A Question or Two (or Five)

How do you discern whether it is your will or God's that is leading you in a new direction?

Are there specific prayers your pray or do you just pray?

Is there a Saint to pray to for career-related issues?

What about Scripture?  Any specific passages to go to, to seek assistance in figuring out if it is the Spirit that is guiding you?

Any answers you have will be appreciated.  (And maybe a prayer too?)


  1. Those are though questions... Because there isn't a recipe to do like a cake...

    I'll share a bit of my experience. I was a missionary member of my community for more than 12 years and now I'm an "external" member I passed from a full time missionary to another way of evangelizing.

    Now I'm studying management, teaching English and French for a living. I evangelize in my college, through my blog, through translations of prayers and so on...

    What made me decide to change my way of life? The holiness, I mean my desire to be holy, to accomplish my Christian faith and good as I can. Since I came back to Brazil I could see God just opening doors right in front of me: I passed the exam for the college I am now in 5th place (I haven't studied high school stuff for more than 12 years!), the Languages Course that hired me was in need of teachers the very day I went there to check about job opportunities...

    Now I hope to go back to Canada one day but I know that the Lord has just the right door to open for me.

    In the mean time I study, I pray for wisdom (there is a beautiful prayer at the book of wisdom Chapter 9) but I have every day I can a long moment of Silent prayer before God. Just to learn to listen to His signs.

    I wish I had more time to write more. But I'll make this a subject of a post on my blog and I'll let you know...

  2. It's one step at a time. When I started trying to figure out if I should move, I first prayed about whether to send out that first resume. I talked to friends to get their reaction, and eventually felt peace about sending it. I didn't necessarily feel peace about moving, just taking that first step. For me, that's how it worked. I discerned one step at a time, and then waited to see what happened. I didn't make the decision all at once. Does that make sense? It may not be the same for you, that's just how it happened in my case.

  3. Rebecca, as you know I'm struggling with a very similar issue. I've been looking for the open doors, as shalomfelipe said and listening to my body trying to figure out what "feels right." The worst part for me is the waiting. I know that what's happening Right Now isn't a forever thing... but I don't know what the right next step is or (worse) when it will come. So I'm spending time in prayer - not words really, just quiet time allowing God to speak to me through the other people and events in my life.

    It sure is a windy road though...

  4. Your question "How do you discern whether it is your will or God's that is leading you in a new direction?" is such an interesting one. I've struggled with that many times in my life--but lately I've started suspecting that it's simpler than I thought. If you're walking with God and staying close to him day to day, he has a way of working on your heart and conforming your desires to His. A friend once said to me "Walk with God and do what you want"--initially that sounds sacrilegious, but with a deeper reading I think what he meant was that if you're walking with God you will want what He wants. So don't stress too much about it--just pray for his guidance and act. Kind of like Jonathan (or was it David, when he was battling Saul?)--there was a moment where they were about to attack Saul's people, and Jonathan just said a quick prayer and then went for it. He didn't wait for an answer, because there was no time (in that particular instance). If you're close to God, he will lead your steps, even if you don't hear a clear voice saying one thing or the other.
    Not sure if that helps or just confuses the matter. . . =)

  5. I have NO advice on this topic as my career discernment typically goes like "This sounds interesting, oh, closed door..." repeat until one of the doors is finally not closed. Which isn't to say that I haven't done a lot of praying, it just doesn't end up matching up with reality unless my prayer is so general as to accommodate anything!

    But I did just say a prayer for you.

  6. I wanted to wait to comment on this until I read other people's comments.

    So, here's my grasp:

    How do you discern whether it is your will or God's that is leading you in a new direction?

    I have made choices against God's will in the past, so I think that's my best measure of determining God's will now. I don't mean choosing to sin, I mean specifically choosing a major at college that I knew would lead to a career that was not God's will for me. So this doesn't get cloudy, to summarize: I felt God's astounding call-sometimes in whispers, sometimes in jarring moments-to become a teacher...but I didn't want the low pay or long hours, so I declared a nursing major in college. God's whisper became louder, and I felt this dark feeling that I wasn't doing what I was called to do, and I was constantly hearing, "Become a teacher," at the back of my mind...I couldn't shake it, and it grew louder the longer I fought it. I then tried to "psyche God out" by concurrently taking a double load of college class-both education and nursing-and after a year of burnout, my best picture ever on my school volunteer badge, and a really ugly hospital identification card, (because God knows how vain I am), I pulled the plug on nursing.

    Are there specific prayers your pray or do you just pray?

    Listen, pray, ponder Scripture, and I especially pray novenas to St. Joseph - the worker and Our Lady of Victory.

  7. Really tough questions! I'm not sure we can ever know with 100 percent certainty that we are following God's will in all we do. But for big decisions, I would spend time in adoration and just ask Him to show me His will, to let me understand it. Then, I would just keep on living my life the best I can and see what comes my way.

  8. I've always found this prayer by Thomas Merton comforting:
    "My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that I never do anything apart from that desire. I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem lost and in the shadow of death. I will fear not, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone."

  9. I just published a new post on my blog about this...
    There I come out with: "obedience". I think it was an inspiration from the Holy Spirit.
    Reading the other comments I realize something very important they told without being explicit: Follow your conscience! The Second Vatican council calls it the way God communicates with us...
    I'll be praying for you, I expect your prayers too;I'm going to make my promises next Thursday Oct the 28.