I’m going to be honest here- for a while, I was the queen of always having a prayer for guidance- and for all the wrong reasons.
It was back in 2019 that I was constantly praying for God’s guidance. I was going through some tough times, and with tough times came tough decisions. I knew I had a God that always heard me and listened to me, and I could go to Him for anything. But looking back, the way I went about it was completely wrong.
Basically, I had my plan, and my way of doing things, and I was asking God to guide me on what I didn’t realize was my path. I wanted Him along for my ride.
But let’s face it- I make really bad decisions when I do it on my own instead of following God.
When we are looking for a prayer for guidance, what we really need is to be looking for a prayer of following Jesus. Because if we can follow God, He will guide us every step of the way for His glory.
You may be wondering some of the following questions when it comes to God’s guidance:
- How do you pray for guidance and strength?
- How do I ask God for advice?
- Why should we pray for guidance?
- Who guides us in prayer?
I want to answer those questions because they are as important as prayers for guidance. If you do want to skip to the prayer that is best for you though, please check out the Table of Contents below and click on the wrong that speaks to you the most in your current season of life.
How do you pray for guidance and strength?
To pray for guidance and strength, or to pray for guidance and protection, it starts with realizing why God does things the way He does.
Isaiah 43:7 says:
“Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
God made us for the purpose of glorifying Him.
Because of that, as 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
When we pray for guidance, we are praying to have God guide us on His way instead of our own way.
Which is really hard when we don’t know the way.
However, we do know that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). We don’t have to know the way because He is the way.
That means that we are going to need to pray not only for guidance but also for strength and protection. We need to pray for the strength of only knowing in baby steps how God is guiding us, and to protect ourselves along the way.
Psalm 119:105 says “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” A lamp doesn’t light up the whole path; it simply lights up the small steps we are supposed to take.
How do I ask God for advice?
Usually, when I hear people asking God how to pray, I always hear the answer “Just do it.”
But let’s be honest, this isn’t as easy as putting on a Nike shoe.
To ask God for advice is to find the balance of being real and honest with Him, while also being in awe and reverence of what He does and what He is capable of doing.
The best solution I have found to asking God for advice is what I call the prayer sandwich.
Step One: Get all your thoughts out. This is best on paper if you are able. Write out your messy prayers. This is almost a stream of consciousness activity, where you just lay out who you really are and how messy life is.
Step Two: Pray to focus on reading God’s word, and ask Him to speak to you through His word. Ask Him to lay thoughts on your heart to make the words go from the page to the Living Word of God.
Then, read your Bible. It doesn’t matter where- God will find a way to speak to you. And even if He doesn’t, simply being in God’s word can provide a sense of peace and calmness.
Step Three: Pray again. For this activity, paper is still best. Write out your prayers to God. Be in awe of who He is and what He is doing for your life.
If you look at what you wrote in step one versus step three, most likely it is a stark contrast from each other.
This activity has helped me many times to find God’s peace in the chaos and to help me build my prayer life so I can get God’s advice on tough subjects.
Why should we pray for guidance?
The reason that we should pray for guidance is not to better our path, but to align ourselves with God’s will and God’s path to glorify Him.
Life can get really sticky when we try to do things our own way.
Back in 2019, I found myself often praying for God to come alongside me. I thought I was praying for guidance constantly, but asking God to guide my dreams and plans isn’t really guidance at all.
It was January 1, 2020, right as the New Year rang in, that I surrendered myself to God and asked for His will instead of mine.
Life has never been the same since.
At first, life was really good. God answered one prayer of mine after another, and answered in bigger and better ways than I could ever imagine.
But then, life got hard. Because following Jesus is never easy.
However, by praying for guidance, and following God every step of the way, no matter how hard, I have deepened and strengthened my life with Christ in ways that I could have never imagined before.
For more on my wild journey of praying God’s will in 2020, check out my letter to my unborn son.
Who guides us in prayer?
When praying a prayer for guidance, the answer to who guides us in prayer depends on who you and I are letting guide us in prayer.
Because before, my answer would have been me. I was the one directing the ship and guiding the prayer.
But now, I look to the Holy Spirit, or God inside of me, to shape my prayer life.
John 16:13 says,
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”
This means that we need to ask God inside of us for guidance of the truth when we pray. The Holy Spirit only speaks what is from God. This means we have to dig deep to find that still, small voice, that speaks God’s power and truth to us.
Prayer for Guidance By Category
Short Prayer for Guidance
The shortest prayer for guidance is also one of the most dangerous prayers. It is a bible verse from Psalm 139. If you memorize this short prayer though, you will always be asking God to search you and reveal to you where you need to be guided personally to receive God’s glory.
The short prayer from Psalm 139:23-24 is this:
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Try praying that short prayer every day. It will be uncomfortable at first, but God never wastes a prayer. The benefits this prayer brings are enormous and never-ending.
