“Who is able to advise the Spirit of the Lord? Who knows enough to be his teacher or counselor? Has the Lord ever needed anyone’s advise? Does he need instruction about what is good or what is best?” Isaiah 40:13-14 (NLT)

As I read this passage this morning I was struck at how often I am guilty of “giving the Lord advise” in my prayers. Does He need my advise? Obviously not. Does He need my counsel? Somehow, I don’t think so!

I’m very thankful that we have a God who regularly overlooks my poor choice of wording when I pray, that He sees my heart instead of just hearing my words. Sometimes I mispeak and God hears the good in my heart instead of the poorly worded request that comes from my lips. If I’m honest with myself, though, I know that there are other times when I’ve “cleaned up” the words I speak but the sentiment of my heart truly is to manipulate or “instruct” God in what needs to happen in a given situation. How arrogant of me!

Have you ever prayed “Lord, please help this other person ____________________” (fill in the blank), when what you mean in your heart is “Lord, let this person do what I want them to do”? Were you secretly trying to give God instructions or counsel about what He should do? You may have convinced yourself that you were praying what’s best for that person, yet what you were really praying was the equivalent of giving God instructions.

Although I often fail, I try to pray Scripture rather than solutions. Once while teaching on this subject I was asked the following question: “I have a friend who is about to lose his job. Shouldn’t I pray for him to keep his job?” My response was that while we know that it’s God’s will for the man to provide for his family, we don’t know that it is God’s will for him to have that particular job. As we learned more about the situation it became clear that the friend was in jeopardy of losing his job because his boss was asking him to do unethical things and he was refusing. In the midst of the crisis of needing to provide for his family both he and his friends were losing sight of the fact that God may have orchestrated these circumstances to move him into a new position. If I had prayed that he not lose his job, I might have been praying against the will of God. Rather, if I prayed that God would enable him to continue to provide for his family, enable him to see the “way out” (1 Cor 10:13) of this situation, continue to teach him His ways and conform him to the image of Christ, I would clearly be praying in God’s will.

This doesn’t always come easy for me. I’m a person who seeks solutions. It’s the way my mind works. I see or hear of a problem and my mind immediately begins to brainstorm solutions. It’s one of the ways I tend to be more like men than women. When women share problems with their husbands they are often frustrated because their husbands go into “fixit” mode immediately instead of just listening and being compassionate. I am more like that husband. When I hear a problem I automatically go into “fixit” mode. I’ve had to train myself to listen longer and then make my suggestions in a milder way than comes naturally to me. (I am admittedly better at this sometimes than at other times.)

This personality trait serves me well in many areas of my life. But it’s totally inappropriate in my relationship with God. God doesn’t need me to offer suggestions about how to solve a problem. He has already put the solution in motion. Scripture teaches us that He is always at work in our circumstances, past, present and future. My job is to watch and to listen. If my prayers were more “watch and listen” focused, I undoubtedly would have a more Christ-like walk with the Lord. (Ouch!)

Lord, as I look to 2008, help me to NOT (advertently or inadvertently) give You advice and instructions. Your wisdom is greater.

One Response to “Got Any Advice for God?”
  1. Lisa says:


    This is really true. I do this without thinking. Even with my life I tell God what needs to happen. Thank you for helping me see this! Forgive us, Lord, for our impertinence.


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