Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.. —Psalm 25:4
Maybe it’s “cheating,” but some days if I don’t have time (or more accurately make time) to sit down and have a dedicated period alone for prayer, I think that simply reciting a line like this from the Psalms is a perfectly good prayer. After all, right before Jesus taught his disciples the Our Father, he said, “When you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words” (Matt 6:7). I am guilty of heaping up empty phrases some days, which is why I try to remind myself that sometimes less is more. Just like in Christian centering prayer, Buddhist meditation, or secular mindfulness practices, repeating a simple line like the above might be all we need to stay centered in God.
We can pray this line repeatedly for guidance in making a huge decision such as changing careers, or making a school choice or a relationship commitment. It will work for decisions of “medium weightiness” like whether to coach our daughter’s soccer team or which organization to donate our tax refund to. There is never too small of a decision to ask for God to make known God’s ways, even if it’s a matter of deciding how to engage with a panhandler or saying yes or no to a social invitation. This verse can even be a great prayer when we don’t have anything in particular we are discerning. Simply praying it at the beginning of a day can guide how we respond to people and opportunities as the day goes on.
I have seen examples of how praying something like this helps people to come to specific decisions. I have also seen how praying that the Lord make his ways known to us has cumulative effects over time so that looking back, the person who has prayed it can see how faithfully God led them in the right ways.
For prayer: Repeat this verse as often as you can remember today, trusting that God will answer it over time.