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But let him keep asking in faith, without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. (James 1:6)
There is an approach to praying for wisdom that must be applied when coming to God in asking for wisdom; namely, the believer must keep asking in faith without any doubting. Again, as in verse 5a, the verb “to ask” (αἰτείτω) of God is in the present tense, suggesting an ongoing action (continuous or often repeated prayer), and the imperative mood, meaning that it is a command. Before James tells us that if we lack wisdom, keep asking God, not he qualifies that with how we are to ask, in faith (πίστις pistis). The believer is to have strong confidence in God, entirely relying on him, completely trusting him. James tells these believers that when they come to God to ask for this wisdom, they must be fully confident and convinced that God does hear.
Faith gives sight to that which can’t be seen and be believed upon. James also indicates that one not only has faith but without any doubting as well. If these believers doubted God in what they were asking for, they would be negating the very thing the prayer is predicated upon, and that is faith. We are to pray in faith that God would give us the wisdom to understand our trial and help us to be able to endure. We will never have a hearing before God with the outcome we seek without faith, giving us the wisdom needed to guide us. Furthermore, we need to be absolutely sure that what we are asking for is according to God’s will and purposes and be prepared that the answer might be that we will not receive what we are asking for even if it is according to the will of God.
Nevertheless, we must believe each and every time, utterly sure that he can and will grant our request if we come to him biblically minded. In the case of wisdom, we can have complete assurance that it is according to his will and purposes. Therefore, nothing hinders our coming to God with the confidence that he will confer wisdom to us. There must be no uncertainty, skepticism, doubt, and swaying of the mind regarding our receiving the wisdom needed to cope with trials. The believer is to come to God with the highest confidence and assurance.
James, here, provides his readers with an object lesson to show what it looks like when one claims to ask with belief and yet doubts at the same time. James states the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea. A wave of the sea is helpless because it is directed in many different directions upon the sea and has no stability due to the wind. The waves are at the mercy of every wind. A wave may start far off in the distance and then be led to the shore in the next moment. The waves are helpless against the wind because they have nothing to stabilize them except to be helplessly driven and tossed by the wind.
James is telling these believers that if they do not have faith in prayers for wisdom that they are asking God for helping them to understand their trials, then trials end up controlling the person’s life and taking them where they do not want to go. So if we come to God with uncertain or unresolved faith and hope, we will be tossed about by every new feeling or emotion that may come into our minds. In a moment, our hope and faith urge us to go to God in prayer. Then, in the next moment, our minds are filled with uncertainty, skepticism, and doubt. Suddenly, our inner person is as disturbed and restless as the ocean. Briefly, we have hope, and then it becomes fear of not receiving what we have asked God for, so our mind is restless, disturbed, and agitated. The continual prayer for wisdom gives the believers the understanding to remain steady among the trials.