How do you know when God is leading you in a certain direction? Do you struggle with discerning God’s voice?

Welcome to Powerful Prayer Tip Tuesday!

Something that has helped me over the years are what I like to refer to as my scripturally-based “rules of thumb.” These are scriptures that I refer back to time and time again to help me determine if God is truly prompting me to do something. Coupled with past experiences that have validated their value, they have yielded me a much-needed confidence for my Christian walk.

Allow me to share some of my rules of thumb with you:


Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. Ecclesiastes 8:5 NIV

Rule of Thumb #1: The wise heart will know the proper time and procedure.

Whenever I feel God might be giving me something to accomplish, but I do not know how to accomplish it; hence, no procedure, I know that it is not time to act. He may simply be getting this particular idea on my radar, or it is possibly just a romantic notion / fleeting thought of my own making.

Once I know how to accomplish it; hence, I have the procedure, I know it is time.

When I know exactly what to do, but there is no open door then I know it is not time.

I have to have both the procedure and the opportunity to help confirm it is God leading me. This is His wisdom working in my heart, which makes it a great rule of thumb.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians. 3:15 NIV

Rule of Thumb #2: Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart.

If I do not have peace it is a no-go. I’ve learned this the hard way. Once while preparing to write a check out to a certain service, I did not feel peaceful about it at all. So much so that I put my checkbook away. The next day I pulled out my checkbook again to write the check and still felt the same lack of peace. It did not make sense to me that I would feel this way about a natural transaction so I ignored God’s Spirit and wrote the check anyway.

In the end, the service was terrible and I lost over $1,500 – lesson learned! If you feel a true lack of peace, whether it makes sense or not at the time, just don’t do it.

The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10 NIV

Rule of Thumb #3: God is persistent.

You may possibly have to go back and read the first ten verses of 1 Samuel 3 if you are not familiar with this account. The first time God spoke to Samuel, he did not recognize it. Nor did he recognize Him the second time. It was on the third attempt, that Samuel answered the Lord.

What I learned from this is that God does not easily give up on us. He is not likely to say, “Well, she didn’t hear me; that’s too bad” and move on. In His grace and mercy He will attempt to speak to us multiple times. So if you notice an opportunity or thought that keeps coming back around to you, God may be trying to get your attention. Like Samuel, simply respond with something similar to his words, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” I am confident He will continue to guide you.

Please feel free to add these to your repertoire of wisdom that can help guide you as you prayerfully seek to stay in the will of God. Maybe you have some verses of your own??? Please share your “rules of thumb” in the comments section below.

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Award-winning author Gina Duke is a wife, mom and the Director of Women’s Ministry at her local church. With a B.S. in Organizational Leadership, she is able to bring a clear word for authentic Christian living. Through her book, “Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray” (Abingdon Press), she imparts 1 Peter 4:7 with the gift of structured prayer journaling. If you would like to schedule Gina to speak on prayer or host a prayer journaling workshop, click here for more information. You may also follow her on Twitter and Instagram @TheGinaDuke.

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  1. I love this and needed to read this. I will share my one thing I ask myself when faced with a choice. I heard it from a Pastor and have referred to it over the years. He said, “God leads; Satan drives.” So I ask myself if I am feeling lead or driven. To me leading feels gentle whereas driven feels like a hasty choice to be made with pressure attached.

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