“I Prayed About It, and Therefore I Am Infallible”

Impressions alone are not a safe guide to duty. The enemy often persuades men to believe that it is God who is guiding them, when in reality they are following only human impulse. But if we watch carefully, and take counsel with our brethren, we shall be given an understanding of the Lord’s will; for the promise is, “The meek will He guide in judgment: and the meek will He teach His way.” Psalm 25:9. {Acts of the Apostles 279.2}

Proverbs 11:14 – Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.

I don’t know if you have encountered this before, or done this, but sometimes I run into people who maintain something close to the idea (whether they mean to or not) that because they prayed about the decision, God is therefore leading them and their decision is infallible.  Then you look at their decision and are pretty sure that God didn’t lead them to make that exact one.  This gets tricky, because if you question their decision, it’s like their entire spiritual experience is being questioned.  Even though it looks like they made an emotional or expedient or convenient decision, “I prayed about it, therefore I have the Holy Spirit, therefore I am infallible, so don’t question me oh thou non-spiritual one.”

I have had friends commit to projects, say that God had led them there, and then when they found that it got hard, and something else came along that they really wanted to do, reneged on their promise to stick the original thing out because, “Can’t you see that God opened up another door for me?  It’s God’s will.”  Did I miss something?  When you told me it was God’s will the first time around, did He change His mind?  Or sometimes someone has a decision coming up, and it’s clear the decision that they need to make, but they need to ‘pray about it.’  So they pray and pray and pray, hoping that God gives them an out so they don’t have to do what it is that they know they need to.  And then a convenient opportunity comes along that they like, so they opt out of what they were really supposed to do.  I’ve done that one before.  Then there are those who pray and pray and pray for God’s direction before they make a decision, and then never make any decision because they didn’t get a ‘thus sayeth the Lord.”

I think it’s a question of how God helps us make decisions.

The majority of the time God doesn’t give us divine epiphanies.  He asks us to pray for wisdom because He expects us to use our brains.  He asks us to counsel with others because our own hearts are deceitful.  He asks us to pray for wisdom so that we can have discernment.  He gives us the Bible so that we can incorporate its principles in our lives.  Pray for these things, Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you.  And when you have prayed for all these things, even though it’s not going to feel like anything changed the vast majority of the time, feelings don’t have a lot to do with it.  Believe that you received what you asked for and it’s yours.

But please don’t base decisions on your emotions.  “But I really just felt that God was leading me in that direction.”  Is it getting in the way of something you already know you are supposed to do?  Do your spiritual friends agree with your decision after praying?  Please understand that using principles and asking wise counselors does not mean that you are doubting God after you have prayed.  Really, it is using the tools that God has already give you to answer the question.  Then we make a decision to the best of our ability, knowing that God can lead us and help us to grow, even if we didn’t make the exact most perfect decision that was ultimately possible.  Life is about learning how to make good decisions, and it’s one of the main lessons God is teaching us here on earth.

12 thoughts on ““I Prayed About It, and Therefore I Am Infallible”

  1. Sounds a lot like a chapter in the “Bible Worker Manual” book we were talking about that needs to be written :)

  2. Great article. ;-) Thank you. I also thought I’d add that in my experience it has been important for me to have no will of my own in the matter that I’m praying about. I need to be totally willing to go either direction if the Lord wills. I need to have a commitment to obedience not convenience. I also believe that godly counsel and seeing what the Bible says is also important. If I know that what I’m praying is in line God’s will but I’m not sure if it’s His will for me specifically (like with an occupation, etc.), I will seek counsel, of course, but also pray for open and closed doors. If we’re not hiding any sin and we have no will of our own in the matter then there is no reason why God wouldn’t answer that prayer. It has also been my experience that as I walk through an open door (that I’ve prayed about) that God will often confirm that decision afterwards. Anyway, just thought I’d share my thoughts. Thanks again!

  3. I have heard this in church board meetings, when one member wants a certain thing done, they will say, “God impressed me that this is what should be done”, and they will not be reasoned with or listen to the other members. It is very frustrating! And the person often gets his or her own way.

  4. THIS. This. This is important. I have definitely been one to be led by impressions, and have also experienced the pitfalls thereof. God does definitely lead us, but He has also given us free choice much of the time–and a mind to reason with! If we didn’t actually have free choice….was it just pretend? He guides, instructs, teaches, woos…

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