In the first few months of motherhood, I felt completely in over my head. Being the oldest of four children, the mechanics of caring for a child were not new to me. However, being completely responsible for a baby around the clock was a shock. Add in postpartum hormones and the shift from full-time employee to full-time mother, and I was sinking.
Things didn’t get easier as she grew. Soon, I saw her strong will come to the surface. Mom versus child battles became the norm. Potty training felt like torture. Fatigue made things worse. Oh, and then I birthed another baby.
Fast-forward thirteen years. I still feel overwhelmed much of the time. Raising children, making decisions, dreaming about the future—it all feels shaky and uncertain. In the middle of the unknown, God’s Word breathes hope.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5 ESV).
I first discovered the hope found in James 1:5 in those early days of sleepless nights and fitful days. While it was not the first time I read it, it was the first time I felt so desperate for the wisdom it promised. It felt as if God said to me, “If you feel lost, ask me for the way home.”
I began praying for wisdom, and I haven’t stopped. Too often, I try to figure things out on my own and find myself in an unsolvable situation. Sometimes I am stubborn and try every option before I ask God for wisdom. Then I remember the instructions from James. I turn to God for wisdom and let me tell you, he is completely gracious and never holds back.
Table of contents
- 1 How to Pray for Wisdom Using Scripture
- 2 Recommended Resources
- 3 Prayers for Wisdom
- 4 A Short Prayer for Guidance
- 5 Prayer for Guidance from the Holy Spirit
- 6 A Prayer for Guidance When Life is Challenging
- 7 Prayer for Guidance in the Day Ahead
- 8 A Prayer for Discernment and Wisdom When You Need God’s Direction
- 9 Bible Verses about God’s Guidance
How to Pray for Wisdom Using Scripture
When I’m not sure how to pray for #wisdom, Scripture provides the words for me.Click To Tweet
When I’m not sure how to pray for wisdom, Scripture provides the words for me. I am in the process of putting together notecards of Scripture-based prayers for wisdom. I thought I would share some with you, just in case you are in the middle of overwhelmed and uncertain like me. Just ask; God will answer.
Start with James 1:5.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5 ESV).
Lord, you say if I ask for wisdom, you will give it to me. I am desperate for your divine wisdom. You know all, see all, and understand all. Guide me now with your wisdom.
Follow up with some of these verses.
“For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy. Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe.” (Prov. 2:10-11 NLT)
Lord, I need the kind of wisdom that comes from you. Please grant me both wisdom and knowledge. Guide my choices. I do not want to step outside of your will or act against your commands. Guide me, and keep me safe.
“Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (2 Chron. 1:10 NIV)
Lord, in order to be a good , I need your wisdom and knowledge. Grant me this request so that I may lead your people according to your wise counsel.
“But with Him are wisdom and might; He has counsel and understanding.” (Job 12:13, AMP)
Father, I confess that I often look for answers everywhere but in you and your Word. You alone have the perfect answer for every situation. I need your counsel now. Bless me with understanding as I seek to find the answers in you.
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Rom. 11:33 ESV)
God, the depths of your wisdom and knowledge are unfathomable! You alone possess the treasures of wisdom. I cannot find it anywhere but you. Because your ways are perfect, I seek to follow them now. Show me your ways that I may follow them.
“But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.” (Jam. 3:17 NLT)
Lord, I know when I seek your wisdom, I walk the righteous path. Instead of strife, I find peace. I am gentle with others instead of harsh. Your wisdom guides me in fruitful living. This is the kind of life I long to live. Fill me now with your wisdom that I may honor you with my life.
Praying God’s Word is a powerful practice. We see in these verses that he alone possesses perfect and complete wisdom. Use the words he gives us to ask for wisdom. James 1:5 promises he will not hold out on us!
Which prayer for wisdom resonates most with you? Do you have a verse to add to our prayers for wisdom? Share in the comments below.
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Photo credit: Ben White via Unsplash.
“Dear God, please give me wisdom…”
This might be the prayer I lift more than any other.
We desperately need wisdom in virtually every aspect of life, don’t we?
In our relationships.
In our finances.
In life’s decisions.
Certainly in our marriages.
In our places of employment.
And perhaps most of all, in our parenting.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes the whole idea of “wisdom” seems sort of ambiguous. Just when I think I may have grasped it, I look down at my clutched hands to find them empty.
How do we know if we’ve attained wisdom? At what point do we become wise? What does it look like?
God is so good to give us His counsel about this topic. The Bible, after all, is full of descriptions of what it means to be wise.
It seems to me that it’s a very good idea to combine my prayers for wisdom with a study of what God has to say about the subject.
Let’s get started praying the Scriptures for wisdom, shall we?
Prayers for Wisdom
Thank God for His gracious promise to give wisdom generously to those who lack it. Claim that promise for yourself by asking Him for it in faith (James 1:5).
Acknowledge to God that fools always think their way is right, but a wise person listens to advice (Proverbs 12:15). Ask the Lord to help you to be humble and teachable, willing to ask for and receive counsel from others.
