Is it Right to Ask God For "A Sign"?

Well, is it right to ask God for some kind of physical sign in your life to help point you in the right direction? To be honest I always thought people who did this were kind of silly…after all, it seems to me many “signs” people feel they could be given could be coincidence…or even worse, the devil’s deception. Lately however, I have been very confused, so I am pondering if I should ask God for “a sign”. Anyone have any thoughts on this they might share? Thanks, and peace be with you all.

From the book Seeking Spiritual Direction by Rev. Thomas Dubay, S.M.:

“I do not recommend it, at least not ordinarily. It is true that the apostles drew lots after prayer to select Matthias as Judas’ replacement (Acts 1:26), but God can will something for the apostles that he does not will for the rest of us. If one has a guide [spiritual director], I think God would prefer consultation to searching for a special sign. When some of the scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus for a sign, his answer was not encouraging: “It is an evil and unfaithful generation that asks for a sign” (Mt 12:38–39). … This is not to say that God does not give signs. It is to say that we should usually exercise caution in actively seeking them. God is not a puppet on a string.”

I think God gives us signs all the time although it may not come in form we want or expect. What is needed are the eyes of faith to see them. You can ask God to reveal to you what His will is for your life. Just be open and don’t put God in a box. He may answer in a way you don’t expect.

I agree with Mark. I’ve had definite “signs” during my life, but they are few and far between. I think it’s a good thing to ask God to show you His will for you, to help you discern your path. I’ve done it and received an answer, but not in the way I was expecting!

We are told not to, but I don’t think it will remove points if you do unless it’s an obsession.


It depends on what you mean by sign. Whatever the case, while it is ok to ask God for things, we also need to ask God for himself. All good things come from God but it is more beautiful if we draw close to God, and when this happens his will for our lives becomes clearer. This is sometimes hard in the active life, but things like the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola give very good exercises for contemplation which help us in the active realm discern what is God’s will and what is not God’s will (self will and that of the devil).

I find myself sometimes asking God for a sign for guidance because I feel like I can’t understand what He wants me to do.

Perhaps it is best to clarify this (both in outward prayer to God in within our own hearts and minds) by recalling specifically that we want God’s will to be done, not ours.

To me, physical miracles and signs can even be a stumbling block for those seeking long-term devotion on the Catholic spiritual walk. What happens when there isn’t a sign at some point? A “sign” or miracle is a physical manifestation of grace; but God doesn’t want to speak to us on a merely physical level. If we come under the habit of relying on the physical things in life to hear God, then we will have trouble hearing what He truly speaks to our souls. Our souls do not have “ears” and physical “eyes,” and so if God is to speak truly to our souls, we must hear Him in ways beyond physical ways. That is, eventually without any “signs,” miracles, or even imagery and such.

Of course, we are physical beings for a reason. But we are not truly entirely physical.

So… as God for a sign? Sure, but realize two things - (1) HIS will is what we should seek to carry out (2) and the physical can only get us so far in seeking God.

Thank you all for your posts. I am sure God gives me many more subtle signs than I realize. I actually just got a book called “Listening at Prayer” so I am hoping perhaps this will help me to discern God’s will. The only reason I have been thinking about this is because I am trying to figure out what God wants me to do, and I think I know…but at the same time, I am worried I might be projecting what I want Him to be saying instead of what he really is. I just feel like saying, “I know you are always there to guide me Lord, but I am not that smart, so a nice easy sign would be nice.”

Anyways, thanks again to you all, and peace be with you.

(And to the poster above me…awesome sig:thumbsup: :smiley: .)

In a way, yes. Signs are “directions” to find our way. The Holy Spirit is talking to us unceasingly via our conscience and we need to be listening for those directions or “signs”.

However, I think you are talking about “God, if my paper boy delivers the paper after 8, I will know you want me to do x” type signs. In this case, no. This is not how God works. He tells us to make ourselves present to Him so we can hear His voice. God didn’t come to Elijah in the wind, or rain or earthquake or any such glaring “sign” but came to him in the whisper of the gentle breeze when he had turned his heart to God.

This reminds me of a joke. A man was lost on a nearly barren island and he prayed for God to save him and placed his trust in God. After a week, a ship came by and offered to rescue him. The man declined saying that he was waiting and trusting in God. This repeated itself two more times. He finally died of starvation and exposure. When he got to Heaven, he asked God why he didn’t save him when he had placed his trust in Him. God’s response, “Sheesh, I sent you three boats.”

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