Being Counseled by God as Prayer I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. Psalm 16:7 One of the names for God in Scripture is “Wonderful Counselor.” A counselor is someone who listens with respect and compassion to our questions and concerns. A counselor draws us out, helping us clarify what we are experiencing, where we need course correction and what we can do in order to change, heal and grow. Then, on the basis of this close, accurate and loving listening, a good counselor offers us advice and guidance. God, our Maker, lives in close intimacy with us. We are deeply known and deeply loved. God cares about the burdens we carry, the uncertainties we face, the needs we don’t know how to meet. Throughout the day, and even at night, God invites us to seek the Spirit’s counsel about all that concerns us. There probably have been many times when we have forgotten God’s offer to counsel us. We struggle with difficult decisions, or labor under seemingly impossible circumstances, or try to figure out how to meet a need on our own. And all the time, God reminds us to seek the Spirit’s counsel. When we move from relying on ourselves to relying on God’s counsel, our minds are likely to stop spinning and fretting. When we step out of the spin and pray, “Lord, show me what to do.” our minds have an opportunity to quiet. We are free, then, to wait and listen for God’s guidance. In this quieter space there is an opportunity both for our fears to surface and for our hearts’ desires to become clear. We may find ourselves talking with God about our feelings and longings. It is as if God, the Wonderful Counselor, helps us pour our hearts out in prayer. Now, not only are our minds quieted, but our hearts are open to receive the counsel we need. The psalmist says, “I will praise the Lord, who counsels me, even at night my heart instructs me.” As our minds quiet and our hearts open to God’s counsel, the Spirit speaks intimately and tenderly to our hearts. We know that we are known. We know that we are loved personally. We know we are God’s beloved children. It is this loving, intimate relationship that heals us. It is the love of our Counselor that fills us with hope and gives us the courage and strength we need. Our Wonderful Counselor does not throw out advice from a distance. Our Wonderful Counselor holds us in loving arms, listens carefully to the cries of our heart, quiets our spinning minds, comforts us with understanding and whispers the counsel we need directly to our hearts. You are the Wonderful Counselor. You know me intimately. You offer to quiet my spinning mind, to listen to my fears and my longings. You offer to hold me in your love and to whisper your counsel to my heart. Come, God, counsel me. Prayer suggestion: What concerns do you need counsel about today? Invite God to be your Wonderful Counselor. Listen for the Spirit’s whispers to your heart.