Here are 3 reasons God does not want you to pray for a sign.
1. There Are Different Types of Signs According to the Bible, and We Are Only to Ask for One of Them
If you’ve been reading my content for a while, you know I use the word “sign” a lot. However, according to the Bible, there are different types of signs. Some of these signs we are not to pursue and some we are.
The first type of sign the Bible mentions is what I refer to as “signs and wonders.” These are biblical and real, but we are explicitly told not to ask God for this type of sign (Matthew 16:4). God decides when to send a supernatural sign. When we ask God for these types of signs, it’s actually because we lack faith and want God to prove himself to us. We are not to put God to the test (Matthew 4:7).
The second type of sign in the Bible is what I call “signs of guidance” or “evidence for what God is saying” or “confirmation for what God wants you to do.” This is the type of sign we are to ask God to show us. Whenever you ask God for wisdom or guidance (James 1:5, Proverbs 3:5-6), you will know what he’s saying through the evidence he then provides, whether that be through biblical instruction (Psalm 119:105), the Spirit’s leading in your heart (Galatians 5:22-25), or through the circumstance in your life (Philippians 1:28).
So of course you should ask God for this type of sign. You should ask God for guidance. But you should not ask God for a supernatural sign because that puts him to the test, lacks faith, and we are told not to do that.
For more on this topic and to get specific examples of the different types of signs, you can read my article What Does the Bible Say About “Signs” from God?
2. Don’t Ask for a Sign. Ask for Eyes to See the Signs God Is Sending
In Matthew 16:1-4 it states:
And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them, ‘When it is evening, you say, “It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.” And in the morning, “It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.” You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.’ So he left them and departed.”
Jesus rebuked them for testing him and for asking for more signs even though they could not interpret the signs that were present. In fact, he clearly said we should possess the ability to interpret the signs God is sending.
When it comes to the type of sign where you are looking for biblical evidence and knowledge to know what you should do in life, it’s okay to ask God for these. But really, it’s better to ask God to give you insight and wisdom to interpret the signs he is sending.
You don’t need a dream, a supernatural vision, or someone to prophetically tell you the future. You need eyes to see biblical applications, the Spirit’s leading, and wisdom because God is always leading us but we often lack the ability to understand the evidence he’s sending. As Paul said in Ephesians 1:17-19, which states:
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”
So don’t pray for a sign. Pray for the eyes to see the signs God is already sending.
3. When You Pray for a Supernatural Sign, You Are Often Rejecting the Responsibility God Has Placed on You to Steward the Life He’s Given You
Again, asking God for “signs of guidance” (evidence for what he wants you to do) is biblical. But when we ask God for the type of supernatural sign that leaves no doubt about what God wants, it’s basically like saying you don’t want to manage the life he’s given you to manage.
If God wanted to control our lives directly and remove our freedom to make choices by giving us unmistakable signs in the sky, he could do that. But he made us free beings because he wants us to make real choices. Like the three servants given the talents by their master, God has given us a life to manage. He’s not going to be upset when we make choices if our goal is to please him and multiply the good he’s given us (Matthew 25:20-23). He will only be upset with us if we sit idly, fearful of making a mistake in managing what he’s called us to steward (Matthew 25:24-29).
Following God’s will for your life is not like following driving directions where if you make one wrong turn you’ve failed. Rather, following God’s will is about living with biblical character, making choices with a motive to please God, and seeking to glorify God to the best of your ability (Philippians 1:27, 1 Corinthians 10:31, 1 Peter 4:10-11).
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