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Affluent Christian Investor | October 22, 2017

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Knowing God’s Will

St. Aldhelm's Church, Stained glass window (Photo by Carl Whitehouse) (CC BY-SA) (Resized/Cropped)

St. Aldhelm’s Church, Stained glass window (Photo by Carl Whitehouse) (CC BY-SA) (Resized/Cropped)

Earlier this year, I fasted for 34 days. I had one purpose in mind, and that was to discover the will of God for my life. I had several options that seemed like they were available to me and that doors were opening. I didn’t want any door, but the one(s) that God has prepared for me according to Ephesians 2:8-10:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

During this time, I simplified my prayer life to this one thing: “Lord, I will do You want me to do, You want me to do it.” I made a commitment to do God’s will I knew what it was, according to the truth that is found in John 7:17. When Jesus was asked how anyone can know God’s will, He responded, “Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.”

I have found that when I surrender my “veto” over God’s will before I know what it is, then He will, indeed He must, reveal to me what His will is. If anyone chooses to know, he or she will know. If you choose to know, you will know, but you must overcome the fear of what the answer will be. And that’s why we can hesitate to pray that all-in prayer.

When we pray “whatever” prayers, that is a serious commitment to trust the Lord, because we don’t know what He will say. When you pray, “God, I will do whatever You want,” it isn’t a very good prayer. It sounds spiritual, but it is couched in fear. The complete and more effective prayer is, “God, I will do whatever you want. What is it?” Do you see the difference? One sounds spiritual but stops short of asking the question. The second is a prayer of faith, for God may reveal that it’s time to move on, move out, or move in–and that’s scary, no matter how spiritual you are.

How did God answer my prayer? It is still being revealed, but one thing that came clear is that God wants me back in prison ministry! I was deeply involved in that ministry from 1989 to 1993, but I have only dabbled in it since then. This year, I have already been in a prison setting three times, with more invitations coming. That has been a surprise. I am also involved in developing a curriculum to be used in prison settings that helps the inmates move beyond salvation into discipleship in preparation for when they come back home.

The other thing that has become obvious is that I am to help others write and produce their creative projects. Right now, I am involved in about 12 writing projects, plus two of my own. My travels have curtailed, and I find myself writing for hours every day – which is a dream come true! Once I got over my fear of how God would support us, I was free to give myself to work that God brings my way.

By the way, there were some attractive doors that looked promising in January, but they have slammed shut since then. That is the very reason I was praying, so that I would know God’s will. Once I found it, however, I must do it, for Jesus said in John 13:17, “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”

Do you want to know God’s will? Then ask Him to show you what it is:

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. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do (James 1:5-8).

If you want to know God’s will, then ask and keep on asking. Thank God for His will before He shows you what it is, and be prepared for some changes once He shows you what to do. The most difficult part of doing God’s will can be finding it, for it is in that stage that you confront your fears. Once you do that, there is an exciting journey ahead that will fulfill your heart’s desires, but only if you commit to the process before you know what it is exactly. Have a blessed week.


Originally posted on The Monday Memo.

John Stanko was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and attended Duquesne University where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics in 1972 and 1974 respectively.

Since then, John has served as an administrator, teacher, consultant, author, and pastor in his professional career. He holds a second master’s degree in pastoral ministries, and earned his Doctor of Ministry from Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh in 2011.

John founded a personal and leadership development company, called PurposeQuest, in 2001 and today travels the world to speak, consult and inspire leaders and people everywhere. From 2001-2008, he spent six months a year in Africa and still enjoys visiting and working on that continent, while teaching for Geneva College’s Masters of Organizational Leadership and the Center for Urban Biblical Ministry in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Most recently, John founded Urban Press, a publishing service designed to tell stories of the city, from the city and to the city.


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