Friday, March 06, 2009

Praying for Discernment

I love reading the prayers of the Psalmist. One of my favorites is when he prayed that God would grant him discernment so he could understand His laws.

The Hebrew word for discernment is biyn. It means:

1) to discern, understand, consider
a) (Qal)
1) to perceive, discern
2) to understand, know (with the mind)
3) to observe, mark, give heed to, distinguish, consider
4) to have discernment, insight, understanding
b) (Niphal) to be discerning, intelligent, discreet, have understanding
c) (Hiphil)
1) to understand
2) to cause to understand, give understanding, teach
d) (Hithpolel) to show oneself discerning or attentive, consider diligently
e) (Polel) to teach, instruct
2) (TWOT) prudent, regard

We need this kind of discernment not only in understanding the Word of God, but in dealing with life issues. There are many circumstances that come our way that we are not equipped to deal with on our own. Perhaps we've never faced the issue before or maybe we don't understand the measure of the person's heart with whom we're dealing. It could be that we're struggling with a passage of Scripture that just isn't clear. As I found to be the case today, I just needed discernment on reacting newly to an old situation.

As servants of the Most High God, we are priveleged to communicate our needs to Him in prayer, just as the Psalmist did when he asked for understanding of God's statutes.

The Hebrew word for understanding is different than the one for discerning. Yada` means:

1) to know
a) (Qal)
1) to know
a) to know, learn to know
b) to perceive
c) to perceive and see, find out and discern
d) to discriminate, distinguish
e) to know by experience
f) to recognise, admit, acknowledge, confess
g) to consider
2) to know, be acquainted with
3) to know (a person carnally)
4) to know how, be skilful in
5) to have knowledge, be wise
b) (Niphal)
1) to be made known, be or become known, be revealed
2) to make oneself known
3) to be perceived
4) to be instructed
c) (Piel) to cause to know
d) (Poal) to cause to know
e) (Pual)
1) to be known
2) known, one known, acquaintance (participle)
f) (Hiphil) to make known, declare
g) (Hophal) to be made known
h) (Hithpael) to make oneself known, reveal oneself

Once we have the discernment, we truly can understand what it is we're asking for help with.

Prayers to be discerning, intelligent, and discreet, to have understanding and consider diligently the situations we face better equip us to help others going through the same issues and help us face the issues we face each day in life.

Father, I pray that you would open the eyes of our hearts and help us discern Your Word so that we may truly use it in dealing with the situations we face in life. Help us to discern the motives of the people around us who rise up to challenge us in good ways and bad. Give us discernment to strengthen our faith in You, Father, and to help us walk more closely with You as we seek to serve You in all that we do and say. Help us be wise and use insight in our speech as we talk with those around us so that You will be glorified. Teach our hearts, Lord, to walk with You and understand your precepts, not for our glory but for Yours. May Your Name be forever praised as we seek the discernment that we know You can give. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

D - Diligently seek God's will in everything. "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." ~ Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)

I - Investigate what God's Word says about things. "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." ~ Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

S - Separate yourself from the world's point of view and search for God's. "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." ~ Romans 12:2 (NIV)

C - Commit your will to God. "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun." ~ Psalm 37:4-6 (NIV)

E - Examine your heart daily with God. "Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth." ~ Psalm 26:2-3 (NIV)

R - Ready yourself with the armor of God. "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." ~ Ephesians 6:13-18 (NIV)

N - Never forget to live according to the Word of God. "How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word." ~ Psalm 119:9 (NIV)



Tricia said...

A great post Laurie Ann, what a wonderful thing discernment is! How wonderful that all we have to do is ask for it and God will give it to us as we study His Word and pray...

I have missed stopping by your blog and visiting, life has just been very busy here lately, hope all is well with you!


Denise said...

Such a wonderful post.

Darlene said...

Great post! I learn so much from you! Glad you are feeling better!!
Have a fabulous weekend!

Alicia, The Snowflake said...

Thank you for this great word of wisdom. God recently gave me discernment about a certain area that I needed to be praying about. I could see the problems. But I didn't know how to pray for it differently. The prayers have made a big difference. I am so thankful God gives us discernment and doesn't just leave us in the dark.

Take care my friend!
I pray you are having a great weekend!

Melinda said...

A great post and a good reminder. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our take on a situation, we forget to seek a true understanding of it.