This is the second post in my James Prayer series — on how my prayers have changed. You may read the first post HERE.
My elbows dug into my knees, palms firmly planted on my chin. And I rocked slowly, trying to soothe my pounding chest as I searched for words. I have no idea how much time fled as I started over and over, determined to get it right…I realized then I was doing exactly what the verses warned me about. Finally, I relented and told Him outright:
Lord, I don’t even know how to pray…I know how to praise and thank You, but I don’t know how to bring my worries to You. Because they seem to bubble with doubt…
It stung as it rolled off my tongue. I’ve considered myself a prayer for years, with prayer journals to prove it. And here I sat on this moonless night realizing I’ve completely lost my way, drifting off to sea.
I’d become a “But Christian”.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, Who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
For how many times have I said
“Lord, please heal _____, but if it’s not Your will…”
“Father, help me _____, but if You have other plans…”
Oh mylanta, I’m as wishy-washy as they come. How can He even look at me let alone listen…
I opened my Bible, hoping I missed something. Where does it say how to believe firmly when you know not every prayer gets answered with hoped-for results? How do you decipher between needs and wants? Do I admit how big of a deal these things are to me when in the grand scheme of grace, they are so very small?
Then I saw it…how I’ve been complicating prayer all these years. How I’ve tried to act double-minded, like I can read His mind, how I’ve presented pleas instead of just presenting myself.
- I’ve asked for solutions and not answers.
- I’ve treated Him like a taskmaster — focusing more on the gifts than the Giver.
- I’ve acted as if I know better…and then tried to cover it up with a ‘but’…
James shows us how to get our buts out-of-the-way. What to ask when we’re deep in need: Wisdom. Ask for His wisdom. Every time.
And he even promises…God gives that out generously to all (vs. 5). I have no reason to doubt His will in this regard.
Solomon knew it–all one really needs to get through this world that’s not our home is wisdom. Intimate life-knowledge. And He is the Bread of Life. He is the source of wisdom we all seek. He is all we need.
If I want to gain life-knowledge, I need to know the One Who Is…I need to see Him.
Doubt holds no weight when all we seek is to know Him. When all we ask for is what He’s promised to always freely give.
So when trouble comes and I’m grasping for a way out, I can pray:
“Father, I’m sinking, yet You’ve never let me go… Here, You take this ____. Give me wisdom, Lord, so I can see You and know You’ve got this. Show me how You want me to respond. For I know and believe fully–You are all I need.”
When cancer/illness plagues someone who owns a piece of my heart, I can pray:
“God, You are bigger than this cancer cell. Let us see You, Lord, right here right now. Rest Your healing hands upon ___ and overwhelm them with Your comfort. Peace. Gives us eyes of wisdom, Father, so we can watch Your glory unfold and know You’ve got us in the palm of Your hand. We’re right where we need to be.”
I go through my prayer list and put it to practice as I seek this intimate life-knowledge He freely gives. And smile wide as I realize…there are no buts about it.
My back straightens as I pick up pace. My shoulders relax as I chat easily with my Creator. And for the first time in my tenure of claiming His name, I can pray with confidence and know He’s heard me when I call.
How about you, friend? Do you ask for wisdom when you pray? How do you tackle those areas we so desperately want to go a certain way? I’d love to hear.
P.S. I’m just getting started with what I’ve learned from the Book of James lately. I hope you’ll stick around. You can catch up on other posts HERE.
Thanks for sharing your time with me.