Praying in Faith
James 1:5-8 (NRSV) 5 If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. 6 But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; 7 , 8 for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord.
The first scriptures in James dealt with keeping our joy, even in unpleasant circumstances. Today we look at James’ advice to the Jewish Christians on obtaining wisdom.
Wisdom was vitally important in Judaism. The Proverbs were the embodiment of Wisdom, Solomon received the greatest wisdom of all mankind, and finally Jesus revealed to the world the wisdom of treating others the way we all want to be treated. (Matt. 7:12).
The irony is that many times those who do not possess wisdom are unaware of the absence of this much needed quality. The saying, “you don’t know what you don’t know,” provides the groundwork needed to help us to understand why some can go through their entire lifetimes without seeking after or finding wisdom.
You see, wisdom does not exist in isolation, for it is the compilation of knowledge, experience, and reasoning. The foundation for wisdom crumbles beneath the weight of the lack of any of these three parts. It is similar to a three legged stool that will collapse if one of the legs is missing.
James says we should not only pray for wisdom, but we should pray with faith. He goes further to use the analogy of a double minded man being unstable in all of his ways, and he warns that doubting causes us to be tossed in the sea by the wind and the waves. The people to whom Jesus and James spoke understood what it meant to be tossed by the seas.
Can we understand today that the seas of doubt and fear can overwhelm us unless we allow wisdom to provide us with stability needed to stay afloat in today’s world? Can we allow our faith to be strengthened so that we have the confidence to approach God’s throne in prayer? I maintain we can do all of these things, not on our own, but through the Christ who strengthens us. (Philippians 4:13)
In Jesus’ name,
Father God, we come today in faith, asking that you would increase our wisdom, eliminate our doubt, and help us to be the Christ-followers you intend us to be. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
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