Pray that you would grow in wisdom as God defines it, and that you would humbly and wisely do good works. Ask Him to keep you from bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, and also from boasting and deceit, as those attributes are not characteristics of godly wisdom. Implore God to fill you with the wisdom from above – wisdom that is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere (James 3:13-17).
Confess to God your own responsibility to pay careful attention to how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Ask for His grace to keep you from foolishness, and to enable you to understand what the will of the Lord is (Ephesians 5:15-17).
Ask God to help you restrain your words and keep a cool spirit, as those are evidences of wisdom and understanding (Proverbs 17:27-28). Confess to the Lord any sinful tendencies in these areas.
Pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, having the eyes of your heart enlightened, that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might (Ephesians 1:16-19).
Acknowledge to God that while you desire wisdom, it’s not worth boasting about, and that you want to boast only in your knowledge of Him, growing in your understanding of His character as the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
Ponder the truth that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight (Proverbs 9:10). Ask God to increase your knowledge of the Holy One.
Join Paul and Daniel in marveling at God’s wisdom: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways!” (Romans 11:33) “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; He reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him” (Daniel 2:20-22). Boldly ask Him for wisdom and knowledge, that He would reveal deep and hidden things to you.
Commit to the Lord that you will choose wise companions and not foolish ones, agreeing with Him that whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm (Proverbs 13:20).
Ask the Lord to keep you from being deceived about true wisdom, understanding that the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God (I Corinthians 3:18-19).
Share with God your desire to seek wisdom above every earthly possession. Ask Him to give you a passion for it, and a willingness to search for it as for hidden treasures. Praise Him for giving wisdom, and for pouring knowledge and understanding from His mouth. Ask Him to give you the wisdom He has stored for the upright, as well as insight about righteousness, justice, equity, and every good path. Pray that wisdom would come into your heart, and that knowledge would be pleasant to your soul, with discretion and understanding watching over you. Acknowledge to the Lord that wisdom will deliver you from evil, protect you from temptation, and help you stay on the path of the righteous (Proverbs 2).
Dear Heavenly Father, I praise You for Your infinite wisdom that is abundantly evident in all that You do. You are the essence of wisdom, and the source of it. Whereas You are abounding in wisdom, I am lacking. Please help me to grow in wisdom as I increase in my knowledge and fear of You. By Your Spirit, please increase my depth of insight as I study Your Word. Hold me back from leaning on my own understanding, and make me willing to be counted foolish by the world, for then I will have begun to display godly wisdom. It’s in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ, that I pray. Amen.
Throughout Scripture we are reminded of God’s direction over our lives. He is our good Shepherd who leads us and He desires that we follow the path that leads to joy and contentment. When we pray for God’s guidance and for discernment through the Holy Spirit, we can rest assured that God will provide wisdom! We do not have to worry about our next step or about tomorrow because we know who guides our way! Do not rush your day without going before God to seek guidance!
A Short Prayer for Guidance
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your guidance. Forgive me for getting ahead of Your plans, and help me know when to stop and listen for Your direction. Your ways are perfect, Lord. Thank You for offering gentle grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
– Kristine Brown
Prayer for Guidance from the Holy Spirit
Lord, I pray you would move the Spirit more boldly in my life. I know that any sin can grieve and diminish the voice of the Spirit, and I pray against the temptation to sin. Help me crave your presence more than I crave sin. Help me grow in the fruit of the Spirit and so walk closer with Yourself. I pray for guidance from your Spirit- let your will and promises always be a meditation of my heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
– Kenny Luck
A Prayer for Guidance When Life is Challenging
Lord, I’m here today with open hands and an open heart, ready to depend on you to help me through the day and all it will bring my way. Help me be like Nehemiah, help me come to you for guidance, strength, provision and protection. As I face tough choices and hard situations, help me remember my belovedness, help me remember that I am Your child and Your representative to the world around me. Help me live today in a way that brings honor to Your holy name. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
– Charles Stanley
Prayer for Guidance in the Day Ahead
Good morning, Lord! Today’s a new day, a chance for a new start. Yesterday is gone and with it any regrets, mistakes, or failures I may have experienced. It’s a good day to be glad and give thanks, and I do, Lord. Thank you for today, a new opportunity to love, give, and be all that you want me to be.
Today I want to start the day with you on my mind and in my heart. As I dress, let me wear the armor you’ve provided daily: the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the belt of truth, the shoes of peace, and the sword of the spirit—with prayer on my tongue: praise for you and petitions for those around me and those I meet.
Feed me today with your daily bread. As the Bread of Life, your food, like manna, will sustain me throughout any trials and hungers. Help me to set my thoughts on things above and to speak only what will help and encourage others. Keep me from putting my foot in my mouth, and help me guard the affections of my heart today, Lord. Make whatever work I do be marked with excellence rather than perfectionism, as I seek not to make a name, but to make a difference. Help me to treat each person I encounter as you would, with respect and love, forgiving others and asking for forgiveness myself when needed.
