How to Seek God’s Guidance

By Anne Graham Lotz   •   February 9, 2003   •   Topics: ,

Often I am asked, “Anne, I have a major decision to make. How can I know if it is in God’s will?” In response, I usually begin by explaining that when an airplane comes in to land during the night, the controller tells the pilot to line up the runway lights. When the lights are kept in a straight line, the pilot can be assured that he is landing in the center of the runway.

The Four Runway Lights
Acts 10

When you and I are making a decision “in the dark,” we also can line up the “runway lights” that assure us our decision is in the center of God’s will. The four runway lights that I use to determine God’s will in making a decision are:

1. The confirmation of God’s Word
2. My inner conviction
3. Practical circumstances
4. The counsel of godly, mature Christian friends

In Acts 10, Peter made a major decision that has affected the Church to this day. In Acts 11, Peter explained his decision to the church leaders in Jerusalem. See if you can line up his “runway lights.”

The Background
Read Acts 10. Describe in your own words the decision that Peter made that then had to be explained to the Jerusalem church leaders in Acts 11.

The Confirmation of God’s Word
Acts 11:4-10

  • What did God say to Peter that related to his decision?
  • What Bible verses or passages have come to you–during your daily devotions, Bible study or through a sermon–that relate to your decision? Make a list with references and content.
  • As you read the Scripture that you have written out, does it seem to indicate one course of action over another?

The Conviction of His Spirit
Acts 11:12

  • What phrase indicates that Peter felt deep within himself he was to make this decision?
  • What do you believe in your heart is God’s will for your situation?

The Circumstances of His Decision
Acts 11:11, 13-17

  • What practical circumstances seemed to fall into place for Peter?
  • What doors of opportunity immediately opened for him?
  • How did subsequent events confirm the decision he made?
  • Make a list of the practical circumstances surrounding your call. What doors of opportunity seem to be opening?

The Counsel of Godly Friends
Acts 11:1-3, 18

  • What counsel is implied in Acts 10:23 and also in Acts 11:12?
  • How did the initial reaction of the church leaders seem to contradict the earlier counsel and Peter’s decision?
  • After hearing Peter relate the details of his decision, what was the leaders’ final response?
  • List the names of two or three mature Christians who know you. Go over your answers to the above questions with them. Ask them to prayerfully give you wise counsel concerning your decision.

Putting It Together
Acts 10 & 11

In order to step out in faith, confident that your decision is in God’s will, you should have at least three of the four runway lights in place.

Sometimes, practical circumstances don’t seem to line up. God may be testing you, requiring you to take a step of faith before things work out. When the children of Israel crossed the Jordan River, they had to get their feet wet before the waters rolled back (Joshua 3:15-16). But if God closes the door, you cannot force it open (Revelation 3:7), so don’t try to manipulate circumstances to make your decision work.

At other times, you may be unable to discern your inner conviction, or you may not feel strongly one way or another about a specific direction. But as you begin to walk by faith, increasingly you should have a deep inner confidence that your decision is of God.

It may be that your Christian friends disagree with your decision. Or you may not know several godly people to whom you can go for wise counsel. As a result, this runway light will not line up. However, as you begin to follow through on your decision, mature Christians should confirm it.

When one of the above runway lights is missing, it is still possible to step out in faith. But the one runway light that is indispensable is the confirmation of God’s Word. You must have it–no exceptions. God’s Word can come to you in various ways: through your daily devotions or Bible study, through a sermon, through a verse that comes to mind while praying, or through searching the Scriptures specifically for it. But in order to be assured that your decision is in God’s will, you must have His Word to confirm it.

I am cautious of formulas, but I can testify from years of experience that these runway lights work. Are your runway lights in line? If so, praise God! You can step out in faith, asking and trusting God to shut the door if for some reason you have misread His direction. He has promised to guide the meek–those who have no agendas of their own but simply desire to walk in the center of His will (Psalm 25:9).

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  1. Jana Watson says:

    Dear Anne Graham Lotz,

    Thank You for your teaching on God’s Guidance. It is helpful. Thank You!

  2. Alfred Brown Jr says:

    Prayer Request:

    I need a Miracle. HELP!!! Please pray for me. I need your healing prayers. I am 68 years old. I suffer from heart problems and diabetes. Diabetes has caused kidney problems and liver problems ( I do not drink or smoke). I will be most happy for your help in prayer. I also suffer from depression and anxiety.This has caused a great deal of problems. Pray for peace: peace of mind, peace of heart, and peace of soul!

    Please ask everyone to pray for me.

    Help-I am in great pain!!!

    In the last two days, I have fallen and hurt myself. It takes me over a 1/2 hour to get up.
    As a results of these falls, I have had greater pain. I live alone. Pray God to send angels to protect me!!!!

    Thank you.
    Alfred O. Brown JR

    1. BGEA says:

      Dear Alfred,
      Thanks so much for reaching out and we are so sorry to hear about your health issues. We are praying for you and hope others who see this will too! May the Lord be with you and encourage you.

      -BGEA Team

  3. Sue Benavides says:

    Thank you for this advice knowing God’s will for me and how to know it. I needed to hear this. I have so many important decisions to make and I only want what Goes will is for me. I am trying so hard to find it.

  4. Sarah Daniels says:

    I would like to say thank you for the runway lights method we as people of God need all the help and encouragement that we can get to help along life’s journey so again thank you and i look forward to the next time.

  5. Shirley Austin says:

    I am so thankful to find this particular cite it has truly been a blessing . I am looking forward to future references in our COGIC Sunday School Lessons .

  6. Karen Perry says:

    I believe the 4 runway lights method is spiritual and practical. It will work in any decision making.

  7. Val Voll says:

    Thank you, what a great way to keep one in line with God’s direction.

  8. Glenalee Fields says:

    This sounds like a good place to start as I begin the process of making my decision. It is a good practical guide.
    Thanks, Glenalee

  9. Phil Domski says:

    My wife and I are planning a move from Ohio to Florida, but because of financial circumstances, are concerned that we have reason to be concerned about the money. I need the Lord’s counsel and confirmation QUICKLY, as I have only 3 weeks to make this critical move. Please pray with me for the right decision will be made and the Father’s will be done in our lives. I cannot underscore strongly enough how important this decision is to my wife and I.

Decision America Tour