This is what everyone tells you to do but no one really tells you how. Most will just give you the rather unhelpful "why don't you go home and pray about it?" Finally, how to find God's will for your life in 5 'easy' steps. (well not that easy...)
The following steps apply whether you are trying to decide if you should change jobs, what JC or uni you should go to, whether you should go out and marry this girl or guy, whether you should buy the next ipod when you already have one, or whether you should obey your parents who tell you to stop going to church...essentially, it applies to all moral decisions. The following steps do not apply however to what you should eat for dinner or whether you should wear the red or blue T-shirt.
STEP ONE - DECIDE THAT YOU WILL OBEY GOD
George Mueller writes, "I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter". It is important to decide in our hearts at the very beginning that we will obey God on this issue. If we have already set our minds on a certain option, we should be aware that there is a tremendous capacity for self-deception in us, to try to "force" God's will to somehow support our own decision. Our bias will prevent us from truly hearing from God and we will hear only what we want to hear. Only the obedient heart will hear from God.
STEP TWO - CHECK YOUR MOTIVES
99.9% of all the major decision we make in our lives are moral decision. Even the issue of choosing a partner, or a JC or a new job. These decisions are moral decision because we have hidden motives behind each choice we make. And these motives can either be right (pure) or wrong (sinful) motives. For example, we may want to date a certain girl because it improves our popularity 'profile' among our peers rather than because we really care for this person, or we dont want to break off a bad relationship because we find our security and worth in being in the relationship rather than turning to God for our security and worth. Where the motives behind particular choice are wrong (sinful), the choice is definitely not the will of God. Where the motives behind the particular choice are mostly pure, the choice has a higher chance of being the will of God. Most decisions will have resolved itself by this stage or at least narrowed our options, provided we are honest with ourselves. A helpful tip at this stage is to look for a sense of peace. Where a decision is motivate by sinful motives, there will often be a sense of deep unease and lack of peace in the decision. Do also realise however that this unease is the voice of conscience which can be dulled by frequent wilful suppression and disobedience to it.
STEP THREE - LISTEN FOR THE RHEMA (VOICE OF GOD)
When faced with two or more choices, all of which are motivated by mostly pure motives, the next step is to wait on God for His prompting. Here we move into the subjective experience of the spiritual interaction between God and us. The 'rhema' is the voice of God that speaks directly to our hearts and we learn to recognise it by the sudden increase of faith and conviction in that area. Here, we plough through the Word of God, immerse ourselves in it and meditate on it. We attend prayer meetings and ask other to pray for us, all the time, we place ourselves in a still but expectant posture of the mind that God will speak to us and wait for His voice. How God will speak to you individually depends on Him, but it is a common Christian experience for Him to speak though impression, promptings, words or phrases that drop into our minds or jump out from a verse, and a deep sense of abiding peace. The good news is that overtime, practice in this area will increase our sensitivity to the voice of God.
STEP FOUR - GET THE ADVICE AND COUNSEL OF OTHER MATURE CHRISTIANS
Sometime, after God's speaks to us (in STEP THREE) we are quite sure. Othertimes, we may feel God may be prompting us in a certain direction but we are still not sure. Here we seek the advice and counsel of other mature Christians. Advice can come in the form of good practical wisdom about why one university is better than another or which JC is more suitable for you. Counsel can come in the form of prophesy or getting someone who can hear from God to pray for you and to sense what God is telling him about your situation. To be balanced and to minimise error, we need both advice and counsel. To reject either is foolishness.
STEP FIVE - JUST CHOOSE
You have come this far. You have checked your motives and have a sense of peace about two decisions. You have sought and waited on God and you feel He does not seem to disapprove of either decision. You have sought the advice and counsel of mature Christians and both options still seem equally valid. In such a situation, God may be giving you a choice. The will of God may not be a one option or die thing. God actually does give us choices. When God created Adam, He allowed him to choose the name for each animal. In such a situation, both choices are within His will. So relax, just make your choice and commit it to God.
Ending Note: The above steps greatly reduce the error of our decision making and promotes godly and wise decision making. However the frailty of the human heart still means that despite good intentions, sometimes we will get it wrong. But take heed that the grace of God is large enough to accomodate our mistakes. At the end of the day, God works for the good of those who love him and will make all things beautiful in His time.