As I start this day, help me remember that I belong to you, and my desire is to act accordingly. Keep my feet from stumbling and my mind from wandering into distractions that could steal precious time and energy from the most important things you have designed for me. I’m proud to be your child, Lord. And I’m so grateful that you died for me—rising again on your own new morning—so that every day could be filled with the wonder of your love, the freedom of your Spirit, and the joy of knowing you.
I know earthly life is short and fleeting, Lord. But I want to live today as if it were the first or the last day of my life, giving thanks for every good and perfect gift you choose to give. Today, and every day, I want to live my life for you, Jesus. In your precious name, Amen.
– Rebecca Barlow Jordan
A Prayer for Discernment and Wisdom When You Need God’s Direction
Lord, thank You for the people You have divinely placed in my life who speak holy truth, love and words of wisdom. Give me a heart of discernment to know when You are using someone to speak instruction into my heart and my circumstances, and give me the strength and courage to follow through with that advice, even when it’s hard. Fill me with peace in knowing that even if I take a wrong turn, Your purpose will prevail. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
– Tracie Miles
This Beautiful Version of Psalm 23 Had Me in Tears from biblestudytools on GodTube.
Bible Verses about God’s Guidance
Psalm 25:4-5 – “Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”
James 1:5 – “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
Psalm 16:7-8 – “I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Psalm 32:8-9 – “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.”
John 16:13 – “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”
What decisions and situations are you praying for guidance over? Join in our large praying community in the comments below and recieve encouragement!
This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can’t find the words to pray.
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You’re tired. You’ve done it your way long enough. You’re ready for a change, but how?
Jesus’ brother, James wrote:
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. James 1:5
If you need wisdom. Ask. That’s it?
But you’re nervous. Is praying for wisdom like praying for patience? Will you come up against more tough decisions or opportunities to practice wisdom? Are you afraid you’ll fail agaaaaiiiinnn.
You and I have opportunities to be wise or foolish every day.
And I don’t know about you, but I get tired of learning the hard way. I need advance knowledge to avoid as many wounds as possible.
So, I’m asking God to help me. I’m turning to His Word and prayer, and I’m asking Him to give me upfront wisdom . . . ready for the challenge, up to the test wisdom.
Will you join me?
I’ve found 5 verses we can add to our War Room walls to help us.
5 Bible Verses to Pray When You Need Wisdom
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.
Father, forgive me. I have divided loyalty. I want to have faith in you alone. I want to trust your truth and wisdom, but voices coax and pull me with half-truths, okay lies really, and I listen. I’m so sorry. I’m tired. I want Your wisdom. Please help me. Grow my faith. Help me know that You are who You say You are, that You can and will do what You say, and that Jesus is the Way, Truth, and Life. I surrender my life to You, my Lord and my God. Amen.
My child, listen to what I say and treasure my commands.
Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver,
seek them like hidden treasures.
Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord,
and you will gain knowledge of God. For the Lord grants wisdom!
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
Father, help me to know and obey Your perfect will. Teach me Your truth and bless me with the courage and strength I need to follow it faithfully. I long for insight and understanding . . . gifts given through Your Spirit. I will study Your Word and learn Your commands, and with Your Spirit’s help, I will do my best to glorify You and obey. Help me, Father. I know Your ways are best. Give me all I need to trust and obey. Amen.
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.
Father, Your wisdom is pure. Pure. Free of additives. It never is wisdom plus something. It is rock solid lasting truth. We’re so foolish. Looking for worldly knowledge to somehow work along-side or replace Your wisdom. Forgive us, Father. Help me to see through worldly lies. Help me to know and live by Your peace-loving, gentle, humble, servant wisdom. Just saying that makes me realize how different it is from the world’s way that tells us to “take care of number one.” No more. By Your grace, I will live for Your glory and follow Your wisdom.
Proverbs 8:12, 33–34
I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment.
I know where to discover knowledge and discernment.
Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it.
Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me
daily at my gates waiting for me outside my home!
Father, I need to make better decisions. I need good judgment that helps me know and follow Your will. Help me set safe boundaries. Keep me from foolishly getting as close as I can to worldly thinking that goes against your Word. I want to know Your will. I want to fulfill Your plans and purposes. I want to serve You with all I am and all I have. I want to live for Your glory. I want the joy that comes from living for You alone. But Father, I need Your grace. On my own, I can’t. But by Your grace through Jesus, I can anything You have prepared for me. Help me Lord, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope He has given to those He called—His holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
Father, I lift up my loves to You. Protect them. They need wisdom. I love them so much and want them to know the joy of following Your truth and wisdom. Draw them close to You. Grow their faith. Give them a love for Your Word and prayer. Open their hearts and minds to understand Your truth. Help them trust and obey You. Protect them from the world’s lies.
Father, I know You love my loves even more than I do. I know You want what’s best for them. You have plans and purposes for them. I surrender them to your care. Fill them with Your love. Teach them Your truth. Give them Your wisdom. In Jesus message, Amen.
Don’t you just love that God wants us to ask Him for things like wisdom?
He wants to bless us with everything we need to live today and face tomorrow.
What is your favorite verse to pray when you need wisdom?
Leave your prayer requests…
and pray for others who have left requests.
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