not innocent people making reparation for us all? Today the Passion of Christ is being relived in the lives of those who suffer.Â To accept that suffering is a gift of God. Suffering is not a punishment.Â Suffering is a gift, though, like all gifts, it depends on how we receive it.Â And that is why we need a pure heart â€” to see the hand of God, to feel the hand of God, to recognize the gift of God in our suffering.Â Suffering is not a punishment.Â Jesus does not punish.Â Suffering is a sign, a sign that we have come so close to Jesus on the cross that he can kiss us, show that he is in love with us by giving us an opportunity to share in his Passion.Â Suffering is not a punishment, nor a fruit of sin; it is a gift of God.Â He allows us to share in his suffering and to make up for the sins of the world.â€
â€œWhether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, â€˜This is the way, walk in itâ€™â€ (Isaiah 30:21).
May you find peace in your walk today â€” through prayer, through scripture, and through your contemplative thoughts with God.