How to Cooperate With God in Your Faith-Filled Next Steps

by | Feb 19, 2019 | Woman

The right first step in every situation is to pray, “God, help me! Jesus, come!” Inviting Him to be with you always makes a difference. But there’s almost always a second critical step to that two-part prayer that’s just as important; “What step do You need me to take next?”

It’s important to get the sequence right. Some people tend to rush ahead trying to fix things, and then almost as an afterthought pray, “God, please bless this.” Other people keep praying for God to fix things but never take action on their own.

Frederick Douglas, former slave turned abolitionist, said “I prayed for 20 years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.”

God works. And we work. (See Phil. 2:12-13). It’s cooperating with God.

So how do you do that? What does “taking the next step” look like?

1. Pray first.

Again, get the sequence right. God is the initiator, the Creator, the one who sees the end from the beginning. He knows which goal He is taking you toward. You’ve got to get the blueprint from Him before you know what to do next. “Except the Lord build the house, those who build labor in vain; except the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (Ps. 127:1).

On the cosmic eternal scale, we know God’s design for you is for you to become like Jesus and to be part of His eternal kingdom (see Rom. 8:29, 1 Pet. 2:9). He is the healer, provider, righteous judge, Good Shepherd and loving King. But we can easily insert our own intermediate plans and then wonder why God doesn’t seem to bless them.

Invest time in listening to God well enough to hear what He is asking you to do next.

2. Take a step forward.

This is praying with your legs. When God created humankind, He gave us a measure of dominion, or agency (see Gen. 1:28). God is the overall ruler. But you and I are made in His image. We have a domain over which He has given us ownership. While the enemy stole that from humankind, in Christ, we can take that back by exercising that dominion. It’s taking the direction we hear from our King and executing it in our sphere of influence.

You have agency, for example, over your thoughts and feelings, over what happens in your house, and over how you spend your time, energy and money. You have a choice about choosing forgiveness, healing or spiritual growth. Your actions also affect others in your household, your community and the world.

Your agency is not absolute. Others have choices also, and we live in a world that is still in the middle of the war between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. But God calls you to action as His created sons and daughters. And your actions will affect the outcomes.

Examples of Next Steps

In working together with God, in praying with your legs, in exercising the dominion God has entrusted you with, you will be energized and spiritually strengthened. Mental-health experts have demonstrated over and over again that your emotional and mental well-being will increase as you focus on the areas in which you do have a measure of control.

Here are some examples of what that might look like.

Physical Health

You’re struggling with illness, fatigue, pain, obesity, substance abuse and so on. Your role will include optimizing your lifestyle and cooperating with experts. Find out about healthy eating and do the hard work of changing your eating habits. Move your body more today than you did yesterday. Develop a healthy rhythm of activity and rest. Optimize your sleep environment. Drink lots of water. Find healthier substitutes for sweetened beverages or unhealthy snacks.

And get some help. Become an informed involved consumer of health care services. Ask your doctor questions and take action when he or she makes recommendations. Take full advantage of whatever medical care is available to you.

Emotional/Mental Wellness

You’re struggling with depression, fear, anxiety, addiction and more. Beyond optimizing your physical lifestyle (above), your role will include intentionally caring for your mind. Learn what it means to forgive in a healthy way. Develop the mental muscles to decide where your mind will go instead of chasing after it. Choose high-quality mental and emotional nourishment every day to stay filled up. Stretch your mind in learning new things.

When you’ve been wounded, actively choose healing. Be relentless about finding and taking into your being things that bring healing. Put yourself with other people who can help you heal, even if it’s excruciating to do so.

Material Things

You’re struggling with a miserable job, lack of income, debt and other financial issues. Your role is to follow God’s ways about money and bring your skills to the world. Learn what God says about money. Study how money works. Differentiate between needs and wants. Cut unnecessary expenses even when it’s painful to do so. Combine wisdom with generosity. Learn how God has built you and study how to bring yourself to the world in the most effective and financially sustainable way. Look to God first as the source for your needs instead of others, government and so on. Get smart about how you find or create income.

Healthy Relationships

You’re unhappily single, miserably married or concerned over children or friends and other relationships. Your role is to become the kind of spouse, parent or friend that God needs you to be in this season. Deal with the prickly or needy parts of yourself (see above). Study about communication, setting boundaries, forgiveness, parenting, intimacy and so on. When you learn something, do the hard work to put it into practice. Evaluate the impact of your efforts on the relationship in question, adjust and try again.

If married, become the husband or wife God needs you to be to your spouse right now. If a parent, step up and be involved where your child needs you to be. And if you want to be married, become the kind of person your potential spouse would value. For the world beyond your family, get over yourself, step out there, and make a difference.

Spiritual Growth

You’re wrestling with stubborn sins, addiction, unhealthy habits or alienation from God. Your role is to keep on inviting God to intervene. And then your role includes getting deeply involved with other growing believers to experience God’s grace and healing (see James 5:16). Invest in finding out what the Jesus kind of life looks like, and actually do what Jesus said to do (see Matt. 7:24-27). Keep putting yourself in the presence of God over and over again. Study how others have followed Jesus and copy them as they follow Jesus (see 1 Cor. 11:1).

