This Prayer for Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge is a guided prayer to receive God’s guidance and insight when making decisions about what to do next.
Prayer for Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge
I need wisdom, knowledge and understanding about __________ today so I can know the best thing to do next.
I claim the Bible verse that says, “For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:6, NIV version of the Bible.)
I begin by praying for knowledge. I lay before you my current knowledge of the situation and the facts as I know them. Here are the facts I currently see ______________
Because you created the world and know the past, present and future and you know the hearts and minds of everyone, I acknowledge that you are the true source of knowledge. Please bring to my mind any facts I may have overlooked, any “facts” that may have come from an unreliable source and any facts I need to know ____________________________
Thank you God for the knowledge you are giving me.
I now pray for understanding. Given these facts and knowledge, I now seek your help in understanding how these facts fit together and what they mean. I prayerfully consider the following questions:
Here’s what I currently understand these facts to mean ____________________________
What am getting right in my understanding?_______________
What am I getting wrong?_________________
What are the unseen spiritual factors I’m not aware of? _______________________
What conclusion should I draw from these facts?_______________
Thank you God for the understanding you are giving me.
Finally, I pray for wisdom. Given the facts and my understanding of them, show me what I need to do based on this information.
Here are some possible next steps in my mind _______________________________
Tell me whether I should I do something now or wait for things to change ______________________________
Are any of the following my next step?:
Trust and faith.
Taking a leap of faith.
Stopping doing things that are getting in my way.
Partnering with a like-minded Christian friend.
Removing myself from an unhealthy situation.
Daring to dream and pray big.
Following your specific calling in my life.
Reading the Bible to learn more about you.
Disregarding bad advice.
Giving up worry and feelings of inadequacy.
Here are other things you want to say to me ______________________
Thank you God for the wisdom you are giving me.
As I end my prayer, help me continue to grow in wisdom, understanding and knowledge so I might become more like Christ who is called the Word of God because he embodies all earthly and spiritual wisdom, understanding and knowledge.
About this Prayer for Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge
The following are the reasons we should pray for wisdom.
The Difference between Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge
I wrote this prayer after I volunteered to be part of a short video project our church was doing on wisdom. Each of us was given 2-3 minutes to give a devotional on wisdom based on a Bible verse that was assigned to us. I was assigned Proverbs 2.
To do write my talk, looked for reoccurring words. In the New International Version of the Bible of Proverbs 2 I found that wisdom was mentioned 4 times, knowledge 3 times and understanding 6 times.
One verse uses all 3 words in the same sentence. “For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:6.) I started to wonder about what each of these three words meant and found an online article that told what they often mean in the Bible:
Knowledge means facts
Understanding means what these facts mean when you put them together
Wisdom means knowing what to do next given the facts.
And this verse clearly states that all three of these – knowledge, understanding and wisdom – come from God.
Praying for Knowledge Because God Has All Knowledge
It makes sense that God has all knowledge based on the fact that he created everything in the universe, including human beings. Knowledge and facts these days are more available than at any other time in history because of the Internet. However, the Internet simply gathers facts and makes them easier to find. And unfortunately, sometimes things that the Internet reports as facts are actually misleading and false. Thankfully, we have God as our source of truth.
Praying for Understanding Because God Has Understanding We Will Never Have
It also is quite evident that God has all understanding of what the facts mean. The whole book of Job is about the knowledge and understanding. The book shows us what’s going in in heaven. God commends Job’s faith and the devil decides he’s going to try and break Job’s faith by hitting him with tragedy after tragedy – the death of his children, the loss of all of his belongings and finally by bringing painful disease to his body.
Given these facts, here’s the erroneous understanding everyone comes to: Job must have really sinned because God is severely punishing him.
With this false understanding of the facts, three of Job’s so-called friends take the next step that seemed the wise thing to do to help Job snap out of his misery. They decide to lecture him and tell him that the facts are, bad things don’t happen to good people. They are sure Job has done something wrong and needs to own up to it.
