Dear Dr. Graham:
A friend of mine always prays when she’s facing a decision, even a very small one. I guess that’s OK, but didn’t God give us the ability to think things through on our own? Why spend time praying about something, if it’s already obvious what we ought to do?
— Mrs. L.O’D.
Dear Mrs. L.O’D.: My answer may surprise you — but in some ways both you and your friend are right. Let me explain.
First, think about your friend for a moment. Why does she pray about everything — even seemingly insignificant things? The reason, I suspect, is because she wants to do God’s will in everything. To put it another way, she doesn’t want to do anything that might be wrong or displeasing to God — and I commend her for that. I often think of Paul’s admonition: “Pray continually ... for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18).
But you’re also right that God has given us our minds, and it’s not wrong to think about our problems and try to find solutions for them. Luke decided to write about Jesus’ life because “it seemed good to me ... to write to you an orderly account” (Luke 1:3, NKJV). Repeatedly the book of Proverbs urges us to approach our problems with wisdom.
The problem, however, is that our knowledge is limited; even when we think we know what’s right, we often don’t. Only God sees the whole picture, and that’s why we need to turn to him and seek his guidance. If you have never done so, turn to Jesus Christ and open your heart and life to him. Don’t let pride get in the way, but humbly ask him to guide your every step. You may not always be aware of his presence, but he still promises to guide you.