Prayer: How to Know if You’ve Heard from God
Can You Confirm Divine Guidance?
“Regardless of how or why we pray, the answers to prayers almost always involve guidance because, in one form or another, God has already supplied everything we need. But to have it, we must claim it, first in mind and then in the outer world. That means that after we realize that the good we seek is present, we usually must perform some outward acts to connect ourselves with it” (Hasbrouck).
Hasbrouck opens the 10th chapter of her powerful Handbook of Positive Prayer with these words. Each of us wants to know whether we have received divine guidance or simply heard our own inner voice. How can we be sure that we are not simply hearing what we want to hear?
The Purpose of Divine Guidance
As a human race, we have developed (and continue to develop) systems that help us understand what to choose and how to choose. In fact, no matter what course of study you pursue, every lesson essentially helps you understand how to make the best choice(s) to bring about the greatest success possible.
Want to care for the sick? Every course teaches you what choices to make to best care for the sick. Want to build airplanes? Every course shows you what choices to make to build the best airplane. The essence of every educational system is to teach you what and how to choose.
Here’s the challenge: Established systems for making choices cannot account for what has never been done before. And, you and I were not put here to simply do what has been done. We each have a divine assignment that has never been done before.
Therefore, we need a system for choosing that positions us to fulfill that assignment.
Within us are books unwritten, songs unsung, gadgets unmanifested, and feats unaccomplished. Every decision draws us closer or moves us further way from fulfilling that assignment. Divine Guidance shows us how to choose our way to full self-expression.
Divine Guidance positions us to do what has never been done before.
Standards for Divine Guidance
Hasbrouck points to James 3:17 as the standard for divine guidance: But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity.
She goes on to say that this passage means “that the guidance of God is free of selfish motives (pure); promotes harmony (peaceable); is considerate and courteous (gentle); allows for discussion, can be modified, and is ultimately logical (open to reason); is compassionate (full of mercy); ultimately serves the best interest of everyone (good fruits), and is impartial, straightforward, free of doubt, and honest (without uncertainty and insincerity).”
Weigh every decision against this standard. We live, move and have our being in a highly efficient universe. Every thought we think sows a need, every action we take compels a result, and every reaction we give sets up a cycle. We may feel sometimes that it does not matter what we do. But it does. Everything we do moves us closer or draws us further away from full self-expression.
The seeds of your future self lie in the simple actions you take every day.
Methods for Confirming Divine Guidance
Hasbrouck lays out four methods for confirming divine guidance.
Take specific outer action. “Almost always, the first outward step required to follow guidance is rather easily accomplished” (Hasbrouck). The ease with which you move forward (or not) can confirm for you that the direction you feel led to take is the right action or the wrong action.
Check your gut. Some years ago, someone I cared about very deeply asked me a simple yes or no question that would’ve taken our relationship to the next level. Even as I was being asked the question, my stomach became queasy. I knew without a shadow of doubt that a yes answer was the absolute wrong direction. “Most of us experience certain feelings that tell us that what we are doing is right” (Hasbrouck).
Pray about it. “Ask in prayer to be given two signals — one that will always mean ‘yes’ and one that will always mean ‘no’” (Hasbrouck). She recommends making this request when there is nothing on the line. Therefore, you will feel no pressure to produce an answer and it can emerge within you naturally.
Often, when we do not immediately know what to do, the right answer feels far away. Let us always remember that Spirit has the answer and we cannot be separated from Spirit. Therefore, we already have the answer within us.
Find a quiet place and affirm silently or aloud: I am now quiet enough to hear Spirit guide me to the right course of action. In a very short period of time, you will either receive explicit instructions on what to do, or circumstances will begin to configure themselves for the right outcome.
Choose a signal for “yes.” UP Church member and friend Chaz Dean shares the story of finding his present salon location. His prayer and meditation led him to a rundown area of Hollywood. He finds a property where a homeless woman had been living. Uncertain that this property was the right place to bring his tony clientele, he asks God to give him “signs of spirituality.”
As they returned to the proposed location for a second look, Chaz’s friend said aloud, “If this is the property for us, then that homeless woman (who’d been asleep on the previous visit) will be sitting up smoking a cigarette.” Chaz admonished his friend for such a strange sign. But when they got to the property, the homeless woman was, in fact, sitting up, smoking a cigarette.
As they toured the location once more, Chaz asked the woman her name and she responded “Spirit.” So, both he and his friend received confirmation in the way they both needed. See the video below for greater detail on this fascinating story of listening for and following divine guidance.
The Skinny on Divine Guidance
Bottom line: every decision you make matters. “The truth is, you have complete control over the direction that the rest of your life takes” (The Slight Edge). You are becoming that which you habitually do everyday. If you want to fulfill your divine assignment, then you need a way to know that the thing you are doing right now is the thing that will draw you closer to the fulfillment of your divine assignment.
Only divine guidance can confirm whether the choice you are making in this moment right now is doing that. No person can give you the confirmation that you are taking the right steps. You and I must make time to get in touch with Spirit and ask for that divine guidance.
The future of the planet rides on the decisions we make. Sound like a bold statement? Consider this story from Claude Bristol’s The Magic of Believing:
How Divine Guidance Ended Slavery in America
Another example, and one of the most outstanding, is the story of how Uncle Tom’s Cabin came into existence. It will be recalled that it was written by a wisp of a woman, Harriet Beecher Stowe, whose name will be remembered as long as there is American history.
In 1850, Mrs. Stowe swore a solemn oath that she would write something ‘that would make the whole nation feel the accursed thing slavery is.’ For two months she tried in vain to think of the story which was later to shake the world.
In February, 1851, while she was attending communion service at the college church, there came to her mind the picture of Uncle Tom and of his death. According to the story, Mrs. Stowe went home in tears and when she had written out the scene of Uncle Tom’s death and read it to her family, they, too, were in tears.
She did a great deal of research work in trying to secure factual material, but when she actually sat down to write, she needed none of it. The story obsessed her and literally wrote itself. Out of her subconscious mind surged long-forgotten memories and photographic impressions, which arranged themselves almost automatically in proper sequence on paper.
Mrs. Stowe didn’t think out these incidents and their background, she actually saw them; and while in her time little was known of the subconscious mind, it is obvious that it was the source of this story, which many claim brought on the War Between the States. Mrs. Stowe to her dying day insisted that it was God and not sure who had written this book.
What Are You Waiting For?
The Spirit has a game changer It wants to bring into expression through you. Within you are books unwritten, songs unsung, gadgets un-manifested and feats unaccomplished. Will you be bold enough to be quiet enough to hear divine guidance?
In the comments below, let me know the thing you are seeking guidance on. I’d like to stand in agreement with you that you now have the answer you seek. That which you will bring forward into expression will not just improve your life, it will improve my life as well.