5 Ways Prayer Can Help You Make A Decision

Decisions, decisions. If it seems like you have a lot of decisions to make, it’s because you do. One study says we make 35,000 decisions in a day! Admittedly, many of those decisions are small (Should I have cornflakes or a bagel this morning?), but we are all faced with big decisions in our lives.

Some of us are in positions of leadership at work, and have to make decisions about hiring, firing, budget cuts and other decisions that affect people’s lives greatly. Parents must make difficult decisions regarding children (public school or private?) Any adult in our culture has to make weighty decisions: Do I move to a new state for that great job? Is this the woman I want to marry? Does my elderly parent need to be moved to a nursing facility?

It’s not easy to make decisions like these. As Catholics, we are often told to “pray about it.” Many of us hope that God will take out a billboard on the side of the road that says, “Hey, you! Do this!” but it doesn’t work that way. So how can we use prayer to help us make decisions. Here are some ideas.

  1. Use prayer to help you figure out the situation. Too many times, we ourselves aren’t clear on what it is we are actually trying to decide. Say for instance that your’e trying to decide whether to send your child to public or private school. You’ve been struggling with the cost of private school. But settling down before God, in a quiet place, you begin to sort your thoughts out. Yes, finances are one issue, but you also realize that you had a great education in public schools, and you want the same for your child. Sometimes, prayer can help us figure out not only the decision, but the emotions and facts involved.
  2. Journal your prayers. For many of us, writing out our prayers can help clarify things. Seeing the words on paper, allowing ourselves to think through the decision before us, can often help with the decision. Just make sure that you are really praying as you journal, and not simply making lists or writing down ideas.
  3. Be confident about God’s plan, and ask that He help you discern His will. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that God couldn’t possibly care about whether or not we take a job three states away. He must have far bigger issues to deal with! But Jesus tells us that our Heavenly Father cares for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, yet cares so much more for us. (Matthew 6) Trust that God deeply loves you, wants the best for you, and is happy to help you make decisions.
  4. Be quiet. This is probably the hardest one for all of us! However, we cannot hear the voice of God if we are bombarded with noise. If that means driving with the radio off, getting up 30 minutes before the kids, or stepping inside a church on your lunch, then do that. Allow yourself this time with God to just listen. Be still. Hear His voice.
  5. God’s will is always good. Now, that doesn’t mean a decision won’t be tough. Telling your 13 year-old that your family is moving likely won’t be a happy moment. Theologian Peter Kreeft says we should look for love, joy and peace. If a particular decision makes us feel angry, unsettled or anxious, we should take that as a sign that we are not moving in a direction God wants.

Above all, give yourself over to God. Tell Him you seek His will and wish to do want He wants. Remember the Our Father when we pray, Thy will be done? That’s a perfect prayer for making decisions.