As you get older, there may be times when you have to make major life decisions fairly quickly. At the same time, you don't want to make a decision you'll regret or that may not be right for you and your life.
That's why it's important to do your best to listen for God and to hear his voice and guidance in your life.
There are different ways to listen to God's will, and you can begin to implement them in your life right away. Here are some options you can try at home or while living at one of the assisted living communities under the Bethesda Senior Living Communities umbrella.
"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." — Mark 11:24
The first thing to do to begin listening for God's will is to believe that God wants to speak to you. If you don't believe the Lord will speak with you or has the intention to give you guidance, you may be shut off from the signs all around you. Be open to listening to and looking for signs from God as your first step toward hearing his will.
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." — Matthew 7:7
Now that you've established that you're willing to listen or look for God's will in your life, you need to bring your concerns to him. Practice listening prayer, which is a prayer in which you specifically ask God to guide you.
During your prayer, you need to learn to wait. Give your prayer time and sit in silence while you wait to hear what God is trying to say to you. Many prayers last 10 minutes (or even longer) to give you time to listen to what God is saying to you and to give you a clearer picture of what his plan is for your life.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” — Isaiah 55:8
There's a reason people say God works in mysterious ways. His response isn't always what you think it should be, and it may not be what you expect.
It's sometimes difficult to figure out God's intentions for you. That's where keeping good notes can come in and support your connection with the Lord.
After or while you pray and wait to hear a response, write down any ideas, thoughts, Scripture, impressions or images you see or hear. Sometimes, you may only get a small piece of the message and need to work through what you were presented with after your prayer session to discern the meaning.
It's a good idea to get into the habit of journaling because you never know when God may speak to you. This is particularly important while you're in the process of prayer, but you may want to keep a journal with you throughout your day while you work through your questions, concerns and problems.
If you don't enjoy writing, consider that God may speak with you in other ways, such as through artwork or things that are happening around you. You can still keep track of signs you've seen or things that have come up in conversation that apply to your situation, understanding that they might be a part of God's response to your prayer.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” — 2 Timothy 3:16
Another option for getting into a conversation with God is to use the Bible. Reading the Bible helps engage your mind and draws attention to concepts that may be applicable in your situation.
Combine your Bible sessions with meditation to think about what you're reading and the truths they speak to you. God may be drawing your attention to certain passages that could be helpful as you try to decide what to do about your question.
Finally, consider that God may not come to you in your waking hours. In Job 33:15, the Bible states that God may speak "...in a dream, in a vision of the night."
For some, the greatest messages come during sleep. The Lord may provide you with dreams containing the answers you're looking for, giving you the opportunity to make decisions after sleeping on the questions you've asked.
You may have major decisions to make, but God is always listening. Whether you pray, ask questions or connect through reading the Bible, these steps can help you calm yourself and listen for the will of God before making life-changing decisions.