Prayer for direction
Lord, I heard somewhere once that it took one night to get the Israelites out of Egypt, but it took 40 years to get Egypt out of the Israelites.
Help me to not need 40 years, but to lean into your path and your ways as soon as you call me.
Help me find direction not in this world, but in navigating my journey to the afterlife and bringing others with me too.
I know I am going to need constant direction and guidance from you; it will not be a one-time event. Help me lean into you continually as I make progress each day of growing my faith in following you. Amen.
Prayer for wisdom
James 1:5 says, “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.”
So going to God in prayer for wisdom is one of the best ways you can ask for guidance!
When you are praying for wisdom, there is a great way to know if the wisdom you gain is from God or not.
James 3:17 says:
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”
We made an infographic below for you to save to help see if the wisdom you are being provided with is heavenly.
Here is a prayer for wisdom for your day:
Lord, we know from your words that it is better to get wisdom than gold, and it is better to get insight rather than silver (Proverbs 16:16). Please Lord, fill me with your wisdom today. Give me small ways of knowing Your truth and the way you want me to live, and the choices that you want me to make. Help me discern what is your voice versus the voices of others. Guide me to always be focused on you and living for your will instead of mine. Amen.
Prayer for Guidance When Life is Rough
When life gets rough, it is hard for us to be guided on the right path. Things tend to get distorted and confusing when life is hard, and so many situations are arising and hitting us at the same time. However, God is peace.
God wants things for our good because he loves us, and also glorify his name. God wants to guide us through these hard times. We wrote the prayer below to help anyone that is going through a hard time:
Dear God, life seems to be unbearable right now. When life is too much, that is where I need guidance the most. However, it is hard to even keep my head on straight with so much going on around me. Please help me settle in your peace. Help me find the stillness of you in a wild world. Help me take small steps towards you, and give me grace as I work on those steps. Amen.
Prayer for Uncertainties
A lot of times we look for a prayer for guidance because our life is uncertain. Maybe we are in the waiting game of knowing what comes next. Make sure you take time to celebrate the fact that you were looking to God when life is uncertain instead of the world.
Lord, I don’t know why life is the way it is. Everything that I once thought was certain in my life doesn’t seem certain anymore. However, there is only one thing in this life that is for certain and it is you, and your goodness. You are so good to me, no matter what the world brings. When Jesus said that he offers us rest, it didn’t mean that life would be easy. It meant that I could rest in you because of who you are and that you’re the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Help me to live like you and love like you in a world that is uncertain. In your name I pray, Amen.
Morning prayer for guidance
Some amazing morning prayers for guidance come straight from scripture. They are short and easy to memorize and would be a great way to start your day.
An example of a simple morning prayer for guidance would be praying the words from Psalm 143:8:
“Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”
If you can memorize that one line prayer, it is a great way to orient yourself toward God every morning.
Two other Bible verses you can prepare in the morning are as follows:
O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch (Psalm 5:3)
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
Those are some great simple ways to start your morning!
Bible Verses About God’s Guidance
Not only is it important to have a prayer for guidance (or multiple prayers), but it is important to be rooted in scripture that provides guidance about guidance (see what I did there?).
We found eight fantastic Bible verses about God’s guidance. A large amount of them come from Psalms. If you want to learn more about praying the Psalms, please click here.
- Psalm 23:3 He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
- Psalm 25:5 Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
- Psalm 25:9 He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.
- Psalm 31:3 Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
- Psalm 48:14 For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.
- Proverbs 11:3 The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.
- Isaiah 49:10 They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water.
- Matthew 15:14 Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.
Bible verses about light and guidance
A lot of times the Bible talks about “light” as guidance
- John 8:12 “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
- Exodus 10:23 during the plagues with the Israelites and Egyptians, it was dark for 3 days but the Israelites had the light to move around
- When God led them Exodus 13:21 By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.
- 2 Samuel 22:29 You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light.
- Psalm 18:28 You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.
- Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Jesus’ first instructions were “follow me”, and it’s still the same today. To be a follower of Jesus doesn’t mean guidance for our own decisions; it is instead how to be guided to best follow him.
God does not only do this for His glory. He also does it for the love He has for us.
John 15:15 says:
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
God loves us and wants to be our friend. But He also is our Savior. In almost every story, God had the plan and they just needed to follow him. We don’t have to have it all figured out.
What is your prayer for guidance now that you have read this? Let us know below!
Jessie Synan is a Master’s student in Theological Studies who helps other women find their prayer focus in a distracting world. She went from her ADHD interfering with her prayer life to finding her own unique rhythms for prayer and encouraging other women to do the same. She is the founder of Pray With Confidence, which has helped over 5000 women focus on prayer through the real and vulnerable advice she gives to those on her email list when they sign up for the free guide “How to pray [when you can’t focus.]”
Tuesday 21st of September 2021
Is your wisdom heavenly? Wow!! That's a thought to work through. Testing what sounds right against what IS right. Whew!