This argument goes on for 29 pages in my Bible, with each side arguing about what the facts of Job’s suffering mean!
And who’s proven right at the end? Job’s friends aren’t. Neither is Job. It turns out Job doesn’t understand how limited his understanding is. God’s the only one who can stop the argument and explain what the facts mean.
God starts out by talking to Job and says, “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?…Where were you, when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me if you understand.” (Job 38:2,4 NIV) God peppers Job with question after question about the stars and the earth and the creatures that live on the earth and under the sea. Job finally says, “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” (Job 42:3 NIV)
Job’s friends got an even harsher treatment. God says, “I am angry with you and your two friends because you have not spoken of me what is right as my servant Job has.” Why was God angry? Because they applied human logic and understanding and took it for wisdom without having any grasp whatsoever of God’s character and what was going on in the spiritual realm.
Praying for Understanding Because It Is a Learned Ability
God created all of us with the potential to understand things. However, understanding is a skill we develop as we grow and experience life.
As an example, a 2-year-old child is constantly gaining knowledge. But understanding often lags far behind, so we have to protect them for their own safety. I once watched a 2-year-old at a resort swimming pool that had a gradual entry pool area like a gently sloping beach. The 2-year-old got it in her head that she didn’t need an adult with her or even on the edge of the pool watching her. She kept telling the adults to go away, which they refused to do. The 2-year-old didn’t understand the concept of drowning or that she would sink into the deep water without someone holding her up. A parent had to intervene and insist on their more informed understanding because the child’s understanding was not only incomplete but potentially lethal.
The Bible hints that even Jesus went through a process of growth in understanding. At age 12, his parents found him in Jerusalem in the temple courts “sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.” And “everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and answers.” (Luke 2:46,47)
It’s also possible to understand the facts and then misuse your insight for your own purposes. Or you might waste understanding by not acting on what you understand should be done.
The apostle Paul says in I Corinthians 13:2 says, “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”
Praying for Wisdom Because God’s Wisdom is Beyond Ours
The Bible tells us that God’s wisdom is very different than ours and trumps ours. Here’s what Paul says in his letter written to the Corinthian church:
“Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached (referring to the death and resurrection of Christ) to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified…but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. (I Corinthians 1:20-25 NIV)
God’s wisdom is often surprising and challenging. God’s wisdom doesn’t conform to the careful reasoning of human minds. It is so beyond our realm of understanding that God has to make it so simple that it sounds foreign and even illogical. Actually, God’s wisdom naturally sounds foreign to humans unless we have opened our hearts and minds to Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
The Bible tells us, “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
Wisdom Must Be Actively Sought
Wisdom isn’t something you have. Wisdom is something that you seek. The Bible tells us that we need to ask for it and search for it. Here are some scriptures that spell this out.
Proverbs tells us, “My son, If you accept my words and store up my commands withing you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” (Provers 2:1-5 NIV)
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be give to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:5,6 NIV
Once We Gain Wisdom, We Must Act on It for It to Be Effective
Wisdom is not something that we note in our mind. It requires us to take action and use it.
The Bible says:
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in humility that comes from wisdom… the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:13,17 NIV
“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27
My Personal Experiences Seeking Wisdom
Here are some of the practical things I do when I am seeking wisdom:
Journal. I use spiral notebooks as journals and write down the problem I am dealing with. Then I write down what I’ve done so far and how I feel about it. After I finish, I stop and write down whatever insights I am getting.
Scriptures. I find out what the Bible says on whatever I’m dealing with. I use an online search by typing in Bible verses on _____ then I fill in the blank.
Advice from Christian friends. I contact a Christian friend and ask them what they think about the situation and any advice they may have to give me.
Prayer. I personally pray for wisdom and also ask others to pray for me to have wisdom.
The Wesley Quadrilateral: This is a fancy term made up by theologians who studied John Wesley’s approach. There are four basic considerations: Scripture, Tradition, Reason, Experience
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