You may know of someone, or even you yourself, who prays to God when in need wisdom or direction in life. Should I take this job or not? How should I handle this situation at school? Should I go on this trip or not? How can I reach my unsaved uncle for Christ? There are so many decisions and obstacles that pop up in life. And when we don’t know what to do, or even aren’t completely convinced in our thinking, we go to the Lord in prayer. It is certainly a good practice. James encourages us to do this, but it does come with a warning. In James 1 verse 5-8 it says:
"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does."
So as you can see, faith must accompany our prayers. If you don’t believe that God will do what you’re asking for, why would you pray anyway? The bible teaches us that God knows what is best for us. It tells us that we are his children, and as good parents know what is best for their child, how much more does God know what is best for us? It says that human parents, when asked by their child for a fish wouldn’t give them a snake, or when a child asks for bread, we wouldn’t give them a stone. And if we are evil flawed humans, how much more will our father in heaven give us good things? So, I encourage you, when praying to God, have faith. James warns us that if we don’t, we shouldn’t think we’ll receive anything from the Lord. He says we’re double-minded and unstable if we pray and then doubt. Remember, that God knows what is best and has our best interest at heart. He wants us to pray, but he also wants us to have faith.
When we pray for wisdom, we must have faith and not doubt. I’d actually go as far as to say that anytime we pray, we must have faith. God hears prayers, and God answers prayers. There is no situation you’re going through that is too difficult for Him. And he is wise enough to give you wisdom that trumps the best advice you can get from anyone on earth. Though, often times he does use people as an answer to prayer. In my life, when I typically receive an answer from the Lord, it doesn’t come by hearing his voice audibly speaking to me. When I hear from God, particularly with something that is urgent or very important, I get at least 3 confirmations on a direction to take in a very short period of time. It could be that God will use people, circumstance, media, the bible or anything to open my eyes to his answer, but it is usually quite clear. And these “coincidences” typically occur close together in a short period of time. At least, that is what I’ve found in my own life. So again, I encourage you, pray with faith. When you think about it, if we pray without faith, why do it at all?