Wherever you need help, invest in finding out what God has to say about the situation: self-esteem, rejection, relationships, healing, growth, ministry and so on. Study and learn His ways. Allow His Holy Spirit to keep changing you.

Is That All?

Wow. Does that seem overwhelming? Remember that this is not about trying harder. It’s absolutely vital to begin by seeking God’s intervention and guidance. Throwing yourself into endless activity will not work. This only illustrates the almost infinite number of steps you could take. You need to hear Him first in order to know what step will be what you need next.

And then walk. Take a step. Pray with your legs.

That’s what cooperating with God looks like.

Your Turn: Where are you struggling right now? Is there a “next step” you sense God directing you to take next? Leave a comment below. {eoa}

Dr. Carol Peters-Tanksley is both a board-certified OB-GYN physician and an ordained doctor of ministry. As an author and speaker, she loves helping people discover the Fully Alive kind of life Jesus came to bring us. Visit her website at

This article originally appeared at


Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


WATCH: Vlad Savchuck: Life, Health and the Bible

WATCH: Vlad Savchuck: Life, Health and the Bible During a recent visit to @HungryGeneration, Pastor Vlad Savchuk asked Bill Wiese to comment on his personal experience applying the Word of God to his own life and health. These same principals hold true for all who read and...

Miraculous Divine Intervention Birthed by Thanksgiving and Praise

Miraculous Divine Intervention Birthed by Thanksgiving and Praise

Read Time: 4 Minutes 2 Seconds When I first became a believer in 1970, my mother was one of my first “converts," giving her heart to Jesus as soon as I shared with her the beauty, the power and the opportunity of making Jesus the Lord of her life. However, my father...

I’m Going Defcon G on the Enemy

I’m Going Defcon G on the Enemy

Read Time: 1 Minute 32 Seconds The last six years have been the best of times and the worst of times. I’ve seen more death, destruction, disease and devastation than I care to remember. I’ve also seen the hand of God move in extraordinary ways. Indeed, sometimes I...

Prophetic Vision: ‘Now is the Time of Your Healing’

Prophetic Vision: ‘Now is the Time of Your Healing’

Read Time: 3 Minutes 41 Seconds I was remembering a time when my husband and I were praying over friends who had been in a situation for many years that had caused deep trauma to their souls. As we were praying for them, I became aware of an angel standing over them...

Victimized By Gaslighting? 5 Steps to Finding Freedom

Victimized By Gaslighting? 5 Steps to Finding Freedom

Read Time: 2 minutes 26 seconds The term "gaslighting" has gone viral across social media this year and Merriam-Webster chose it as their word-of-the-year, saying searches for the word spiked 1,740% in 2022 alone. We're breaking down what the Bible has to say about...

Learn How to Be Grateful From Those Who Have So Little

Learn How to Be Grateful From Those Who Have So Little

Read Time: 3 Minutes 18 Seconds Looking around my hometown of Los Angeles, my heart soars with gratitude. My home is safe, my bills are paid and I was fortunate to be able to serve my family an ample Thanksgiving meal. And yet, I am fully aware that hundreds of...


5 Ways to Improve Your Emotional and Spiritual Health

Read Time: 4 Minutes 50 Seconds Do you believe the Lord is concerned about your emotional and spiritual health? He is. He wants you to know how to improve your emotional and spiritual health to be...
I Never Thought I’ve Have to Say This: Jesus Was Not Trans

I Never Thought I’ve Have to Say This: Jesus Was Not Trans

Read Time: 3 Minutes 27 Seconds You may have heard about the controversy that erupted in Cambridge, England, this past Sunday at Trinity College. The preacher, Joshua Heath, a junior research fellow who has a Ph.D. in theology, offered a sermon in which he suggested...

Prophetic Word: Goodness Is Following You, Turn and See

Prophetic Word: Goodness Is Following You, Turn and See

Read Time: 4 Minutes 48 Seconds At a recent gathering where a person was struggling, I heard and declared by the Spirit of the Lord, “Goodness is following you; turn and see. Embrace His goodness in this moment and watch the shift!” There was an immediate shift and...

Why Becoming Like God Requires Special Effort

Why Becoming Like God Requires Special Effort

Read Time: 2 Minutes 7 Seconds We can walk with God and come into unity with Him by clothing ourselves in His nature. This will require that we restrict and control the desires of the flesh by putting our focus on obtaining the very substance and characteristics of...

3 Reasons for Hope This Advent Season

3 Reasons for Hope This Advent Season

Read Time: 3 Minutes 6 Seconds I didn’t grow up celebrating Advent. When I was little, we put up a tree, got presents and had a Christmas Eve service. It seemed to me that most grown-ups were stressed over Christmas and thankful when it was all over. It wasn’t until...

How To Be Hilariously Happy in Your Giving

How To Be Hilariously Happy in Your Giving

Read Time: 4 Minutes 17 Seconds The day after Thanksgiving is culturally called Black Friday, in the U.S. It marks the beginning of retail sales that could ensure a successful and profitable Christmas-gift-buying season. Black Friday In decades past, book-keepers...

Pin It on Pinterest