Once we have responded to God with an act of Faith, what is the second pillar needed to practice discernment? The second pillar is prayer. Many times people ask for what they want, rather than to learn what God wills for them. Whatever it is that He asks of us, or wants for us, He will qualify us for the calling, which reminds me of that often quoted phrase “God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.” It is when we align our will to that of God, that we will be qualified to do the Lord’s will. Always keep in mind that He sees the full master plan and we only see the pieces. Therefore, God knows what is best for us. It is through prayer that we begin to discern His will for us, because He implants in our hearts His desire. Take for example Jeremiah, who had prophesied for the Lord. He was weary and discouraged, questioning why he needed to be the one who prophesied to his people, complaining:
I say to myself, I will not mention Him; I will speak in His name no more. But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it (Jer 20:9).
Although Jeremiah complained, his heart was still open to doing the Lord’s will and not his own. That is why his heart burned to continue doing the Lord’s will even to the point of experiencing danger from his enemies. In Chapter 20 of Jeremiah you can see him going through a discernment process. I suggest reading Jer 20:7-18 to get the full flavor for the story as Jeremiah experiences his interior crisis. With an open and prayerful heart, he cannot deny God’s desire to see him prophesy to his people.
Through prayerful discernment, you too can come to know what it is that God has in mind for you on your life’s journey. In prayer, you need to ask God specifically what He wants of you. You need to be ready to act in accordance with God’s will. You need to listen! For me, this part is the hardest. However, I have found that the best place for me to listen is in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Find that quiet place where you can open your heart to God and let Him speak to you.
What is the third pillar needed for practicing discernment? We’ll discuss the answer to that question in our next reflection on the virtue of discernment. Don’t miss it!