THE LOST ART OF "INQUIRING OF THE LORD"
You have heard it said, "The battle belongs to the Lord." (2 Chronicles 20:15) You have also heard it said, "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6:12) So, which is it - should we stay or should we go? Is the battle God's or ours? I believe the answer is both or situational with Holy Discernment.
You have King David and King Jehoshaphat being examples of trusting in the power of their saving God by obeying His Word to hold back Israel's army at a certain point (2 Samuel 5:23-24; 2 Chronicles 20:15) - the battle was the Lord's in these situations. Fast forward to the time of Paul and his letters to the believers in the churches of the world at that time and a new picture emerges. With a New Covenant, comes a new, additional way of battling. God may still choose to battle for us, BUT now believers have within them the power of the Holy Spirit and the tools they need to complete God's task (i.e. the fruits of the Spirit and The Armor of God). However, before the going, before the staying, before the battling or not - we should inquire of The Lord.
There were times in my youth and there are times even now when I face a challenge without the advice of my parents. Sometimes life does not have to present a challenge to receive mom and dad's view on something. The golden opportunity is lost when I do not ask, when I do not inquire. It is no different with the Christian's Savior - Christ Jesus. Is it any wonder then why Jesus said of seeking counsel - But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)
So, the next step after seeking Him first would be to hear The voice of the Lord. Jesus gives us a wonderful, comforting word to those who believe wholeheartedly in Him - "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand." (John 10:27-28) Although hearing God audibly is possible today, His mode of operation seems to be to speak through His Holy Spirit by our heart or the hearts of others. In Hebrews 3:15 it says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” The heart here being the entire core of the human being - mind, will, and emotions.
A fellow Christian blogger, Bobby who publishes The Spiritual Journey of a Blue Collar Christian, writes - "He [God] gives thoughts for your mind. These thoughts are revealed in the Bible. He gives you desires for the heart, even the desire to know Him. He gives you emotions, such as sorrow for your sins and love for others." If you feel your heart being pricked or guided and you can observe outcomes or fruits of your possible decision that line-up with God's Word then you know you are hearing God's Voice. God may speak to you through a dream, a vision, an angel, a pastor's message, another Christian's encouragement - BUT what you are hearing as God's Directive/Voice must synchronize and harmonize with The Word of God.
I believe the desire, the development, and the art of inquiring of The Lord has almost vanished. This has to start personally first. Once this is understood, accepted and implemented on an individual level - the family unit can grow and move by inquiring of The Lord for direction. Once the family is squared away then the Church Body can operate better in this mode, this desire, this maturity, this Lost Art Of "Inquiring Of The Lord".