When we pray for God’s guidance, we don’t just appeal to God’s promises to guide us well. We use our common sense too.
Abraham had sent his trusted servant Eliezer, the man who had run his household for years, on an important mission—to find a wife for his son, Isaac.
Eliezer had set out on that mission with a confident trust in Abraham’s God—God who followed through on his promises. Eliezer had a solid spiritual approach to his mission. He placed his trust in God.
He relied on God for success in his mission. He depended on God to lead him. We know this from his prayer:
Then he prayed, “Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.Genesis 24:12
But, Eliezer also did what he could for his mission to be successful. Eliezer used common sense.
The right mental attitude
The servant did his part in thinking through his mission to ensure it would be successful, too.
On his long slow camel ride from Canaan to Aram Naharaim, Eliezer no doubt had time to think how he would meet and choose the perfect wife for Issac. He certainly had plenty of time to plan how he would find Abraham’s relatives. After all, it wasn’t as if he had any photographs or an address to take with him.
Eliezer set himself up for success. He didn’t just expect God would make this woman appear out of nowhere.
It made sense, to Eliezer, that the best place to meet female relatives of Abraham would be at a well. Women drew water for their households and livestock. Women would come to get water and perhaps even stop for a few minutes to catch up with their neighbors and friends.
Eliezer didn’t choose any well, but the well in Nahor, the town where Abraham’s relatives lived. And he came to the well in the evening, the time when streams of women went backward and forward, collecting and delivering water.
On the camel ride from Canaan, Eliezer also had time to reherse how he would make conversation with the women he met. He came up with a specific plan:
May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too.’Genesis 24:14
This was where he needed God’s guidance and help.
—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac.Genesis 24:14
And so Eliezer prayed:
“Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”Genesis 24:12-14
Eliezer was specific and direct in his request. Eliezer used his common sense to be successful in his mission.
When we pray for God’s guidance, we too can use our common sense. Let’s not just randomly ask God to guide us and expect things to happen out of the blue. Let’s use the minds we have been given to think about how we can be guided, make good choices, and be successful whatever our missions or tasks look like.
Eliezer had no doubt that God had guided him to the right woman.
When we use our common sense and pray, we too will be in no doubt that God has guided us and the outcome is right.
Use this prayer as you work out the right thing to do or say.