I don’t have all of the answers. (At this point, nobody who knows me is surprised!) For instance, there are some details of what the Bible says that I don’t claim to fully understand, despite years of study. Even with God’s instructions, there are plenty of times when I’m not sure which way my next decision should go.
As a result, there are times when I am not comfortable telling someone exactly what they should do in their current situation. Of course, I know that everyone needs Jesus (both as their Savior and their Lord), and there are some choices for which God has provided clear direction on in the Bible. But, within the framework that God has given, sometimes the specific path isn’t clear. So, I will sometimes pray that God will help a friend to do the right thing, even when I don’t actually know what that “right thing” is.
For someone like me, whose role is often to find an answer to a challenging problem, letting go of knowing the solution takes a little trust. However, God is always faithful, and there are some things that are so important that He’s the only one we can count on to provide the right decision.
As a result, the following passage is comforting verse when I feel like all I have to say to God are incoherent thoughts or just a mess of scrambled feelings:
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
Romans 8:26-27 NASB
I think that this approach – praying what we can, and letting God take over from there – is also applicable to situations where we don’t know how to pray for others. Let’s say that a friend asks us for advice, and the right answer isn’t clear. Rather than making something up, we can offer to ask God to show them the right way (and then, actually follow up and pray for exactly that). Maybe that means delaying a decision, or not looking like we know it all, but sometimes the best approach is to let go of having all of the answers.
In the same way, when we don’t have the answers for ourselves, we can cry out to God for help. If our job (or other responsibility) is overwhelming us, we may not know whether to ask for a different job, for the strength to get through the tough times, or for our challenging co-worker to receive a windfall and quit. That’s OK. God knows not only our hearts – both the joys and the pains that we are experiencing – but also the tapestry of time and how to direct us towards a part in His greater plan.
We don’t have to know all of the answers. In fact, we don’t even need to know the questions. We only need to know Him who understands both, and let Him lead. Cry out in confidence, and know that you have a “translator”, whose interpretation of what you want to say is better than you could ever articulate. Then, testify to God’s faithfulness, as you tell others about how He has blessed you with direction and wisdom.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation.